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Camarillo Estate Law And Real Estate Law Blog

An HOA can be a gratifying benefit for many homebuyers

Home Owners Associations in California are authorized and regulated by state law. When purchasing a home that has a HOA, it is important for buyers to read and understand the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions of the residential development. These CC&Rs are drawn up in compliance with state laws regulating such associations and are therefore enforceable.

The operational nature of the HOA may be intrusive for some homebuyers. Others may view the association as a godsend that will ease their physical and emotional worries about keeping up with such important matters as maintenance and security. But there is a monthly fee for the service, which is another fact that potential buyers will want to investigate prior to signing a purchase agreement for the home.

Hugh Hefner carefully charted his estate planning program

Hugh Hefner generally fits the profile of many celebrities who have lived and retired in California. He was a widely-known personality and was admired by many people. Conversely, many Americans likely viewed him as too liberated and excessively public with his private life. Nonetheless, it appears that he handled his estate planning wisely and effectively.

Hefner had a net worth reportedly valued at $43 million in 2010 but that did not include the Playboy Enterprises stock and his real estate holdings. He had a yearly income of $3.5 million with expenses of $1.3 million. However, with the Internet challenging the value and popularity of print media, Playboy had started to lose money in 2010. In 2011, he raised funds and took Playboy private, retaining for himself a 37 percent ownership interest.

What to do if someone parks in your spot in a planned community

Most people in a planned community hope to have a friendly relationship with their neighbors. Unfortunately, parking in a planned community can be limited and many neighbors may get into disagreements over designated parking spots.

Disputes over parking spots can lead to angry notes and escalating tensions. This post will explain the steps you can take with your homeowners association (HOA) if you need to resolve a designated parking spot dispute.

Estate planning requires distinguishing how property is titled

When engaging in estate planning for a California resident, it is important to consider how real estate is currently titled and to change the ownership form if necessary to meet the planning goals of the owner(s).  When title is owned by two or more owners designated as having the right of survivorship, this is jointly-owned property that passes automatically by operation of law to the other owner(s) at death. Real property that is titled in the names of husband and wife is endowed with the right of survivorship, and title passes automatically to the survivor upon the other's death. Estate planning is easy when the property passes by operation of law.

However, it becomes more challenging where the real estate is jointly owned by two or more persons designated as tenants in common. In the tenancy in common, when one of the separate owners dies, the property does not pass to the other owner(s). Instead, if there are three owners and one dies, that person's one-third ownership interest passes to his or her estate and goes to his/her heirs.

Real estate transactions facing new conceptual frameworks

Technology is now invading the real estate industry to introduce new models of how real property can be bought and sold. The result is that consumers may be able to save considerable money by avoiding high-priced real estate broker commissions in the future. California, as usual, is positioned to be in the vanguard of such industry-wide changes in the nature of how real estate transactions are conducted.

At a minimum, consumers now have online access to listings of real estate that is for sale in their localities. This is accomplished through services like Zillo and others that are emerging in this rapidly-changing landscape. Another startup service called Beycome is an online platform that directly connects buyers with sellers and effectively cuts out the middle man. It is similar to the "for sale by owner" model, but it provides access to various informational data bases that the old models did not provide.

Estate planning thrives on early decisions and focused goals

Many California residents become too preoccupied with their daily activities and struggles to slow down and think about planning for the future and into old age. Of course, they can't be blamed for avoiding estate planning, which does, after all, deal with death and a host of associated issues. There is something to be said, however, for preparing for the needs of retirement and beyond now, while one is healthy and capable of pre-arranging his/her wishes for the future. That would be a far better approach than finding oneself in the last stages of life with only hardship and adversity at hand.

The best way to get estate planning off the starting block is to consult with an estate planning attorney. In that setting, all of the assets of the individual or married couple can be identified, reviewed and discussed. The people in line as beneficiaries can be established along with one's pick of personal representative for the estate and trustees of any trusts to set up. The all-important individual to be appointed as agent in the durable power of attorney can also be determined.

Estate planning fares best when family members are advised

Most residents of California, like people anywhere else, are reluctant to talk about their personal affairs and statuses. It may be surprising to know that the hesitancy applies also to members of their own family. That becomes problematic at times because it can be an important aspect of one's estate planning goals to assure the knowledge and understanding of one's beneficiaries.

There are many decisions that an individual or married couple must make in creating their estate plans. The process sometimes involves making difficult choices regarding which family members are to serve as trustees and executors, and determining who will be favored beneficiaries over others, among other difficult decisions. It is better to have the family members aware of these matters during the testator's lifetime. That is when sincere family discussions can clear up why certain decisions are the best for everyone involved.

California spouses may want to consider kids when estate planning

As married individuals, many California residents know that there is often a need for discussion and compromise when it comes to making important decisions. When it comes to estate planning, spouses may want to talk about their wishes regarding how they would like their estates to be divided. Individuals who have children may simply want their assets to pass on to those children, but extenuating circumstances could come into play.

One consideration some parties may want to take into account relates to the success of their children. If one child has garnered more success and wealth in his or her lifetime, do the parents think it fair to give that child and another less successful child the same amount of inheritance? Some people may have differing views on the scenario, and discussing those views may be useful.

Investigate HOA restrictions prior to buying real estate

When looking to purchase residential real estate in California, it is good to first find out if there is a homeowners' association involved in the neighborhood governance. An HOA can be a valuable security blanket for many buyers, but for others there may be potential problems that should be investigated prior to buying. Such organizations generally enforce restrictive deed covenants that homeowners should know about in advance so that they know what to expect.

For example, one homeowner in another state learned only after he moved into his retirement home that there were restrictions on what kind and how many decorations were allowed in the front yard of the home. He and his wife had numerous decorative milk jugs, planter buckets and other artistic and historical objects in their front yard. It wasn't long before they got a letter from the HOA telling them to take most of it down due to a violation of their homeowners' association covenant on lawn decorations.

Moving forward after receiving a complaint from your HOA

If you purchase a home or a condo within a community, you may be subject to certain rules established by a homeowners association (HOA). These regulations stipulate certain standards regarding residents' behavior, architecture and home maintenance.

Sometimes, people may run afoul of these rules and regulations. If the rules within the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are not followed, you may receive a notification from the HOA.