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Camarillo Estate Law And Real Estate Law Blog

HOA gets unwanted garbage as trash collector fails to appear

California courts host a continual flow of disputes between homeowners' associations and their tenants or others. Most condo and single-family residential developments utilize the HOA as a method to administer certain management functions that are common to the homes comprising the development. The state has passed a regiment of laws that govern how the association is to be formed and the general scope of its authority.

Despite the legal strictures, disputes regularly arise and generally comprise a separate body of case law in California jurisprudence. These scenarios are often repetitive nationwide. For example, in one recent incident in another state, a homeowners' association experienced a serious breach of contract with a private supplier of services. For some undisclosed reason, the private trash collector for the Park Pointe homeowners stopped collecting the trash.

Choosing estate representatives is a vital estate planning task

In California and elsewhere, one of the key planning issues for an individual or married couple is choosing who to serve as executors, trustees, power of attorney agents, health proxies and other positions. Ideally, the estate planning documents will include alternate choices if the first fails to serve or qualify. Generally, people choose their immediate family members or closest friends. Occasionally, they may select an institution for all or some of the duties. 

The most important appointment is the personal representative, also called the executor, of the decedent's estate. Where the maker passes significant assets by his or her will, the personal representative faces a solemn and substantial undertaking. The directing instrument is the will. Fortunately, the representative will work hand in hand with the estate attorney to carry out the required duties.

Is it time for a tune up?

How long ago did you complete your estate planning? Even five years can be a long time for your estate plan to sit without a thorough review. Here are some of the reasons that your will and other essential estate documents need a read-through and possibly some changes.

Major Events

An estate planning checklist helps to organize the process

A California resident may have many different considerations when making up an estate planning checklist. One purpose of the list is to go over it with one's estate planning attorney in making up an initial estate plan. The estate plan is intended to take care of decisions to be made if one becomes incapacitated and unable to act and in the case of death.

Interestingly, over 60 percent of Americans don't even have a will let alone a full estate plan. It seems that facing one's mortality and being practical enough to plan for the best interest of one's family is not a primary motivator. Witness the one most famous recent personality to die without a will, the entertainer Prince. The ramifications on his family members and his business empire from the lack of planning are still reverberating in the courtrooms of his home state.

Rental real estate transactions cause discord in some localities

California is reportedly experiencing a housing crisis, which is occurring alongside booming levels of business for Airbnb and similar real estate rental companies. However, short-term renting is not welcomed in many cities in the state. For example, Santa Monica passed an ordinance tightening restrictions against rental real estate transactions and setting up a system of registration of available properties.

In Santa Monica, the owner/s of the property must remain in residence with vacationers and must register their properties with the city. That policy brought a lawsuit from Airbnb and HomeAway against Santa Monica. The suit claims violations of the First Amendment, the Coastal Act and the Communications Decency Act. A U.S. District Court judge recently ruled against the rental enterprises and in favor of the city's ordinance by refusing to grant an injunction against the city ordinance pending further proceedings.

Estate planning includes preparation of health care directives

California residents who engage in estate planning often ask questions about the difference between a health care power of attorney and a living will. Generally, people have little understanding of what each does until they meet with their estate planning attorney for a review of their needs. A living will generally is a legal instrument that the individual signs and that expresses his or her concerns about end-of-life decisions.

It is an advance medical directive that tells doctors and health administrators how the patient wants to have treatment administered or not administered in the final days or weeks of life. The living will can advise the health care providers that the patient does not choose to have life artificially prolonged at the point that a terminal illness wipes out the patient's quality of life. Generally, this instrument is prepared by the estate planning attorney when the client requests the construction of an estate plan.

Estate planning includes disposition of personal belongings

A person's concern for the beneficiaries of his or her estate will be best appreciated by not leaving an estate of cluttered personal possessions. In California and elsewhere, this may lead to personal altercations among beneficiaries, and to burdensome expenses and wasted time in resolving the estate. Estate planning may be facilitated by disposing of some personal possessions prior to one's death.

The accumulation of basically worthless personal belongings can be a drag on the energies of one's loved ones after a person's death. In the case of relatives who may themselves be of a hoarding disposition, a fight for seizing these items may take place, and lifelong resentment may be created. Others will have no interest in keeping the miscellaneous acquisitions that one accumulates over many decades of living.

Estate planning may help to prevent post-death disputes

It was probably inevitable that Michael Jackson's estate would become embroiled in extended battles with the IRS over the value of his assets in California and elsewhere. One major sticking point is the value of Michael's name and likeness. Because these have the continuing potential to earn income, the IRS has contested the $2 million value listed by the executors. This issue may not have been amenable to estate planning protections, but other issues being fought out might have been better planned by his estate planners or perhaps better handled by his executors.

For estate tax purposes, most people will not experience tax issues. Federal taxes on an estate kick in at $5.6 million (over $11 million for married couples), and this is going higher under the new tax laws. In this controversy, the IRS claims that the artist's name and likeness should be valued at $434 million and it has assessed more than $700 million in taxes and penalties against the estate.

How to be a good HOA neighbor

If your townhome is in a home owner’s association (HOA), you have the added perk of amenities in common with all of your neighbors. Having facilities in common with your neighbors enables you to enjoy a pool, tennis court, or park-like surroundings with others in a community atmosphere.

Convenient and convivial

Are you a caregiver? Use these tips to manage your stress

Eventually, there comes a time when adult children are expected to take care of their aging parents. After all of the tender love and care that your parents put into raising you, it is now your turn to act as their caregiver.

Caring for an elderly parent can be a rewarding task, but also a stressful one. It’s not easy to devote so much time to caregiving in addition to your ever-present obligations to work, children and community. The stress of being a caregiver can eventually lead to burnout if it is not managed in time. When you need to manage your stress, take a look at these helpful stress-management tips that we have put together for caregivers.