Healy & McCann, PC

Albany Legal Issues Blog

In-car Breathalyzers may cause accidents to occur

Interlock devices used to prevent drunk driving accidents are becoming increasingly popular in Oregon and across the United States. These devices require that a driver breathes into a Breathalyzer before the car will start. Though some advocates believe that their use helps deter drunk driving, they may also cause car accidents to occur.

The use of ignition interlocking devices has tripled in recent years. The Center for Disease Control estimates that making the devices more widespread in vehicles may reduce accidents caused by DUI repeat offenders by up to 70%. There is some evidence to back this statement; a 2016 study done by researchers at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics found that the interlock devices were associated with 15% fewer alcohol-related accident fatalities for repeat offenders.

How is a family business divided in a divorce?

Dividing assets in a divorce is one of the most contentious issues in the entire process, especially if you own a business. If you own a business with your spouse, dividing it will include emotional as well as financial considerations.

Since the process of dividing a family business at divorce can be so overwhelming, many people in unhappy marriages choose to remain in them simply to avoid the potential financial implications. However, there are always solutions and strategies that can be applied to successfully avoid unfavorable outcomes when dividing a business. The following are potential ways that a family business can be divided depending on the circumstances.

The importance of a living will

According to a 2017 study, only one-third of Americans have a living will. This is in spite of the fact that all 50 states have recognized the validity of such a document since 1992. A living will allows an individual to dictate the types of treatment that he or she would like to have. The document generally goes into effect when a person is mentally incapacitated for any reason.

An individual chooses an agent to act on his or her behalf in the event that this occurs. Depending on how detailed the document is, an agent may care for an individual's body after that person passes. In most cases, spouses, adult children or trusted friends act as agents. However, any adult who is of sound mind could fulfill this role if necessary. After choosing an agent, it is important to have a detailed conversation with this person.

Child support termination and emancipation

Many divorced parents in Oregon have court-ordered child support arrangements that may be adjusted over time. In some cases, child support obligations can be terminated if the support is no longer needed, the paying parent has a change in financial circumstances, or the child becomes emancipated. A parent who stops paying child support without permission from the court could face serious consequences such as driver's license suspension and jail time.

Child support and child custody arrangements are distinct legal matters that the court considers separately. Unless there is a new court order, child support payment obligations will not be affected by custody or visitation disputes between divorced parents. If the paying parent is not being allowed visitation of their child, they are still legally obligated to continue making child support payments as usual.

Common causes of truck accidents in Oregon

Truck accidents can be caused by a number of things, and drivers in Oregon should be aware of at least five of them. The first and most obvious factor is negligent driving. Truckers can speed, drive drowsy and drive drunk, among other things. It's interesting to note, however, that the majority (about 81%, according to some studies) of truck crashes due to driver error are actually caused by passenger vehicle drivers, not truckers.

Another cause of truck accidents is bad weather, or rather truckers' unsafe maneuvers in bad weather. Drivers of big rigs are supposed to know how to brake properly on wet and icy roads; otherwise, they could skid, hydroplane or even jackknife. Truckers are also required to inspect their vehicles before the start of each shift. Neglecting to do this is a third factor in accidents, as worn brake pads, cracked windshields and other defects can lead to a crash if ignored.

How a divorce financial specialist may be helpful

A divorce financial specialist may be able to help some Oregon estranged couples understand how ending their marriage will affect their finances and the implications of various settlement options. Alongside an attorney and other professionals, a divorce financial specialist may be particularly helpful when the financial situation is complex or for a person who has had little involvement in the marital finances.

Other financial professionals may take different roles, such as providing information on past and present taxes and investments. However, a divorce financial specialist can provide advice specifically in the context of the divorce itself. Divorce financial specialists may work with individuals, but they can also work with couples going through mediation. Another role they may play in a divorce is offering expert testimony about the tax implications of settlements, business valuation and other complicated financial issues.

The most common reasons for contesting a will

When a loved one in the family passes away, emotions are usually running high and disputes between family members can easily occur. These disputes could be about many things, but they often become concerned with financial topics, especially when dealing with their loved one's estate.

If you want to learn how to better deal with estate disputes or you want to plan for or prevent them, it is a good idea to take the time to understand the most common reasons why people contest wills.

Pediastrian, cyclist deaths increased in 2018

Though more people are registered to drive in Oregon and across the United States than ever before, driver and passenger fatalities decreased slightly in 2018. Unfortunately, pedestrian and cyclist deaths due to motor vehicle accidents increased to their highest rate since 1990.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that though more than 268 million vehicles were registered in 2017, driver and passenger fatalities were down to 1.1 per 100 million miles. In 1975, this number was 3.4. Experts believe that advances in vehicle safety features, such as airbags, automatic braking systems, active rollover protection and lane departure warnings, helped reduce this number.

Experts warn about signs of an impending divorce

Divorce is life-changing, and this means that the decision to move ahead with it can be difficult for some people in Oregon. However, some experts say there are certain signs that can suggest that a marriage is at its end. For example, people who find they would rather stay late at work than go home to their spouse might be ready to divorce.

Some couples may say they are staying together for their children, but a relationship cannot thrive with only the children as the connection. In other cases, the relationship might have fallen into patterns that indicate a larger problem. For example, when couples stop having fun together, stop having sex or no longer eat dinner together, this could mean their connection to one another has weakened. Some couples may realize that they are leading entirely separate lives, and it can be difficult to repair a marriage at this point.

Incorporating beneficiary designations into an estate plan

Oregon residents and others who use beneficiary designations should take steps to ensure that they don't derail other parts of an estate plan. While taking assets out of an estate might avoid the need to go through probate, it may also leave insufficient funds to pay taxes or make gifts. If a trust is being used to save money on taxes, it is important for the trust to be named the beneficiary of an asset as opposed to an individual.

It is also generally better to name a trust as a primary beneficiary as opposed to a spouse. This is because the trust may already have a provision that provides resources for that spouse. If an asset goes directly to that person, he or she may exert more control over it than an individual envisioned. It is even more important that any change to a beneficiary designation not be made at the last minute.

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