Orange County Attorney – Winter Newsletter 2014
Your Driver’s License – Understanding the Rules of the Road
It is important to know the laws revolving around your driving privilege because the effects of breaking them are not only inconvenient but dangerous for the general public.
You likely remember the sense of freedom and excitement that came with turning sixteen and finally getting your driver’s license – the open road, your favorite band on the radio, and the wind in your hair! However, just because you received your license, it doesn’t mean it is yours forever. Automobiles, the roads, and driver’s licenses are some of the most legally regulated parts of our daily lives, and it is important that you be aware of the legal implications of getting behind the wheel.
- Keep your license registration up to date
- Do not drive if your license is revoked, even very short distances
- Suspension of your license is the temporary withdrawal of your privilege to drive
- Cancellation of your license occurs when you voluntarily give up the privilege to drive
- Revocation is a disciplinary and protection action that involuntarily ends your driving privilege
Skeletons in Your Closet – Disclosures when Selling Your Home
As a buyer or a seller, the transfer of a home should involve honest communication regarding the defects of the property, otherwise, you may face expensive legal problems down the line.
If you are thinking about putting your home up for sale, you likely have many small home projects on your to-do list: fixing that leaky faucet in the bathroom, repainting the kitchen, or trimming back that bush in the yard. As you take inventory of your home, make a list of any problems or issues that may need to be disclosed to prospective buyers. You may not think it is a big deal that the roof leaks every time it rains, but a buyer needs to at least be on notice to buy some extra buckets.
Tips For Buyers:
- In some states, the buyer is responsible for asking specific questions about possible home defects
- Buyers should hire an inspector to examine the property
- Ask the inspector which specific questions to ask the seller
Tips for Sellers:
- Disclose any important defects which could seriously affect the home value, regardless of state requirements
- Respond honestly to buyer’s questions
- To avoid future lawsuits, do not misrepresent any defects or repairs
Points to Ponder in Picking an Executor
Even lawyers disagree about who makes the best executor. The large burden can be daunting to a family member, but a legal professional may not understand the family’s specific nuances.
Other than how you want to dispose of your assets, one of the most important things that you will have to decide in devising an estate plan is who your executor will be. The law requires that an executor (in some states called a personal representative) be appointed to handle an estate because someone must be responsible for collecting the estate’s assets’ protecting the estate’s property; preparing the inventory of the property; paying valid claims against the estate (including taxes); representing the estate in claims against others, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.
Choosing an executor:
- Choosing the executor of your will is one of the most important decisions you will make while drafting your estate plan.
- There is no simple formula for picking an executor — it all depends on the nature of your estate, your family situation, and other factors.
- The main thing to remember is to have some idea of potential executors and the pros and cons of each when you meet with your lawyer to plan your estate.
Don’t Get Burnt by Boilerplate Contracts
When a substantial amount of money is at stake, take the time to sit down with the form and underline any parts you don’t understand. Then find out what they mean from someone you trust, such as your attorney.
We have all been there before – ready to sign the lease on a new apartment, and then the leasing manager passes over a contract with a bunch of blanks to fill out and even more fine print. These form contracts are often referred to as “boilerplate” contracts. Although they usually look standard and straightforward, it is important to read all form contracts before you sign them. When you are asked to sign a form contract, keep the three “Rs” in mind: Read, (be) Realistic, and Respond.
The three Rs:
- READ: Take the time to read the entire contract every time you sign a contract.
- REALISTIC: There are times when it is unreasonable to ask for negotiation and explanation on each clause. For the times when it is important to belabor each point, the nature 0f the transaction will typically provide you the time to do so.
- RESPOND: When adding or deleting the terms of a contract, make sure the copy of the contract that you will be signing reflects the changes.
You can read the full Winter 2014 Your Law newsletter here: Winter Newsletter 2014 – PDF