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The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Contact through this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or fail to act based on the information on this website. All cases differ. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorneys at The Law Office of Robert M. Baskin are licensed to practice law in the State of California.


In cases accepted on contingency, there are no hourly attorney fees or out-of-pocket expenses, excluding the actual costs related to the lawsuit.


Our attorneys pursue maximum compensation for clients in exchange for a percentage of the amount recovered.

Ventura Lawyer Robert M. Baskin Robert M. Baskin The Law Office of Ventura County Personal Injury, Family Law,  Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys
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Settling Cases through Negotiations

Often it is beneficial to all parties in a real estate dispute to attempt to settle their matter via the settlement negotiation process. The attorney may be able to negotiate directly with the other party. Other times it may be necessary to file a lawsuit which will compel the other party to address the issue. To find common ground and reach a settlement that is agreeable to all involved, it is essential that everyone enter negotiations in good faith. This requires the parties to set aside any hostility that has festered so the parties can work together to save both time and money on litigation. Typical settlement terms include compensation and other actions specific to the situation to resolve the matter. A skilled attorney is a critical part of the process to ensure your rights are protected.

When to Retain a Real Estate Litigation Attorney

Too often people wait too long to obtain legal counsel and retain the skills of a seasoned real estate litigator. As soon as you realize that there are circumstances pertaining to a real estate transaction or property that you either own or are planning on purchasing, it is extremely important that you contact a real estate lawyer. By retaining an attorney early, you may save yourself a lot of time, trouble and grief that will result from trying to resolve the problem on your own. A knowledgeable lawyer will know which steps to take in an effort to reduce increasing hostility and can work vigorously to prevent the situation from escalating further. However, there are some situations where litigation is inevitable. Having an experienced lawyer on your side prior to litigation is greatly beneficial, as they will already be familiar with the background of your case and possess the information necessary to take immediate action.

Ways to Reduce Liability for Construction Disputes

If you are involved in a disagreement regarding any type of real estate or construction contract, this matter needs attention immediately. Small disputes can quickly escalate without professional intervention. However, taking steps beforehand, in the planning and preparation stages of a construction project, may help to minimize the potential for liability in any type of construction dispute. Having a solid contract is necessary to protect your interests. When a contract is professionally drafted and reviewed by a real estate attorney, it becomes an enforceable legal instrument in the event a vendor or developer defaults on their obligations. The contract needs to be revised and updated for the specifics of each project. Dispute resolution provisions should be included in the contract so that all parties understand the process for breach of the contract. In addition, documenting interactions through the contractual relationship can strengthen your case in a construction lawsuit.

Well-Written Contracts Have Many Components

Every business contract is unique, but each contains similar required elements. Contracts form the basis of every formal business relationship. When any of the elements are not present, the contract will not hold up to legal action. Every contract has an offer. This is the reason for the contractual agreement. One party is offering something to the other party or parties. The offer must be written with clear language, so that all parties are aware of the obligations that come with the offer. The contract also needs acceptance. This part explains the act by the other party of acknowledging and receiving the offer. If the offer is not accepted by the other party, the contract is not legally binding.

The contract must also include “consideration.” Consideration is the monetary value or amount of goods or services being exchanged in the contract. In addition, both parties must be of clear mind and without being influenced unlawfully to accept the offer. Both parties must be competent and have legal capacity when signing the contract. It is critical all components of a business contract are well-written to avoid the possibility of future liability.

Sometimes It is Necessary to Dissolve a Business

Whether due to retirement of the owner, purchase by another company, or partnership disputes, it is not uncommon for a business to close or go “out of business.” There are many reasons a business owner may need to close the company. Some common reasons include:

The formal closure of the company does not occur until the business dissolution is executed through the state. It takes several months for the dissolution to be completed. The company is required to liquidate the assets and cease operations. Funds from the liquidation may be used to satisfy creditors or bank loans.

It is wise to map out an exit strategy for a business from the very beginning. Whether a business owner plans to sell the company or close it, having a plan for ending the business can help the owner make decisions as the company progresses through different stages of growth. Having an end in mind can help a business maximize its value while protecting the interests of owners, investors, and lenders.

