ARTICLES & NEWS

REAL ESTATE PLANNING ARTICLES

Beneficiary Deed Can Only be Used by a Natural Person

By Christopher Combs | December 3, 2023

Question: My mother is the trustee of her revocable living trust (“RLT”), with me as the sole beneficiary.  The only asset in the RLT is my mother’s Sun City home.  My mother wants to simplify things and record a beneficiary deed to me for her home, which beneficiary deed will not be effective until her death.  Can my mother, as the trustee of her RLT, execute a beneficiary deed to me? Answer:  No. The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that a beneficiary deed is only valid upon the death of a “natural person” who owned the real property.  238…

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After Father Deeds Home to Mother, the Mortgage Lender Cannot Require Payment of Entire Mortgage

By Christopher Combs | November 12, 2023

Question: Four years ago my mom and dad, who are in their 70s, bought a nice home in Wickenburg with a $420,000 mortgage. They recently separated for whatever reason, and my dad deeded the Wickenburg home to my mother. Although my mother is current on the mortgage payments, my mother is now worried that the mortgage lender will require payment of the entire $420,000 mortgage. Can the mortgage lender do that? Answer: Probably not. Although your mother’s mortgage probably has a “due on sale” clause, which requires that the entire mortgage be paid when there is any transfer of the…

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Without A Revocable Trust, A Probate Will Be Necessary

By Christopher Combs | September 11, 2022

Question: My wife and I have lived in California our entire lives. My wife recently passed away. Although I want to keep our home in California, I would like to buy a second home in North Phoenix. Should I buy the home in North Phoenix with some type of trust? Answer: Probably. You should contact an attorney who specializes in Trusts and Estates. In general, if an individual owns a home or other real property in two or more states, a revocable living trust should be considered. The reason is that, if your home or other real property in two…

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Short-Term Rentals and the Arizona Supreme Court

By Christopher Combs | August 12, 2022

Question: Although your Q&A column has said several times in the last few years that CC&Rs can be amended by an HOA community to prohibit short-term rentals, hasn’t the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that CC&Rs cannot be amended by an HOA community to prohibit short-term rentals? In other words, can or cannot CC&Rs be amended by an HOA community to prohibit short-term rentals? Answer:  An HOA community can amend CC&Rs to prohibit short-term rentals. Any amended CC&R to prohibit short-term rentals will definitely apply to future buyers of a home in that HOA community. The question is whether or not…

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Who Gets the Condo, the Husband or the Son?

By Christopher Combs | August 7, 2022

Question: In the winter months my husband and I live in our Scottsdale condominium. Our deed says “community property with right of survivorship.”  I have a son from my first marriage who is attending Arizona State University, and I want my son to have my interest in the Scottsdale condominium after I die. My will and my revocable living trust say that my son is my only beneficiary. When I die will my son inherit my interest in the Scottsdale condominium? My husband does not like my son so I cannot even discuss this issue with him. Answer:  No. If…

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Short-Term Rentals Can Adversely Affect Communities

By Christopher Combs | June 19, 2022

Question: Last week you discussed the comments of a happy owner of a short-term rental home in Peoria that was rented during the six weeks of the baseball spring training season. We are from South Dakota and are not familiar with short-term rentals. Why is there such a controversy about short-term rentals in Arizona? Answer: Prefatory comment: I am reminded of the great WWF wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, dressed in his famous kilt, yelling back at an angry, booing crowd, and saying, “Just when you think you know all the answers, I change the questions!” RIP Roddy. Arizona was the…

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History of Lead-Based Paint Must Be Disclosed

By Christopher Combs | June 5, 2022

Question: We are both retired and buying a home in south Scottsdale. The home was built in the 1960’s. We recently received from our real estate agent a pamphlet on Protecting Your Family From Lead-Based Paint and other information about lead-based paint (“LBP”). Now that we have this information on LBP, we have no idea what to do. Even our real estate agent didn’t know. He suggested to put the LBP information with our escrow file, which already has a summary of our CC&Rs, and some warranty documents. Is there something that we should do now that we have this…

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Is A Radon Gas Inspection Really Necessary?

By Christopher Combs | May 29, 2022

Question: We are buying a home in north Scottsdale and are in the 10-day inspection period. Our real estate agent is very detail-oriented. She has recommended a standard home inspection, a roof inspection, and a radon gas inspection. We have owned three homes in Nebraska, and have never heard of a radon gas inspection. Should we spend the money for a radon gas inspection? Answer: Yes. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, after tobacco smoking, in the United States. Radon gas is generally located in rocky, mountainous terrain. In any event, the cost of a radon…

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