Hugh J. M. Jones, III, P.C. Hugh J. M. Jones, III, P.C.

What you can do to find the ideal business partner

If you're starting a new business, perhaps nothing is more important than picking the right business partner. This decision can set you up for success or failure. It can define the company culture and the opportunities that you have. You must find the right person.

How do you do it? Here are a few tips that can help:

  • If you can, spend some time working with this individual before the two of you form your own company. Get to know each other. Find out more about their work habits. Make sure you enjoy that experience before committing to it long-term.
  • Find someone who shares your overall goals. It's about more than just making money. What is your company about? Where do you want to take it? Why type of company culture do you crave? You need to work with someone who shares that vision.
  • Choose someone who does the things that you can't do. If you both have different talents, the business will be stronger. Maybe you're a people person and you're great at making connections and networking, but you're not good at the behind-the-scenes paperwork. You need someone who can take care of the details for you.
  • Think about the financial side. Starting a business isn't cheap. How will you get funding? Can you both invest equally in the business? You need to agree on your roles and financial obligations in advance.

3 wills handwritten by Aretha Franklin discovered in her home

When the legendary singer Aretha Franklin died last August, it appeared that she had no will or other estate planning documents. Although her four sons would be her apparent heirs according to the laws of her home state of Michigan, Franklin's niece was named as the estate's executor.

While visiting her aunt's home in the Detroit area this month, her niece found three handwritten wills drafted by Franklin. These wills mean even more confusion for the estate and possible conflict among her heirs. Although handwritten wills can be valid in Michigan, as in Virginia, the fact that there are three of them is problematic. Two have dates indicating they were written in 2010. Another one is dated 2014. Further, they are difficult to read.

Avoiding a real estate money pit

If you are purchasing real estate for your own residence or as an investment, you have many things to consider. Even if this is not your first time buying property here in Virginia, you certainly do not want to dive into purchasing the first house or building you see. You have questions to ask and factors to weigh. You want time to think it over before committing so much money.

Sometimes you may look at a property and get a good feeling for it. You may have a sense that it will be a good fit, a place where you can raise a family or comfortably do business. However, going by feelings and intuition is not always enough to protect your investment.

Can added auto safety features lead to more distracted driving?

If you've purchased a car within the past few years, it probably included more than a few standard features and even more optional ones that make it safer and more enjoyable to drive. Semi-autonomous technology can alert you if you're drifting into another lane, warn you of vehicles in your blind spot and even brake if there's something in your path.

While these advancements can save lives, they can also create added distractions for drivers. Many people don't realize that they're distractions. Talking and texting or performing other functions on phones as well as using GPS navigation top the list of driver-reported distractions. However, the warning sounds and lights made by enhanced safety technology can also be distracting -- so much so that some drivers actually disable them.

A farm tractor operator is killed by a tractor-trailer driver

A 75-year-old man lost his life after being struck by a tractor-trailer while operating his farm tractor along Route 221 near Timber Ridge Road in Bedford County on April 23. The deadly crash occurred just before 4:35 p.m. that fateful day.

Police say that tractor-trailer operator who was involved had been traveling northbound in a no pass zone moments before the crash. It's then that he suddenly decided to try and pass the Allis Gleaner Company (AGCO) farm tractor. It's around that same time that the victim attempted to make a left turn. He was T-boned by the tractor-trailer operator as he tried to do this.

How you can prevent a family battle over your estate

No one wants their family fighting over their assets after they're gone. One thing that motivates many people to create an estate plan is the desire to prevent such battles. Indeed, by putting an estate plan in place while there's no question of your mental clarity, you can ease any concerns that you didn't understand what you were doing or were unduly influenced by someone else. However, besides not procrastinating, there are other things you can do to lessen the chances of a legal battle over your estate.

You can include a no contest clause. These clauses state that anyone who challenges a will or other document in an estate plan and loses will receive nothing -- even if the estate plan designated an inheritance. However, these clauses can be challenged.

A spendthrift trust can protect your money -- and your child

If you're a parent of adult children, you likely want to leave some of your assets to each of them. However, what if one of your kids has never learned how to be responsible with money? You fear they could blow through their inheritance, no matter how substantial, in no time rather than investing it or putting it towards their own retirement savings.

Even worse, what if you have a child with a substance abuse issue? An inheritance of any amount could be used to purchase lethal amounts of drugs.

Loans don't just disappear when you have a lemon car in Virginia

When an individual buys a new car, they don't expect it to give them problems right off the bat. Given that the average automobile has as many as 30,000 different parts, manufacturing errors can happen.

While many consumers can take their car back to the dealership and have a simple repair performed on it, there are some that never seem to get fixed. If you have one of these, then you might have what's called a "lemon" car on your hands.

Is cell phone use the ultimate driving distraction?

Smartphones have more computing power than the computers that put men on the moon back in 1969. You can browse the internet, look up the closest place to buy something you need and watch your favorite movies all from a device around the size of a deck of cards, or perhaps a little larger.

This technological advancement has changed the world, but it has also made it a more dangerous place. Far too many drivers use their phones as they travel at highway speeds. Doing so puts more lives in danger on Virginia's roadways than ever before. Of course, this isn't the only thing distracting drivers, but many say it is the most dangerous.

A Lynchburg drunk driver is sentenced; his victim still suffers

While an area resident has finally received a sentence of four years in prison for a drunk driving crash that he caused in July 2017, his punishment has brought very little closure to the three victims that he seriously injured that fateful night.

At the Lynchburg man's sentencing, the Commonwealth Attorney recounted how five people left a Fort Avenue house party just before 2:20 a.m. on July 2, 2017. She said that they were all walking in the grass nearby a church parking lot back en route to their cars when all of the sudden, a motorist fast approached them from behind and turned into their direction.

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