Newsletters Archive

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: April 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Wills

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about wills.  The rules discussed below are specific to Arizona, but most states probably have similar rules. •Why is it important to preserve an original will?  Putting aside for the moment the possibility of an electronic will (discussed in my November 2019, Report) the answer to question of why […]

Tax Law Special Report: February 2020
What’s The Big Deal About The Secure Act?

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I have been getting questions about the SECURE Act. That’s legislation recently adopted by Congress that changes certain rules governing the tax treatment of retirement accounts, including when you can put money into or take money out of such accounts. The change that has been talked about the most in estate planning circles is that […]

ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT: January 2020
Do I Have To Pay Tax On My Inheritance?

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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 […]

REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: December 2019
Is Home Title Lock A Valuable Service Or Do You Already Have Insurance That Covers That Risk?

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Home Title Lock is a service that I have heard advertised recently. The service purports to protect home owners against fraudulent title schemes. To oversimplify it, here’s an outline of the scheme that the purveyors of this service are talking about. First, suppose a thief records a forged deed, transferring title to your home to […]

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

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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: June 2019
One Newsworthy Item Out Of The Recent Legislative Session: A Change To The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act Concerning Partial Rent Payments

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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 […]

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 […]

REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: March 2019
Paint It Black

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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 […]

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

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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 […]