Careful Considerations are Needed When Buying a Business

When you are purchasing a new business, there are many items a new owner needs to be aware of. You should know exactly what you are purchasing. If it is an LLC or corporation, the new owner may be unknowingly taking over liabilities and tax debts. What assets are included in the deal? If the transaction is for purchasing the assets only, the new owner’s taxes are calculated differently and there may be a cost savings. Items in the sale should clearly be identified in a well-drafted contract.

Is the seller current on payroll taxes, sales taxes, and other accounts? Knowing the seller’s financial standing is paramount to the success of a business after transitioning to a new owner. Did the seller prepay certain items that will be paid for and reimbursed to the seller as part of the closing? For example, leasing costs and other prepaid expenses can be tacked on as pro-rated closing adjustments. For the buyer, these costs should not be unexpected. When taking over an existing business, it is important to consider many more factors. A business attorney can help negotiate the terms of a purchase or sale of a business.

Actions to Take After an Accident

After a serious accident, there are several things you can do to protect your rights. At the scene of the accident, seek medical assistance for yourself and others. When you are in a safe position, call 911 or a police agency for help. If possible, exchange information with other parties and take photos of the scene if it is safe to do so. Documenting the damages and the location can help in determining liability. This evidence can be extremely important when you file a personal injury claim. At the scene of the accident, it may be a good idea to refrain from discussing certain details. You may not be aware of all of the actions of all involved parties which may have led to the accident.

A personal injury attorney can advise you on the appropriate legal steps to take after an accident. Your actions may impact your ability to recover financial compensation. The state allows a certain period of time for legal action to begin. If you wait to file your personal injury claim, it may be possible that the statute of limitation has already passed. If this happens, you may lose your rights to pursue full and just compensation for your injuries.

Protection for Consumers | Defective Products

If you have been injured in any type of accident, it is important to find the direct cause of the accident. Were you using any type of product? Did a part malfunction? If that part or product did not perform properly and caused injuries under normal use, you may have cause for a product liability lawsuit. Unfortunately, defective products have caused catastrophic injuries and even death to people who did not know the product might be dangerous. Product liability cases can involve a vast range of consumer products, including children’s toys, baby products, car parts, medical devices and clothing.

Generally, defective product cases come from three categories: manufacturing defects, design defects, and failure to warn. Many of these cases stem from companies cutting corners or not fully testing and correcting potential hazards in the products. In manufacturing defect cases, parts of a product may not be secured properly or may become dislodged during a product’s use. In cases involving design defects, the product causes injury when used properly. It may be missing safety shields or sharp edges may be protruding. If the product liability case is for failure to warn, this means that the manufacturer should have provided a notice or warning of the particular danger while a consumer is using the product.

Legal Representation Can Help You Obtain Justice

Having a personal injury attorney on your side has its advantages. Firstly, an attorney who is experienced in this area of civil law can help you make critical decisions with regards to the direction of your case. This attorney will understand your legal objectives and can offer guidance and strong representation to help you meet those goals. Attorneys who work with accident victims often have a comprehensive understanding of the way these matters are handled. In these cases, there are strict deadlines that must be followed. Experienced personal injury attorneys recognize the details of the process so that your situation won’t be compromised due to a technicality or a paperwork error.

Your personal injury lawyer can analyze your case and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses. In this way, the attorney can build a solid and persuasive argument for your case. Your attorney can protect your rights and your legal interests while maximizing the amount of your compensation. This is especially true if the court has determined that you share a percentage of the fault of an accident. Your lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and also provide skilled advice on when it is a good idea to settle the case.

A Prenuptial Agreement offers Protection

A prenuptial agreement may not be the first thing a couple thinks about when they decide to get married. However, it should be considered as a valuable tool for protecting each party’s interests. Half of new marriages end in divorce. The number is higher for second and third marriages. A prenuptial agreement can ease the divorce process and make the transition back to single life a smoother one.

When properly prepared by an experienced family law attorney, the prenuptial agreement can help a person maintain financial stability after divorce. Generally, it can help you keep your assets. By identifying any property acquired prior to the marriage, the prenuptial agreement protects this property from being included in community property with your spouse. You can also identify any debt owed by your future spouse to relinquish your financial responsibility.

