Posts tagged ‘law firm’

October 19, 2013

Texting While Driving in Arizona

Though the dangers of texting and driving are now well known and firmly established, and despite the introduction of several bills geared towards formally banning texting while behind the wheel, Arizona remains one of nine states that has yet to adopt a formal texting while driving ban. While the issue of whether or not such a ban is appropriate continues to be debated, the lack of a formal ban on texting and driving does not necessarily absolve a driver of any liability should texting lead to an accident, thanks to Arizona’s statutes regarding reckless driving.

Current Arizona reckless driving statutes state that an individual is guilty of reckless driving if they operate a vehicle “in reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Those convicted of reckless driving are guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor, and, if certain aggravating factors apply, a conviction could result in a jail sentence.

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August 9, 2013

Time to Review Your Estate Plan

An estate plan represents a snapshot of someone’s current life. Though we draft our estate documents to be amenable to life changes, one should still review his estate plan every year or so to see if the documents reflect his or her wishes.

At our firm, the wills we draft are general, and more often than not cover one’s entire estate in lieu of referencing specific assets. Although the estate plan may be generalized, many life events warrant changes to one’s documents. Moving between states, marriage, divorce, estrangement, and death of loved ones all represent appropriate reasons to update an estate plan.

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September 20, 2011

Why You May Wish to Change or Update your Estate Planning Documents

At the Carroll Law Firm, we help clients plan their estate by preparing documents including Simple Wills, Durable General Powers of Attorney (AKA Business Powers of Attorney), Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Beneficiary Deeds and even Trusts.

Every time you move to a new state, you should prepare a new will. Each state has different laws for probating an estate, and if you do not have a new will prepared, you could leave your beneficiaries liable for problems that you could have helped them avoid such as inheritance taxes, real estate complications and more. The only way to ensure that your true wishes will be carried out upon death is to have a will prepared in accordance with state laws of your primary residence.

In addition to a new will, you also should make sure your Trust adheres to local laws. If you already have a trust, an attorney can prepare an amendment to that trust to make sure that the trust is interpreted according to Arizona law.

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May 4, 2011

Weighing the Potential Costs and Benefits of Short Selling Your House

In many cases, a short sale would be a beneficial option to homeowners suffering from too much debt. A short sale is the sale of a home where the bank agrees to allow the sale of the home without getting full payment of the debt on the home. A short sale can have some very large costs to the selling homeowner who usually needs to move because they cannot afford the costs of the home. Many homes in our community are selling for $100,000 to $300,000 less than the debt on the home. While the bank can agree to forgive the entire debt, it is crucial that people considering a short sale on their home consult with an attorney and review any paperwork and terms from the bank very carefully prior to signing anything. Though the bank can, and often will, agree to forgive the debt entirely, in some instances the bank will request the homeowners sign documents making them liable for the debt even after the home is sold. An attorney will help caution you how to avoid this circumstance.

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February 22, 2011

Community and Separate Property

Though February may be an “interesting” choice to post two articles concerning divorce, The New York Post reports that there is a 40 percent spike in divorce rates around this time of year. For this reason, we’ve opted to continue on with the topic of our last post and focus on an issue that is nearly universal to all divorces; community property.

Arizona is a community property state, which means the law presumes that all property acquired during the course of a marriage is community property. On the other hand, all property that is acquired before marriage, or after the divorce papers are served, is considered to be separate property.

If an item is classified as community property then both you and your spouse have an equal ownership in that item. This property includes most assets acquired during the marriage, as well as any income generated by either you or your spouse.

Separate property belongs solely to either yourself or your spouse. Typically, separate property is anything that you brought into the marriage, or acquired as a gift or through inheritance to you personally. These items will generally remain your separate property throughout the course of the marriage, as long as you keep them separate, but there are certain actions or events that may grant your spouse an interest in your separate property, or even change it to community property entirely (such as depositing money into a joint account used for the good of the community).

The presumption that everything acquired during marriage is community property is very broad, but there are ways to defeat it. Certain exceptions exist that allow some items or earnings can to be viewed by the courts as separate property, though the method of proving these exceptions is often complex, and usually necessitates the use of an attorney.

Along with child custody and spousal maintenance, concerns about the fate of assets gained both during and after the marriage lead to some of the most common questions asked in divorce proceedings. If you find that you and your spouse seem to be spiraling out of love rather than relishing the romance this Valentine’s Day, feel free to speak to any of our attorneys who will be happy to help answer all of your questions.