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Lynchburg Legal Blog

More real estate transactions occurred in February

Even though a large number of properties are currently on the market, existing home sales were strong in February. This comes from a recently released report on the number of real estate transactions that have taken place during the past few months. It may be uplifting news for those in Virginia who are planning to buy or sell residential real estate this spring.

According to the recent report, the number of home closings dipped during the months of December and January. However, more than 5.5 million existing homes -- houses that were previously lived in -- ended up being sold during the month of February. This represents an increase of three percent from January as well as a 1.1 percent boost from last February.

Self-driving Uber accident raises concerns about autonomous cars

Innovative self-driving vehicle technology has been exciting for many people, but others have been frightened at the possibilities. What if cars that navigate themselves malfunction and cause an accident? What if the technology is never good enough to fully replace human drivers? Whether you are for, against or undecided about self-driving cars, like many Virginians, you may have been interested in seeing how the new technology works out.

Therefore, you were probably dismayed to hear about a recent accident, in which self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a Tempe, Arizona, woman who was walking her bicycle across the street. Engineers claim the accident should not have occurred, since self-driving technology involves multiple sensors located around the vehicle.

What are some rights of landlords in Virginia?

In general, landlords enjoy rights such as the ability to choose rent amounts and how many people can live in each unit. Landlords can also determine a pet policy and evict tenants who have not been paying rent or who have been responsible for excessive problems.

However, there are limits on many of these rights. If you are a landlord or are considering becoming one, it is a good idea to have a lawyer draft or review rental agreements to ensure yours is fully legal. Some of your rights should include the following.

Pedestrian car accidents may stem from negligence

A motor vehicle collision in Virginia has sadly claimed two individuals' lives in Virginia. The pedestrian accident took place on a recent Saturday night. Sometimes, these types of car accidents are the result of driver negligence, which is grounds for a lawsuit.

The car accident occurred at about 10 p.m. Police said they received a report that an automobile had left the roadway and struck a tree. Two people ended up being pronounced deceased at the car collision scene.

Fatal car accidents may stem from negligent driving

Two individuals tragically lost their lives in a motor vehicle crash in Virginia recently. The crash took place early in the morning on a Sunday. Sometimes, these types of car accidents happen because a motorist was negligent while behind the wheel, which is grounds for litigation.

The recent car accident involved a single automobile. It took place at about 2:45 a.m. along Interstate 95. According to police, a car with out-of-state plates ended up veering off the interstate.

Trusts often aren't fully taken advantage of

Those who have estate plans in place in Virginia are already ahead of the many other individuals who have not created such plans. Although some individuals create wills only, others have taken steps to establish trusts. The problem with those with trusts, though, is that many of them are not reaping their unique advantages.

With typical living trusts, asset owners transfer title to the majority of their assets to their trusts. Then, they and their spouses can be co-trustees. In this situation, they have complete control of their assets.

Car accidents involving commercial vehicles may result in death

An elderly woman recently passed away in a Virginia motor vehicle accident involving a commercial vehicle. Now, the woman's family members are left to grieve over her and wonder how such a tragedy could have taken place. Sometimes, these types of car accidents occur due to the negligence of a fellow motorist, in which case the at-fault motorist may be held financially responsible for any injuries and deaths resulting from the crash.

The recent Virginia accident took place at a little before 10:50 a.m. Police said a woman, 70, was going north along a boulevard. Meanwhile, a cement truck was driving along a private road located off of this boulevard.

5 important rental clauses you might not think about

Being a landlord in Virginia can be a rewarding and lucrative business. However, whether you rent out a second home or a multi-family apartment complex, owning rental property can also be challenging. Part of the landlord's job is to ensure your tenants abide by the rules of their rental contract, as well as take the proper steps to evict them if they do not comply.

Your rental contract should be clear and concise, so your tenants have no misunderstandings about what is expected of them while they are living on your property. A typical contract would include such items as how much their monthly rent will be, when payment is due and the minimum term of their lease. There are also a range of other clauses you might want to consider to protect your investment and improve your professional relationship with your renters, such as:

  • A pet policy, such as whether pets are allowed and rules on number and size of pets.
  • A list of prohibited acts for the property, such as using illicit drugs, hosting noisy parties past a certain hour or subletting the home to another family
  • Financial penalties for willfully or unintentionally causing damage to the rental property
  • The expectations on the renter's upkeep of the property, such as mowing the lawn and keeping trash off the front porch
  • Landlord rights as to entering the property for repairs or inspections, as well as how much notice to give before doing so

    Consider digital assets when putting together wills, trusts

    Estate planning can understandably be confusing and overwhelming in Virginia. This is especially true for those with large numbers of assets or high-value assets they would like to protect using trusts and wills. A particular category of assets that is often forgotten during the estate planning process, however, is digital assets.

    Digital assets come in many forms. These include any data stored in a cloud system and any social media accounts. To protect these assets, it is imperative for the owner of such assets to write down what he or she wants to happen to these digital assets. For instance, he or she can put together a list featuring all existing accounts and then pinpointing which ones need to be deleted versus which ones should be accessed by an executor.

    Cryptocurrencies can be addressed in wills, trusts

    Investors in cryptocurrency are understandably preoccupied with their digital fortunes' constantly changing value. However, they might be neglecting to make sure that their cryptocurrencies will end up in the hands of their children when they pass away. Trusts and wills are invaluable estate planning tools for protecting their virtual fortunes along with their traditional wealth in Virginia.

    Cryptocurrency is secretive in nature. For this reason, investors who have large holdings of this virtual currency may be wise to record the details of their accounts in writing. Otherwise, their heirs risk losing it all in the event that something happens to the investors.

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