In addition, a prenuptial agreement can plan for the division of property and preserve wealth for your children from a prior marriage. For example, after your death, your separate property can be inherited by your children from a prior marriage instead of being inherited by your spouse. A prenuptial agreement may be your best option for planning for unique situations.

Determining Child Custody

In California, the Family Law Court issues legal orders that determine each parent’s responsibilities after a divorce or legal separation. The term “custody” recognizes which rights each parent has, while the term “visitation” is used to identify the actual time a parent spends with the child. Custody and visitation arrangements must ultimately be in the best interest of the child, while each parent will also need to accommodate their own new lifestyle or family situation.

In most cases, the judge will approve a parenting plan created by the parents. When parents cannot agree, they are sent to mediation to work out the issues. Because the child custody agreement is binding and enforceable, it is important that you are prepared to meet with the family court mediator. Consulting with a skilled child custody attorney prior to this process can help you understand your rights to ensure you are fully prepared for this situation.  

The family court mediator will evaluate many factors before making the final recommendation. Each parent’s emotional stability, relationship with the child, family history, and more are examined. In some cases, supervised visitation may be recommended if the child needs time to become reacquainted with a parent. In situations where being around a parent may cause physical or emotional harm to the child, the mediator may recommend no visitation. In these situations, the parent is prohibited from having contact with the child.

Understanding the Divorce Process in California

Making the decision to file for divorce may be one of the toughest challenges you’ve had to face. Or, perhaps your situation has made the decision an easy one. Either way, this decision will allow for big changes to happen in your life. Understanding the intricacies of the divorce process can help relieve some of the stress that comes when a marriage ends. Because there are many considerations that need to be examined in a divorce, it is important for you to protect your rights by seeking the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney.

While the divorce will end the marriage, it will also involve dividing the marital estate, creating a child custody and visitation schedule for the children, and/or establishing financial payments of spousal support and child support. These legal and financial decisions can affect your life now and far into the future. Coming to terms with the ending of your marriage and the process of building a new life can seem daunting when you are frustrated by numerous legal challenges.

Depending on your situation, there are several options that you might consider when filing for divorce. When both spouses can reach amicable solutions, your divorce may be handled through mediation or negotiation. If you and your spouse cannot agree on certain issues, or in cases involving complex issues, divorce litigation through the court may be necessary. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Robert M. Baskin can protect your interests and help you plan for long-term goals.

Filing for divorce establishes a timeline for when items are to be completed by the divorcing spouses. The minimum time requirement is six months before the divorce can be finalized. Even after a divorce is finalized, it may be necessary to modify some of the terms of the agreement if circumstances for either ex-spouse change dramatically.

Why you need an Estate Plan

Estate Planning is the process by which you can control who will inherit from you upon death. There are numerous estate planning devices that may be drafted and utilized during your lifetime to protect your assets. They may used to provide for your medical care in case of illness or incapacitation, protect your business interests, be used to donate funds to favored charities, and pass on your assets after death to named beneficiaries.

Estate Planning is crucial to provide for your personal care, protect assets from high taxation, and in case of business ownership, provide for your loved ones into the future.

The primary estate planning devices include wills, trusts, advanced medical directives and life insurance trusts.

The Use of Wills

While many think of wills when beginning the estate planning process, there are several drawbacks to leaving your assets to your heirs and beneficiaries via a will. Whether a holographic (handwritten will), an attested will (signed and witnessed), or a statutory will (a fillable form that must be signed and witnessed), all must be filed with the probate court upon death.

All probate filings are in the public record, resulting in a loss of privacy for not only the decedent, but for the heirs and beneficiaries as well.

Probate is costly in both time and money. Several legal procedures must take place before assets may be distributed. The larger the estate, the more costly it will be as the probate court fees are based on a percentage of the total value.

Based on the complexity of the will and any litigation which may arise, wills may take months to years to fully settle.

Why Choose Trusts?

Trusts are Estate Planning tools that hold and distribute assets in numerous ways. In addition to providing maximum protection against high taxation, they are not required to be filed with the court. This ensures that the terms of all trusts are kept confidential from the public.  

