You may have heard about a new law that says electronic wills are now valid in Arizona. I’m not against the concept, but I am reluctant to bring it up now because the new law contains specific rules about the steps that have to be taken to make an electronic will valid, and those steps are […]
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: October 2019 I Can Give You Lots Of Good Reasons To Get Your Estate Planned
A business looking to get referrals for estate-related services recently sent me a copy of its newsletter. It is one of those reverse “10 best reasons” lists. This one just happens to address a subject I know something about. Its title is: “The 10 Best Reasons NOT To Do Your Estate Plan.” Naturally, I agree […]
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: August 2019 As With Many Matters of Life and Death, If You Want Someone To Do Something, Give Them Written Instructions
A loyal reader recently told me about a situation in which a deceased family member’s remains were relocated, without the consent of the deceased’s children, long after burial. I have heard of, and dealt with, more than a few disputes involving remains, but I had never heard of a situation quite like the one my […]
REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: July 2019What Do You Mean, I Can’t ____________(fill in the blank) On My Own Property?
This might become a regular series. You may recall that in my May Update, I wrote about California property owners who got into trouble for moving dirt and trees on their property because doing so violated a conservation easement. I received many responses to that newsletter, most of them to the effect of, “how could […]
REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: June 2019One Newsworthy Item Out Of The Recent Legislative Session: A Change To The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act Concerning Partial Rent Payments
When the Arizona Legislature completes its session, there’s naturally a lot of interest in what new laws have been adopted. Sometimes there’s less to those changes than meets the eye. The news reports on the just-concluded legislative session gave considerable attention to a change in the laws governing residential landlords and tenants, but on closer […]
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 […]