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Scottsdale Legal Blog

Disclosures are important to home loans

Residential real estate transactions can lead to many negative and financially costly surprises, especially when there is a lack of disclosure. Borrowers and purchaser must carefully review loan documents to learn about financial pitfalls and avoid them.

During the pe-recession housing boom in Arizona and across the country, borrowers suffered the consequences of loans with no money down, prepayment penalties and negative amortization. However, new rules enacted by the federal government require disclosures on home loans to help prevent these practices.

Estates should not ignore important digital assets

Clearly, estate planning must enter the digital age now that at least 77 percent of all Americans go online daily and handle their personal and financial matters online. An estate plan should now include digital assets and other personal property stored electronically, according to a financial expert.

An executor must have access to digital information or there will be confusion and possible legal actions as an expensive and possibly futile search is made. Usernames and passwords to financial and personal accounts must be shared, along with Facebook and other online accounts. This also applies to other remote locations, such as cloud storage.

Zoning affects how real estate may be used

Our readers may have noticed that it is not uncommon for similar types of buildings to be grouped together. For example, they may notice that many restaurants and shops all appear on the same blocks, while single family homes are separate and apart and generally grouped together. This is due to zoning, an area of real estate law that regulates where certain types of homes and businesses may be located.

Zoning serves the purpose of keeping similarly operating entities near each other to minimize disturbances. For example, imagine if a busy nightclub was permitted to open in the middle of a quiet residential street. The homeowners may have disputes with the noise and traffic of the nightclub and the nightclub may feel restricted by the lack of parking and commercial energy in the area.

An executor may have to deal with a belligerent beneficiary

If you are appointed the executor of an estate, you may not know much about the beneficiaries until your work begins.

Most beneficiaries are patient and cooperative. However, you may find that there is one restless heir whose impatience turns into belligerence. How do you treat such a person?

Buying rental property

Rental property may be a way to earn long-term profits from real estate. The historic average returns on single-family rental homes is approximately 9 percent each year from rental income and price appreciation. But, owning and managing rental property takes time, planning and a bit of savvy.

Being a landlord is not for the introverted or impatient. Landlords must act lawfully and with tact when dealing with tenants, repairmen and cleaning crews. They should act with discretion and calm when facing unexpected repairs and tenant behavior. Hiring a professional property manager can eliminate some of this burden. However, these managers generally take 10 percent and may not share the same enthusiasm as the property owner.

Estate planning may involve transferring business ownership

If you are a business owner, you might be thinking about how your business would live on after you pass away, knowing that there are tax implications and other matters to consider.

Transfer of ownership involves many details and establishing a succession plan is part of a good estate planning strategy.

Businesses need separate accounts

Commingling business and personal funds can cause many commercial law problems for small business owners in Arizona. All businesses, from a start-up company to a sole proprietorship, should have separate business checking accounts and records.

Separate accounts help monitor expenses and identifies what business costs must be paid. Separation also helps identify any tax-deductible expenses for the business. Comingling personal and business funds also makes it harder to form a corporation that can protect an owner from incurring the risk of personal liability for business debts or negligence.

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