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San Diego Complex Litigation Blog

Study claims drunk driving is safer than distracted driving

If you see a drunk driver, you may be tempted to call the police. If you see someone texting and driving, while you may roll your eyes in frustration, you're probably not going to do much. You know it's dangerous, but it does not appear as immediately hazardous as letting an intoxicated people get behind the wheel.

The truth, though, is that it can be even more dangerous. One study found that the decrease in reaction time for someone who was drunk driving was about 12 percent. That's not good, and it can lead to a car accident, but the decline for someone who was driving while distracted was about 35 percent. It's far worse to text and drive, according to these statistics, than it is to drink and drive.

Handshake deals can lead to serious complications

If you're working with people you consider friends, it may be tempting to skip drafting an official contract. You'll just use a handshake deal. After all, you trust each other. If you do ask for a contract, it may even feel awkward and that person may be offended.

As common as this is, you need to know that handshake deals are a serious risk. If things do not go as planned, you can run into some significant complications.

Is a trustee misappropriating your funds?

A parent or grandparent will often set up a trust to provide for you after their passing. The trustee, or person who manages the trust, is most often the executor of the decedent’s estate or another family member. However, it is not uncommon for a trustee to mismanage the trust.

Misappropriation of funds occurs when the trustee uses the funds in a way that the beneficiaries of the trust have not authorized. As countless trustees have discovered, misappropriating funds is illegal and a punishable offense under the law.

4 statistics about failed estate planning

When your estate planning works, your heirs move through the probate process with little conflict. Things go smoothly, arguments are few and far between, and you know that everyone will stay on good terms for years to come.

When it fails, disputes rise up and create a gulf between your heirs. They wind up battling their way through a long, difficult probate process. No one is happy with the outcome. Below are four telling statistics about estate planning disputes:

  1. More than 20 percent of beneficiaries end up fighting over an estate. Even if you think this won't happen to your family, it can.
  2. Under 33 percent of parents talk to their children about estate planning in advance. This may contribute to disputes because children may have unrealistic expectations that do not get met.
  3. When those who did not go through disputes were asked if they knew what to expect up front, 63 percent said that they did.
  4. Of those noted above, a full 80 percent said that they thought the estate planning was done fairly.

Avoid probate by transferring assets early

Although you are not yet elderly, you have wisely decided to begin planning your estate. Everyone needs an estate plan, even if you are young and in good health. One benefit of planning your estate early is that you can take steps to avoid probate.

Probate, or the process of distributing your assets after you die, can be time-consuming and expensive for your surviving loved ones. One way to spare them from this process is to transfer your assets while you are still alive.

What is anchoring bias and why is it dangerous?

You trust medical professionals to make a proper diagnosis and offer you the type of treatment you need. Unfortunately, doctors do make mistakes. These can lead to serious harm. One reason that they happen is known as anchoring bias.

Essentially, this is just the way that a doctor can get stuck thinking about only the initial diagnosis or the first bit of information that they get from the patient. They get anchored to this information and refuse to change their minds. This is problematic when it leads them away from the proper diagnosis.

Malibu homeowner sues for inaccurate square footage

Malibu homeowner Hiroshi Horiiki paid $12.25 million for his new home after the listing agent Chris Cortazzo provided a flier advertising 15,000 square feet of living space. However, a building permit documented 11,050 square feet and tax records showed 9,500 square feet.

When Horiiki renovated a room of the mansion, he discovered that his home was well-below the marketed 15,000 square feet. Horiiki pursued a claim against Cortazzo and Caldwell Banker, the firm that jointly represented both buyer and seller in the property sale claiming a breach in fiduciary duty. Did they have a fiduciary duty to Horiiki?

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