Newsletters Archive

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?

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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. […]

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

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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 […]

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: March, 2018
Should You Have A DNR ?

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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 […]

REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: February, 2018
Rules of the Road For Your HOA’s Design Review Committee

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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?

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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 […]

REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: December 2017
What’s Wrong With Tiny Houses?

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A recent item in the Arizona Daily Star told about plans to install (“build” isn’t really the right term, for reasons that will be clear in a minute) tiny houses in the Vail school district for teachers to live in. I’m staying completely away from the debate about whether or not this is the right […]

Tax Law Special Report: November 2017
All The Hullaballoo Over The Home Mortgage Interest Deduction Comes Down To Changing One Amount

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I usually don’t bother writing about, or even spend too much time thinking about, proposed tax legislation. I figure I can’t do anything about it except to try to understand it after it is enacted. I’m going to make an exception for the proposed change to the dollar limit on the home mortgage interest deduction because […]

REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: September 2017
It Is Possible For Your Homeowners’ Association To Take Your House, But Only If You Don’t Follow The Rules And They Do

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The Arizona Republic recently published an investigative series about homeowners who have lost their houses as the result of foreclosures by their homeowners’ associations. As happens periodically, some people have pointed to these events as demonstrating the need for closer government regulation of homeowners’ associations. My own view is that the process by which homeowners’ […]

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: JULY 2017
IS AN INHERITANCE TAXABLE INCOME

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I have addressed in previous reports the tax consequences of gifts and inheritances, but the subject is worth revisiting because I get asked about it frequently. There is a common misconception that inheritances are automatically taxable. Although the reasoning behind that misconception is usually not clearly articulated or is unexpressed, I think it originates with […]

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: June 2017
New Legislation Concerning End of Life Care Focuses On Health Care Providers, But the Likely Practical Effect Is Unclear

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There has been some publicity recently about a piece of Arizona legislation concerning end of life care. The legislation says that a health care provider can’t be discriminated against (fired, demoted, have their wages cut, etc.) because the provider “does not provide [services] for the purpose of causing or assisting in causing the death of […]

REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: May 2017
When Must a Seller of Land Provide an Affidavit of Disclosure
(Or, When Is Property “Unsubdivided”)?

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On at least a couple of occasions in the past I have written about the Arizona statute that requires sellers of unsubdivided land in unincorporated areas to provide an affidavit of disclosure. A commenter recently pointed out an area of uncertainty that I believe I identified in some of my earlier writings on this subject. […]