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 […]
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 […]