Life Happens. Now What?

Nolo's primer offers everyday legal advice

How many times have you heard someone utter the words “If I knew then what I know now?” This is especially true when we need a little legal advice — from breaking a rental agreement to incorporating a business — which typically doesn’t fit into our budgets. While experience is an excellent teacher, the education offered can come with the high tuition of costly errors.

To avoid the negative financial consequences of making poor life decisions, read Your Little Legal Companion: Helpful Advice for Life’s Big Events. Organized around 50 common circumstances — such as quitting a job, becoming a landlord, getting a traffic ticket, and going to small claims court — the book offers 10 key pieces of advice for each situation with authority, brevity, and humor.

Those of you with adorable little puppies would be happy to know that even though you can’t leave money to your pets in a will, you can appoint a trustee to spend the money you leave to care for the dog. Or, if you’re starting a band, you can copyright a song by simply recording it. Speaking of records, if you’re trying to avoid a speeding ticket, get a radar detector. It’s legal in every state except Virginia and the District of Columbia. Tips like these are gems for anyone who needs practical legal advice.

Written by the editors of Nolo, known for its do-it-yourself legal books, Your Little Legal Companion (Nolo Books; $9.95) is a useful reference for just about anyone, at every stage of life, including teenagers and retirees. But it is an excellent choice for those fresh out of high school or college, who could use a ready reference to deal with the often intimidating and confusing mysteries of adulthood. (I ordered copies for each of my kids, who range in age from 14 to 23). A quick and easy read, with less than 200 pages of bite-sized advice, Your Legal Companion can be consumed in an afternoon. Either way, it’s hard to imagine a single more valuable source of useful information.

ACROSS THE WEB