Whereas wills typically serve a singular purpose – the distribution of assets upon death – trusts may serve numerous purposes.

Well drafted trusts allow for the protection of assets for future generations. They may be set up to contribute to charities, provide for the education of loved ones or other beneficiaries, protect beneficiaries by doling out funds as needed or on a set schedule, and provide for you in case you become ill or incapacitated.

Why Business Succession Plans are Necessary

Should you hold a business ownership interest, whether as a sole proprietor, a partnership or a corporation, business succession plans are crucial. These allow for your business to continue normal operational procedures in case you become unable to carry out your duties on behalf of the business.

By setting forth the details for a smooth transition of power, you are protecting your business and financial interests for future generations. While litigation is not always preventable, establishing a comprehensive business succession plan will drastically reduce friction between parties and help alleviate the possibility of litigation.

The Importance of Trust Administration

When choosing a trustee, it’s crucial to consider familial relationships and take into account how these relationships may devolve and result in litigation. Many choose family members to act as trustees on their behalf. California law imposes fiduciary duties and restrictions upon trust administrators.

These duties include the following:

Failure by the trustee/trustees to carry out their duties in a manner which maximizes the benefits for all beneficiaries may well result in litigation based on a breach of fiduciary duty. Trustees found in breach may be held personally (financially) liable for harms caused.

As a result, it’s generally preferable to name a professional trust administrator who understands the duties that must be fulfilled to avoid litigation. Please discuss this option with your estate planning attorney.

Probate Introduction

Probate is the formal term for the legal process that requires filing a will with the court so it may be validated, debts paid, and assets distributed. When a will is found to be valid, the executor will carry out his or her duties which will be overseen by the probate court.

All cases filed with the probate court are public record. This results in a loss of privacy, as anyone may access these records.

Another downside of probate is the fact that it may be extremely expensive based on the valuation of your estate, the number of financial and real estate holdings, and the oversight by the court.

Wills also take much longer to wrap up than trusts, in light of the fact that they are managed according to court scheduling. The larger the estate, the longer it will take for probate to be completed.

What You Need to Know About Real Estate Transactions

A real estate transaction can be a simple month-to-month lease of a home, and it can also be a highly complex transaction involving the construction, purchase, or sale of a multimillion-dollar commercial property. Perhaps the most important aspect of any successful real estate transaction is the contract itself. A well-drafted contract will minimize the chances of disputes and litigation arising later. Before entering into a contract regarding real estate, consult a skilled attorney. They will explain your rights, your obligations, what to expect throughout the process, and they can work to protect your interests. This will help your transaction to proceed more smoothly.

When Property Defects Are Not Disclosed

A purchase/sale agreement, whether for residential property, commercial property, industrial property, or vacant land must include a list of every known defect of the property. In addition, if there is a defect in the property that the owner should have known about but didn’t, they can still be held liable for not disclosing it to a potential buyer. If a full and complete disclosure of property defects is not made, this can be grounds for a lawsuit once the defects are discovered.

If a seller’s representative (agent or broker) helped to cover up property defects or made false claims about it, they may be held liable for fraud. If such a situation develops and the parties are not able to negotiate a settlement for financial damages that have resulted from the fraud, litigation may be virtually unavoidable.

A Written Property Lease Protects Everyone

Whether for a commercial, residential, or industrial property, a properly written lease will protect the tenant and the landlord. For property owners, locking in tenancy for a longer term can reduce the wear & tear and other costs associated with tenant turnover. For tenants, agreeing to a lease term usually means their rent is stabilized and lower than if it were simply a month-to-month agreement. In addition to eliminating rent increases during the length of the lease, tenants are protected from other changes of terms – such as whether pets are allowed.

A lease should include the names of the tenant/s, the move-in date and date of lease termination, amount of rent and due date, grace period, late fees, and a description of how the property will be used. Any additional agreements between the landlord and tenant should be written out in the contract. Commercial leases will include the name of the business that is leasing the property as well as the name of the individual with the authority to sign.

Attorney Robert M. Baskin | Blog