After I pass away, will there be a formal reading of my will? In Arizona, the answer is no, there will not be a formal reading of your will. In most cases, a will is admitted to probate through what’s called an informal probate proceeding. The will is submitted to the clerk of the court […]
Tax Law Special Report: December 2020 If Someone Calls You and Says They Are From The Government, Then Makes Demands Or Threats, They Are Trying To Rob You
I can say without hesitation that no government agency will do any of the following: (1) ask you to pay a debt to a government agency with a prepaid debit card or a gift card. (2) demand payment of a debt to a government agency without having told you first, in writing, how much they […]
REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: October 2020 Technology Is Causing Changes In Real Estate Sales and Purchases
With lots of people now working remotely, I can’t help wondering: is this going to have an impact on real estate? I was already noticing advertising for new houses touting the inclusion of home office space. Then I saw this headline: “Nearly 12 Million Square Feet of Vacant Office Space in S.F.” So yes, I […]
In November of last year, I wrote about new laws that make it possible to have an electronic will. Statutes that authorize the use of electronic wills are now in effect in Arizona and a few other states. In my newsletter on this topic, I predicted that the idea wasn’t likely to catch on until the required […]
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. When you establish a trust, the objective is to facilitate the management, and eventual distribution, of your assets. To make that work, there must be assets that are owned […]
REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: July 2020 Does The Government Seize Your Property If You Underpay Your Property Taxes?
You may have heard about a recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court that said the government could not seize a home because the owner underpaid the property taxes by $8.41. The court’s reasoning was that the outcome amounted to the government taking the property without just compensation, in violation of the constitutional guarantee that […]
REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE: May 2020 Do You Have The Right Real Estate Broker Or Salesperson For The Job?
You probably already know that if you are going to buy or sell a house, a parcel of land, or a commercial property, it would be a good idea to utilize the services of a real estate professional who has experience in transactions involving the type of property you are going to buy or sell. […]
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 […]
I have asked before, and am motivated by recent reports to ask again: do you think the income earned on savings accounts should be exempt from income tax regardless of the purpose for which the savings are ultimately spent? I think so, and I’m not alone. I have been seeing reports that this idea has […]
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 […]
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 2019Is Home Title Lock A Valuable Service Or Do You Already Have Insurance That Covers That Risk?
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: November 2019 Electronic Wills Are Here, But Are Not Quite Ready For Prime Time
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: September 2019 How Will the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Act Apply to Your Estate?
All but a few states in the United States have now adopted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the RUFADAA). As adopted in Arizona, the RUFADAA defines a “digital asset” as “an electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest.” What does that mean, and how is it going […]
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 […]