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GuestandGrayLogoCBSdfw.com is reporting that a fatality collision has occurred on US 75 in Plano between Park blvd and Spring Creek Blvd Friday. The crash involved two vehicle. One person has reportedly succumbed to their injuries while three others have been transported to nearby hospitals.

This is a developing story, follow the link below:

1 Dead, 3 Transported After Crash On US 75 In Plano

 

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gavel1-300x169Rockwall and Kaufman counties are major trucking routes with highways such as Interstate 30, Interstate 20 and Highways 80 and 175 passing through those counties respectively, along with other major highways intersecting them. Commercial trucking accidents are some of the most severe and potentially fatal types of accidents imaginable. An 18-Wheeler truck loaded with thousands of pounds of cargo can weigh upwards of 40,000 tons, or 80,000 pounds. That is a massive amount of destructive force which is why trucking accidents often result in debilitating, life-altering injuries and even death.

Truck Accidents Can Be Fatal

Data from the US Department of Transportation shows 2,485 passenger vehicle occupants died in “large truck accidents” in 2014. The most deaths happened in 1979, when 4,226 people in passenger vehicles died in large truck accidents. That’s a 41.1% drop from 1979, which represents good progress, however, the number of deaths per accident has risen. This is true despite increased federal regulations on trucking companies and truck drivers, respectively. Quite often the cause of trucking accidents is due to a trucking company forcing drivers to violate federal regulations and drive for longer periods of time without sleep than allowed by law, truckers going against their own companies rules and regulations to meet strict delivery deadlines, and driver fatigue or equipment failure.

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Litigation-imagesDog attacks are a frequent occurrence here in the Dallas, Rockwall and Kaufman county areas. Much of our county contains rural homesites where people are more likely to let their dogs run free. Our area can also be densely populated with neighborhoods where dogs are kept in backyards but quite often those dogs find themselves running loose out of the backyard and are not used to coming in contact with new people.  However, the most common scenario surrounding a dog bite is where a friend or family member comes over for a visit and is attacked by the homeowner’s dog.

According to handctr.com, there are as many as one million animal bites that happen each year across the United States. It can happen in an instant. You or a loved one is over at a friend’s house or jogging on the street and out of no where the dog attacks. It happens too often. The worst part about dog bite cases is not always the initial injuries sustained but it is the time period of recovery. Dog bites are a mixture of puncture wounds that dig through flesh and deep cuts and scratches caused by the teeth and claws of the animal. As a result, the injuries can take a long time to heal, leave lasting scars and disfigurement as well as nerve damage and nerve pain. Dog bites also impress upon the victim a distinct level of pain and suffering and mental anguish as a result of becoming fearful of dogs and other animals as a result of the attack. Someone who used to be a dog lover may be left being fearful for their life every time they come in contact with a new dog.

Establishing Premises Owner Negligence

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Litigation-imagesHave you been injured in an accident in Rockwall or Kaufman county? At Guest and Gray, P.C., we take all of our Rockwall and Kaufman county personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means that there is no fee until we recover. We feel that this is the best possible way to ensure that all of our clients are able to receive the same great legal service regardless of ability to pay. Additionally, we know that our personal injury clients have often been severely burdened by the cost of their injuries, loss of income, or the loss of a loved one.

We also feel a deep sense of connection to our community. We want to protect the citizens of Rockwall and Kaufman county from negligent drivers and deep-pocketed insurance companies who do not have the victim’s best interests at heart.

DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS

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Litigation-imagesSounds pretty cool, right? No evidence and Summary Judgment together is a pretty awesome phrase. Say that at dinner parties and ears will perk. But make sure you know what it means before you start throwing that phrase out there. If you want to know what it means or how to get one, you’re in luck. I have the information you seek.

The standard for a no-evidence summary judgment in Texas is found under Rule 166(a)(i) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and states as follows:

(i) No-Evidence Motion. After adequate time for discovery, a party without presenting summary judgment evidence may move for summary judgment on the ground that there is no evidence of one or more essential elements of a claim or defense on which an adverse party would have the burden of proof at trial. The motion must state the elements as to which there is no evidence. The court must grant the motion unless the respondent produces summary judgment evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact.

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EstatePlanningPic-300x223When people think of “contesting a will” they typically imagine an rich family member (probably in a wheel chair) who has recently passed away and a greedy family member who just wants to make a quick buck. Why? Because that is how it is always portrayed in movies. In most cases, that is not the reason for contesting the Will of the deceased.

