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Scottsdale Legal Blog

Saying no to an inheritance

There may be times that it is appropriate to look an estate gift horse in the mouth. Estate planning should include the advantages and downsides of inheritances and bequests.

An heir may want to disclaim an inheritance to give a helpful asset to another family member. For example, a younger relative who was just married may make better use of an inherited condominium. Or, an heir may be burdened with undesirable real estate that is expensive to keep and difficult to sell.

A special needs trust helps a special person in your life

Let us say that, as a teenager, your younger brother Tom suffered serious injuries in a car crash and as a result, became permanently disabled. Tom lives with you and your family, and you all see to his care and comfort.

However, you worry about what would happen to Tom if you should die suddenly, and you decide to speak with your attorney about a special needs trust.

Protecting against financial elder abuse

Arizona protects incapacitated adults through guardianships that allow a trusted person, often a family member, to take over their business and financial decisions. Guardians and others, however, can violate their important legal responsibilities.

The guardian can improperly use their power over the protected person's finances for their own benefit. This financial abuse has several warning signs. First, the guardian uses their guardianship authority to transfer property for their own benefit. It is also suspicious when a guardian approves frequent and unexplained cash withdrawals from the protected accounts.

Business startup loan options

Anyone starting a new business in Arizona must confront many aspects of commercial law. Any business start-up, however, remains an idea unless there is adequate financing. The most common financing includes personal savings, money from family and friends, venture capital or private investor. Other business startups must rely on traditional methods, such as bank loans.

Many times though, startups do not have adequate business history and credit for obtaining favorable loan terms. Other loan products fill this void. First, a startup can use equipment financing that allows the new equipment purchased for the business to serve as collateral. Usually, lenders are more willing to make these loans.

Arizona housing market growing

Our state's housing market, homebuilding industry and residential real estate market grew in 2017, according to a residential market research firm. Home sales, prices and agents competing deals also rose last year. This real estate growth can provide opportunity, but also the need for continued legal scrutiny.

Demand for new and resale homes grew from 2016. Supply, however, was equalized by limited resale inventory. Projections also show that housing inventory will increase as builders try to meet demands and more agents will seek state licensure to engage in real estate transactions. Higher prices will also lead to higher sales commissions.

Have you been asked to take on the role of conservator?

Your aunt is about to celebrate her 80 birthday--and the day after, she might have no recollection of it. Her daughter Sally, your cousin, thinks it is time to consider a guardianship for her mom.

Sally is willing to take on that task, but since you are a successful business person, she wants you to consider becoming conservator for your aunt.

Arizona landlords face numerous requirements

Landlords owning commercial real estate must comply with numerous laws governing tenant rights. In fact, RentCafe listed Arizona as the fifth best state for renters to live based on its review of landlord-tenant laws across the country. The state scored 70 out of a possible 100 points in this report. Vermont had the most favorable laws and scored 90. Renters in Arkansas have the least protection because that state ranked last with a score of only 12.5.

Our state's renters have more legal advantages than tenants in other states. Among other things, renters must have 30-days' notice of a rent increase under a month-to-month lease.

Landing the preferred place to sue

Landing at the wrong airport in Missouri and a lawsuit for damages a penny below $75,000 provides a lesson and warning about commercial law for Arizona businesses. Plaintiffs may try to game a lawsuit to seek a more favorable place to hear their claim.

The underlying case is a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines for landing at the wrong airport in Branson, Missouri. The plane flying from Chicago was scheduled to land at the larger Branson Airport, but mistakenly landed seven miles away at the smaller Taney County airport. It has a runway half the size of the Branson landing strip.

Securities and more with TOD designations avoid probate

Probate can be a lengthy process, but certain assets can pass directly to your beneficiaries without having to go through this legal action.

For example, if you own stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares, you can use the transfer on death, or TOD, registration and designate whomever you wish to inherit these securities when you pass away.

A will is not enough

Drafting a will is only one part of effective estate planning in Arizona. Other essential estate documents may avoid costly litigation or having other unintended or unwanted individuals appointed by courts to make important decisions.

There is no time like the present to execute documents such as a power of attorney and advanced medical directive. These allow others to step in and make decisions on assets or medical care when a person is unable to because of health problems.

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