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Vancouver Washington Legal Blog

Where can I build a tiny house?

It's getting more and more difficult for Washington residents to afford living in a house. According to some estimates, it costs around 15 years of working to pay for a house that people are only spending their sleeping hours in. more than 76 percent of people across the country are living paycheck to paycheck, just to afford their homes. This serves as one of the reasons tiny houses are gaining popularity. By downsizing the size of their home, from around 2,600 square feet to around 200 square feet, people are cutting down on financial and environmental concerns.

Despite their growing popularity, it is still not easy to find residential property where it is legal to build them. Zoning laws and building laws often have minimum requirements that tiny houses do not qualify for. A tiny house on a foundation, known as accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is complicated to build because of these laws.

What bankruptcy exemptions are available in Washington?

One of the reasons people may hesitate from filing for bankruptcy when they are facing financial challenges is because they are afraid they might lose everything they own in the process and be left with nothing at the end. However, this is a myth as Washington offers many exemptions in bankruptcy. Exemptions are basically assets and property that the debtor can keep. Washington is one of the few states that allow debtors to choose between state exemptions or federal exemptions-this means they can choose the set that best fits their circumstances. However, debtors cannot choose both.

First of all, there is the homestead exemption. Homeowners may exempt up to $125,000 of their home or other property, as per Washington law. However, it is important to keep in mind that when the value of property is calculated, it is not what the debtor paid for the property but what it is currently worth.

What should a parenting plan cover?

Growing old is inevitable, and so is the fact that over time circumstances change. Some Washington residents may find themselves facing physical health issues and others might face cognitive health issues. Regardless of what they are going through, planning for the future, to tackle whatever issues one might face, is essential. There is a lot of uncertainty in the future, but it may be possible to shape it to achieve the goals you want, if you engage in timely estate planning.

Estate planning can cover a lot of areas, such as creating a trust, power of attorney, drafting a will or a health proxy. Regardless of the issue, it is essential to ensure that the steps taken are concrete and can hold up in court-the fiduciaries should be clearly outlined, the documents should be unambiguous and enforceable. Mistakes can lead to family members feeling left out and legal disputes can result. This can lead to divisions within a family as well.

Why choose an irrevocable trust?

Even when Washington residents finally accept the importance of timely estate planning to protect their loved one's future, they may become daunted by the complicated estate planning tools available for them to utilize. Between the different types of wills and trusts, drafting estate planning documents can become complicated and overwhelming. But, with a little clarity on what one hopes to achieve through estate planning, it may be possible to choose a correct tool.

The first thing one should think of is what is one's plan -- is the benefactor trying to protect specific assets or to avoid probate? Is the aim to minimize taxes or is it possible to give away substantial portions of assets and avoid being taxed on them? Choosing the right trust and therefore, the right estate planning tool can have serious consequences on both taxes and property protection.

What is a statute of limitation?

Following any type of Washington accident, the first and most pressing issues are to take care of one's health and well-being. But, when the dust finally settles, depending on the severity and nature of the accident, one might want to consider advice on the potential for compensation for injuries.

The statute of limitation is the general term for time between when an incident has occurred, when one discovered or should have discovered a health condition and when one can sue. While this is easy to determine for many injuries, there are instances where health or medical condition may not immediately reveal itself, such as asbestos exposure and lung disease, which could be unnoticeable for decades.

What is the bankruptcy means test?

If you’re researching bankruptcy, you might have run across the phrase “means test.” But what is it? And more specifically, what does it mean for you?

The means test could also be called the “ability-to-pay-your-debts” test, because that is exactly what it is. When you file for bankruptcy, part of the process involves undergoing the means test to determine if you can pay your debts.

Selfies on the roads becoming epidemic

The unfortunate reality about life in Vancouver, Washington, is that too many Americans are obsessed with their smartphones and taking "selfies." While a selfie is not inherently dangerous, a disturbing trend is to use social media apps, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to take a selfie while behind the wheel of a car and hashtag the image with #DrivingSelfie, #SelfieWhileDriving or the ironic #HopeIDon'tCrash.

Such an action is inherently dangerous, yet so many young drivers are ignoring the dangers to not only themselves and fellow passengers in their car with him, but also to everyone else sharing the road, whether in a car, on foot or on a bike.

Be mindful of trucks on the roads

Too many Americans, including those from the Vancouver, Washington, area, take trucks for granted on the roads. While most accidents people encounter are car accidents and generally, mild ones, like fender benders, truck accidents are usually far more serious, often leading to catastrophic injuries and in some cases, death. Understanding the risks associated with sharing the roads with trucks may help avoid an accident or at the very least, show why truck accidents can occur.

The most obvious reason truck accidents are so serious is their sheer size and weight. Carrying such weight on the roads means that truck drivers have more difficulties both stopping and swerving to avoid a potential collision.

Protect yourself when dealing with real estate

One of the most exciting and memorable times in a Washington resident's life is when they buy a new home. It is often a thrilling time, filled with anticipation and hopes for a bright future. But, it also can be a stressful time. There is a substantial investment involved in buying and even selling a home, and failing to cross all ones, "t's" and dot all the "i's" could lead to a costly mistake.

Murphy's Law is a common phrase used to describe a situation where, "if a problem can happen, it will." While no one wants to take such a negative, pessimistic approach to life, it could prove beneficial to keep this philosophy in mind. This way, if issues do occur, one is in a better position to deal with them.

How are field sobriety tests administered?

It is Saturday night, and a Washingtonian decide to go out with friends for dinner and some live music. Next thing they know, the clock is striking midnight and they had a couple drinks too many. Even worse, better judgement left the bar a few hours ago and they decide to drive home. No problem, right? Halfway home, they see lights ahead and all the cars are slowing down. It is a DUI checkpoint, and they know they are over the legal limit.

The police officer sees them with slightly glazed over eyes, and the all-too-familiar smell of alcohol on their breath. The Washingtonian gets out of the car and the officer begins a series of field sobriety tests to determine whether they are driving while impaired. What are the traditional field sobriety tests the officer may perform?

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