Publications Archive

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. […]

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: February 2017
How to Legally Change Your Name (In Arizona)

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Sometimes I’m asked this question by someone I’m helping with estate planning: What is my legal name? The question is usually asked by someone who has, for generally non-legal reasons, used different names at different times in his or her life. Sometimes the question is asked because discrepancies have, perhaps accidentally, occurred in the way […]

Tax Law Special Report
Federal Individual Income Tax Filing Season Runs From January 23 Through April 18, 2017

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The IRS announced in its first news release of the year that it will begin accepting 2016 individual income tax returns via electronic filing, and will start processing paper returns, on January 23, 2017. The same announcement says that the deadline for filing 2016 returns is April 18, 2017. Yes, the filing deadline is April […]

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: December 2016
Should I Include My Life Insurance In My Living Trust, and If So How Do I Do It?

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I am frequently asked about including life insurance in a revocable living trust. Usually the question is something like this: should my revocable living trust own my life insurance? The answer to that one is generally, no, there’s no need for your revocable living trust to “own” your life insurance. There are other types of […]

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: October 2016
What Not To Do, And What To Do, When Deciding How To Handle The Contents Of The Family Homestead

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I have heard lots of stories over the years about how families have handled removing the contents of the family homestead when the time came to sell it, after the family members who lived there passed away. A blogger whose posts I read occasionally, who uses the screen name Coyote, recently put up a short […]