This is obviously an important topic, so I want to give it the attention it deserves. I have seen many wills in my career. Some were very short, but covered all the necessary information, while others were very long but were lacking key details. In either case, administering the estates that were the subject of those wills would have been much more complicated if the original of the will had been lost. Yes, I’ve dealt with my share of those situations too.
For more information on this vital subject, please read my Estate Planning Law Report for April, 2020. It’s posted in the news & events section of deconcinimcdonald.com.
Americans are constantly being told that they don’t save enough. So why not create more widely usable, and less complicated, opportunities for savings that will produce income without being subject to income tax? I discussed the possibilities in my Tax Law Special Report for March, 2020. The report is posted for your examination at my firm’s web site, deconcinimcdonald.com.
First, the title of the SECURE Act is a ridiculously contrived acronym: the full title is the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019.
What’s more, just about all of the commentary that I have seen about it focuses on the shortening of the time that people who inherit IRAs have to withdraw the funds. Sure, that may be important in some situations, but I’ll bet that, given the freedom to do whatever they want, most people who inherit IRAs are going to withdraw all the money in ten years (the new, shorter time period for most situations) or less anyway.
The more impactful change made by the SECURE Act, in my opinion, is the extension of the required beginning date for withdrawals by the account owner (the dreaded required minimum distributions, or RMDs) from age 70½ to age 72.
For a fuller, but by no means comprehensive, discussion of this complex measure that has implications for retirement planning, estate planning, and tax planning, please check out my Tax Law Special Report for February, now available for your reading pleasure in the News & Events section of my firm’s web site, deconcinimcdonald.com.
The question is, what happens to a one-foot wide strip of property that remained in the ownership of the builder after construction of two attached houses on two lots on either side of the one-foot wide strip?
Pro tip: don’t buy the one-foot wide strip at the tax lien sale. Buyer beware.
My Real Estate Law Update for December discussed Home Title Lock, and whether it really provides a needed service. You’ll find that Update in the news and events section of deconcinimcdonald.com.
Clark Howard makes the point that Home Title Lock doesn’t really sound like insurance. They say they will monitor your home title, alert you if anything happens, and assist you with documents if something does happen, but they don’t say that they will pay any money to cover any losses you might incur.
IT IS SURPRISING TO ME THAT CORPORATE DECISION MAKERS CAN GO TO JAIL FOR BAD CONSEQUENCES OF FIRING, TRANSFERRING, OR DEMOTING EMPLOYEES
This happened in France, so maybe I shouldn’t be concerned by it, but the idea that managers of a private company can be criminally prosecuted and jailed for firing, transferring, or demoting employees, because those business decisions allegedly led to some of those employees committing suicide, is alarming to me. Unless the managers personally abused the employees who committed suicide (which isn’t suggested by the news report; to the contrary, the term applied, “institutional harassment,” suggests the state couldn’t identify individual actors), how can employment decisions, no matter how harsh they may be for the employee financially, subject the corporate decision makers to jail time?
I saw a news item from KOLD-TV about the Tucson City Council being urged to modify its development code to prohibit front-yard swimming pools. Why? Because construction of the required safety wall around a front-yard pool would allegedly cause the property to no longer qualify for the historic property tax break.
Why should anyone but the owner of the subject property care about that? Well apparently, if a large enough number of properties in a historically designated district no longer qualify, the district could lose the historic designation, which would mean that none of the properties in the district would qualify for the tax break.
I have not done the research to see if any of the above is true. But even assuming that it is true, I find these comments by a city council member, as quoted in the new item, to be illuminating, and not in a good way:
“We can’t allow something in the front yard that’s going to delist the property,” said Steve Kozachik, the city council member for Ward 6.
In other words, what you get to do on your property is subject to the better judgment of the city. Those comments are on a par with the comment I recently posted from the mayor of New York, who thinks that the government knows better than you do how your money should be spent.
Have you heard the advertising for Home Title Lock? If you listen to news radio, you will hear it. The advertising says that real estate title fraud is a significant risk for homeowners, and that you need their product to protect you from that type of fraud. Of course that’s what they say.
I think it is unlikely that Home Title Lock is something you really need. That’s my opinion because I think you probably have insurance already in place that protects you against the type of fraud that Home Title Lock says it will detect.
To find out why that’s my opinion, I encourage you to read my Real Estate Law Update for December. It was posted yesterday in the News & Events section of my law firm’s web site, deconcinimcdonald.com.
I am interested to hear if any of my readers have encountered real estate title fraud, and if you have any opinion on the subject.
JUST HOW FAR SHOULD GOVERNMENT BE ABLE TO GO IN TELLING ME WHAT I CAN, CANNOT, OR MUST DO ON MY PROPERTY?
I have seen this news item linked in at least two different places, so I don’t want to give it more attention than it deserves, but I think it’s worthy of notice and comment because it’s an apt illustration of a subject that I have repeatedly discussed in this space. The subject is the extent to which the concerns of other should control my use of my private property. This example goes much further than the land use planning issues that I have discussed here in the past, however, because the suggestion in this case would, if implemented, dictate that private property owners dedicate part of their property to residential use by others without compensation.
The example is just a suggestion by a narrow majority of a subcommittee in one city, so it’s far from a trend, but it does illustrate, to me anyway, that there is no reach too far for some people who believe that government should be able to dictate how private property owners can use their property.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.