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The Elder Law Answer Book: A New Resource For Practitioners

OCTOBER 16, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 16 If you have questions about elder law subjects, you may be interested in a new offering from Panel Publishers. The just-released Elder Law Answer Book provides answers to many common elder law questions. The new book is written by Robert Fleming, partner in the Tucson law firm of …

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Arizona Community Property Is Not Always Subject To Probate

OCTOBER 9, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 15 Arizona is one of nine “community property” states in the country, and that can be the source of some confusion about estate planning, taxes and property ownership rights for married couples. Recent changes in Arizona’s law make the “community property” designation a little more friendly and understandable, and …

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Conservator’s Self-Dealing Set Aside Despite Court Approval

OCTOBER 2, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 14 If an individual becomes incapacitated someone must take responsibility for his or her business affairs. That may mean the appointment of a conservator (in some states, “guardian of the estate”) by the court. Sometimes the individual will have had the foresight to establish a trust, or at least …

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Only Preponderance Of Evidence Required To Disinherit Killer

SEPTEMBER 25, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 13 David Pickett died in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in February, 1993. The cause of his death, as the New Hampshire Supreme Court later described it, was “the infliction of an incision wound to his neck by one or more unknown persons.” No one has been prosecuted for his murder, …

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“Inartfully Drafted” Will Leads To $500,000 Estate Tax Dispute

SEPTEMBER 18, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 12 Lawyers’ clients often complain about the language of the law—it seems unnecessarily strained and convoluted. Even as lawyers try to capture their meaning in more conversational tones, an occasional case will demonstrate the importance of precise language. Kenneth Starkey, whose will was written by his lawyer son, is …

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Florida Woman Chooses Own Lawyer In Guardianship Action

SEPTEMBER 11, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 11 When an individual becomes incapacitated, and is no longer able to handle their own finances or make medical or personal decisions, an interested person may file a petition with the local court for appointment of a guardian and/or conservator. In most states (including Arizona), the court will promptly …

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First Wife Receives Retirement Account As Required By Divorce

SEPTEMBER 4, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 10 Illinois residents James and Nancy Smithberg had been married for 33 years when they got divorced in 1996. Their divorce decree required James to name Nancy as beneficiary of his state retirement account death benefit, and Nancy in turn gave up her claims to other retirement accounts. The …

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Trust Under Jurisdiction Of One State Despite Ties To Another

AUGUST 28, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 9 With the growing popularity of living trusts and the mobility of the American public, the question often arises: which state court has jurisdiction over a trust dispute? Before trusts were common, disputes after the death of a property owner were handled in the courts of the state where …

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Long Term Care Industry Must Be Accountable, Says Advocate

AUGUST 21, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 8 By Patricia Nelson* I disagree with a recent Elder Law Issues assertion that higher reimbursement rates are automatically required to meet nursing home staffing needs (see More On DHHS/HCFA Report Of Nursing Home Staff Shortages). Before such conclusions can be made, I await Sen. Charles Grassley’s US Committee …

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“Common Law” Trust Provides No Shield Against Lawsuit

AUGUST 14, 2000 VOLUME 8, NUMBER 7 Nancy Bracken, an 82-year-old widow living in Tennessee, thought she had found an excellent investment for her life savings. Richard Earl, managing director of something called Financial Services Company, convinced her that she could make good money by helping to finance a treasure-hunting operation in Florida. Between July …

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