Doug Thayer is a shareholder at Durham Jones & Pinegar. I asked Doug what tips he might offer for an on-line post, and he turned the tables on me: would my blog have an adequate legal disclaimer? or approval from the firm’s advertising board? It is not easy to slip a legal issue past an experienced litigator. But I did get some free advice.
F. McKay Johnson, a shareholder at Durham Jones & Pinegar, presents on estate tax planning at the Utah Valley Estate Planning Council on March 5, 2014.
Robert S. (Rust) Tippett recently spoke at the 2014 UVU Business & Economic Forum, in a presentation on asset protection in Utah. Rust practices estate planning with Bennett Tueller Johnson & Deere, authors The Utah Law of Trusts & Estates: A Comprehensive Online Legal Reference Treatise, and helped draft the new statute for Utah’s improved asset protection trust.
Greg Matis, Senior Counsel at SelecthHealth and Intermountain Healthcare, recently presented at the Utah Valley Estate Planning Counsel in Provo, Utah, and covered the Affordable Care Act– with a James Bond twist. Like a good James Bond film, the Affordable Care Act is known for sex (contraception), drugs (Rx), and a well-dressed protagonists (see the bow tie?). His presentation was focused on practical considerations and objective analysis– as you would expect from a highly-trained field operative.
Fraser Nelson , executive director of the Community Foundation of Utah (pictured below) recently gave a presentation at the Utah Valley Estate Planning Council on non-profits, DAFs, and her foundation’s role in Utah. Special thanks to Fraser Nelson for her input on this diagram.
Sometimes, even Estate Planning attorneys go to court. The hearings I usually attend are very brief, and I observe hearings from other cases until mine comes up. Some people (who do not hire a lawyer) think that when their case first comes before a judge, they can explain the unfairness of it all, and have a chance at victory. Unfortunately, you can lose a lawsuit without ever even being invited to a hearing– so long as you ignore the proper paperwork. By the time the other side drags you into court, it is too late to talk about fairness or amounts you owe. At that point, they just want to ask about the equity in your home (and the Judge will help them). Do yourself a favor: if you get sued, pay attention to the early phases of the lawsuit.
The Utah Valley Estate Planning Council recently had an FBI agent give a presentation on local trends in white collar crime and fraud. Here are a few of his warning signs to look out for in any sales pitch or “opportunity.” Most of these are familiar, but the scammers keep winning in spite of the same red flags:
- The Scammer has no license to sell securities, insurance, or whatever he is selling (you can check most Utah licenses online here, and real estate professionals here)
- Licensed professionals (attorneys or CPAs) advise against it
- Promising a high rate of return
- Lack of financial documents and transparency
- Exploiting religion to gain trust
- Do not invest in mine tailings, foreign lottery tickets, or give someone cash just because they gave you a check that hasn’t cleared yet
- Do not pay anyone who says they are from the FBI and wants to charge you for investigating your recent losses
The word “and” is very similar (optically) to the word “arid.” Thus, it is easily miss-read by OCR software. And more to blame, often overlooked by a draftsman over-relying on copy/paste– and spell check will not flag it. This results in all sorts of “arid typos” in already dry legal documents. Check out this sampling of scorched legal phrases, listed in order of Google hits.
- “last will arid testament” (27,500)
- “landlord arid tenant” (5,940)
- “arid said property” (3,200)
- “books arid records” (1,250)
- “indemnify arid hold harmless” (260)
- “arid attorneys fees” (170)
- “cease arid desist” (159)
- “the receipt arid sufficiency of which” (60)
- “arid assignees” (43)
- “open arid notorious” (10)
- “covenants arid warranties” (5)
A power-of-attorney document let’s an agent carry out transactions on behalf of another. But this legal power ends when the person authorizing the agent dies. So the simple lesson here, is that this document can be useful, but it has a limited role, it doesn’t help at all after you’re gone (or turned into a zombie).