Newsletter

Two Adult Adoptions Lead to Uncertain Inheritance Outcomes

JANUARY 2, 2017 VOLUME 24 NUMBER 1 You probably know that it’s possible — though state laws vary quite a bit — to adopt an adult. But have you given any thought to what effect the adoption might have on inheritance rights? That’s the sort of problem that gets lawyers (and judges) excited. Two recent …

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Common law marriage

Common-Law Marriage, Divorce and Probate, All In One Case

DECEMBER 19, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 47 Here’s a question we hear frequently: how long does a couple have to live together in order to be considered married? The answer in Arizona: until the wedding ceremony. In other words, Arizona does not recognize “common-law” marriages. That strong, direct statement, however, masks a more complicated answer. …

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Doctor’s Report to California DMV Does Not Violate Privacy Rights

DECEMBER 5, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 45 You might have wondered about this from time to time — we have, too. If a patient really shouldn’t be driving, is his or her doctor really able to write to the Motor Vehicle Division to report the patient’s condition? Wouldn’t that be a violation of the patient’s …

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Deceased Trustee Not Liable for Punitive Damages in Kansas Case

NOVEMBER 21, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 44 When Alain Ellis died in 2007, she left about $2 million dollars in a trust. Her husband Harvey was the trustee of the trust, and entitled to receive all of the trust’s income. Upon his death the remaining trust assets would be distributed among her two sons and …

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Medicaid eligibility and joint account

Unreachable Joint Account Makes Applicant Ineligible for Medicaid

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 43 Paul (that’s not his real name) needed long-term care. His health and his mental capability had both declined, and he could no longer handle his personal affairs nor take care of himself. Paul’s assets included a car (titled in his and his daughter’s names) and three Bank of …

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Springing vs. Surviving Power of Attorney

Durable Powers of Attorney: “Springing” or “Surviving”?

NOVEMBER 7, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 42 For over four decades, Arizona law has permitted residents to create powers of attorney that continue to be valid even after the signer becomes incapacitated. That simple concept, once thought to be radical, has become widespread: all U.S. states now permit powers of attorney to be “durable.” To …

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Capacity, competency and injury

Undue Influence and Limited Capacity Do Not Necessarily Justify Conservatorship

OCTOBER 31, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 41 In our legal practice, we frequently deal with individuals with limited capacity. Sometimes we speak of them being “incapacitated” or “incompetent.” Sometimes they are “disabled,” or qualify as “vulnerable adults,” or are subject to “undue influence.” But each of those terms means something specific, and some variations even …

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Challenge to Will Leads to Further Problems for Stepson

OCTOBER 24, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 40 We often tell clients that they should think twice (or perhaps thrice) before challenging a will. It is difficult to prevail in a will contest, but there are also other problems. The will in question might have a provision that completely disinherits anyone challenging their reduced share. There …

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