When I first saw the recent story headlined “An Uprooted Oak Tree Cost California Couple $600k” (that’s from the New York Post), I intended to ignore it. The stories with headlines like that never turn out to illustrate the point that the headline makes them appear to illustrate. Isn’t that just the way things are […]
Tax Law Special Report: April 2019 If I Didn’t File My Tax Return On Time, What Excuses Will Be Good Enough To Get Me Out of Paying A Penalty?
A tax newsletter that I read reported on a court decision that I think is worth passing along to you, my loyal readers. It’s a decision from the United States Court of Federal Claims that addresses this timely question: if I file a tax return late (without requesting an extension), what excuses might be good […]
I suspect that in my grandparents’ day, no homeowner would have thought that he or she could control what color the neighbors could or couldn’t paint their houses. Boy, have things changed. Now, it’s news when someone paints their house an obnoxious color and dares the neighbors to do something about it. Three news items […]
What is a living will? It’s a question I get asked more often than you might think. First, a living will is not a will. It also is not a trust (as in a living trust). I think it is unfortunate that the name living will was chosen for this important document, because that name […]
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: December 2018 If You Want To Make Sure That Your Tangible Items Go Where You Want Them To Go, Make A Will, Then Make A List
Here’s a question I am frequently asked: how do I take care of distributing my ____________ (fill in the blank: jewelry, or Hummel collection, or gun collection, or other collection of tangible items) among my relatives? The answer I give is this: make a tangible personal property list. A tangible personal property list is a […]
An article that appeared recently in the Arizona Republic newspaper reminded me that it is time for an update on a subject that I wrote about a few months ago. The newspaper article was about a residential real estate brokerage operating on what has been loosely described as a “peer-to-peer” platform. If you don’t know […]
Most homeowners have probably at least heard of the homestead exemption. Many probably don’t fully understand how it works, however. The homestead exemption protects up to $150,000 of equity in your home from the claims of creditors (with some important exceptions that I will discuss in a moment). What do I mean when I say […]
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: September 2018 Will My Trust Shield My Assets From The Claims Of My Creditors?
The main purpose of a revocable living trust is to hold your assets in an entity that is separate from you personally, so that if you die or become incapacitated, the assets can be controlled and managed by someone else (your successor trustee) without the need for a legal proceeding to appoint either a personal […]
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: August 2018 What Is “Funding” A Trust and What Are Other Ways To Leave Things To People Without Using A Will?
I have written at various times in the past about re-titling your assets after you have established a trust, and emphasized the importance of this process. Nevertheless, I still get more questions about it than just about any other topic. So, at the risk of redundancy, I decided that it’s time for a quick review. […]
I’m reluctant to pick anything out of the news to write about these days because I find so much of what’s in the news to be neither entertaining nor enlightening. Maybe I’m just starting to get tired of summer already. Real estate prices seem to be on the rise again. I’m hopeful that the problems […]
I have previously presented the following question to you, my loyal readers: should the income earned on savings be exempt from income tax regardless of the purpose of the savings? I think so, and I’m not alone, but the idea doesn’t seem to have gained much traction, yet. Under the federal tax code, there are […]
Arizona law requires that a will be in writing, signed by the testator and by two witnesses. A will that does not comply with those requirements can nevertheless be valid if the signature and the material provisions are in the handwriting of the person making the will (that’s the “testator”). A will that is handwritten […]
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: April, 2018 If A Rescue Organization Presents You With An Adoption Contract For A Pet, I Suggest You Read It Carefully
Reading a blog post about pet rescuers, I came across a link to an adoption contract. It’s a contract that is intended for use between a pet rescue organization and individuals adopting pets from the organization. The contract includes this provision (the typos are in the original as I found it): It is agreed that […]
I have written in the past about the prehospital medical care directive, also known as a “do-not-resuscitate” instruction or “DNR.” I am asked about it frequently, but not many people actually sign one after I explain it to them. The law on the DNR is actually relatively straightforward, although it seems that few people have […]
A faithful reader, appraiser Steve Cole, suggested that in my next Update on the subject of homeowners’ associations, I should discuss the ins and outs of architectural review, also known as design review. If you have ever lived in a neighborhood governed by, or otherwise had to deal with, a homeowners’ association, you have probably […]
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: January, 2018 How Do You Make An Organ Donation As Part Of Your Estate Plan?
I have written in the past about Donate Life Arizona, also known as the Donor Network of Arizona. It’s part of a larger organization called Donate Life that calls itself an organ procurement organization. It facilitates organ and tissue donation in Arizona and other states. Arizona law contains specific directions for how to make an […]