In Rockwall and Kaufman county, quite often we see Wills that were done 30-40 years ago and they my not meet all of the standard requirements of Wills done today. That does not necessarily mean that these Wills are not able to be probated, but if the testator is still alive, it is best to update the Will as there may have been changes to the needs of the estate or a means to update the Will to comply with modern requirements that will help avoid a Will contest.

Sometimes there are very good reasons for contesting the validity of a Will. In Texas, there are five major categories of reasons to contest a Will and if any one of them is present, then the Will should be set aside and not sent forward to be probated.

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EstatePlanningPic-300x223In Rockwall and Kaufman counties, it is quite normal for families to be blended: one or both spouses had children from previous marriages prior to entering into the current marriage. So, when I talk to potential clients about obtaining a Will, one of the inevitable questions is always “what happens if I die without a Will?” So, lets talk about that for a minute. Recently, I had a couple with a blended family in my office who had substantial assets that they wanted to have distributed upon their death. They had done some research and were aware enough to know that Texas does have a set of laws known as the “laws of descent and distribution” in the State of Texas, but they wanted to know how it would affect their estate if they just used the default rules instead controlling the process through having a comprehensive estate plan. I’ll answer this just like I did with them:

What Happens If I Die Without a Will?

Chapter 201 of the Texas Estates Code addresses this issue and, based on whether you are married, divorced, blended family, adopted children, died without children, and so on and so forth, this chapter deals with any of these such issues.

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GuestandGrayLogoSmall Estate Affidavits are a common question that we receive from clients and potential clients in the Estate Planning section here in the Rockwall and Kaufman County areas. Many people do not have a large estate other than the value of their home. This type of estate is the exact reason that the Texas Legislature enacted chapter 205 of the Estate’s Code. It was done mainly to prevent fraud on the decedent’s estate and provide for a more efficient and less costly means of administering estates that do not have a large amount of assets.

For the most part, the statute achieves its stated purpose and helps many families across the state quickly and effectively take care of the entire estate of their loved one while avoiding the potential horrors of the probate process in Texas. However, there are narrow requirements in Texas to qualify for a Small Estate Affidavit in Texas. This can create complications in certain instances such as where, although the size of the Estate would qualify it for the Small Estate Affidavit process, they do not qualify because the decedent owned real estate that is not considered “exempt” property, such as a homestead. For instance, if the decedent owned an empty plot of land, they would not qualify for the Small Estate Affidavit process because an empty lot will not qualify for “exempt” property because the decedent was not using it as their “homestead”. There are other situations, but that is the most common.

As noted above, there are narrow requirements for an Estate to qualify for the Small Estate Affidavit process in Texas and those requirements are as follows:

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Wills-in-Texas-300x200Probate in Texas is meant to be a relatively simple process, but that is not always the case. In fact, it is downright intimidating for most people and the thought of having to go to court to have a Court oversee the work done by the administrator of the Estate can be almost too much to bear on your own. Here at Guest and Gray, our goal is to provide you with the best possible representation so that you may have the Estate of your loved one administered in the fastest, most effective manner possible. In Kaufman and Rockwall counties, there are no statutory probate courts, so the process takes place in the county courts at law. We are long-time faces in this legal community and have the resources and knowledge to guide you through this difficult process.

In order to give you an idea of what the process is like to have an Estate probated in the Rockwall and Kaufman County courts is like we have prepared a quick overview of this process and why it is so important to hire an attorney:

  1. A Petition for Probate must be filed in the Court where the deceased party resided. This requests the appointment of an executor. If there is no Will, the Court will appoint someone to serve as the Personal Representative of the estate.  Notice must be given to all heirs and beneficiaries, as required by the court.
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GuestandGrayLogoThree people were killed in a head-on collision on State Highway 6 outside Valley Mills late Thursday evening, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. D.L. Wilson said Friday.

Troopers were called to the two-vehicle crash, about 3.5 miles north of Valley Mills, at about 7:20 p.m. The driver of a 2004 Chevy Suburban, Christopher Lee Berry, 32, of Clifton, was headed north and crossed into a no-passing zone while trying to pass two other northbound vehicles, Wilson said.

As Berry was attempting to pass the other cars, a southbund 2008 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by Diego Heredia, 20, of Valley Mills, was approaching and steered onto the shoulder in an attempt to avoid the crash, Wilson said. The Suburban and Jetta collided head-on, killing Heredia and his two passengers, Taylor Bradley, 19, and Griffin Anderson, 17, both of Clifton.