Is a retirement community right for you?

A CCRC (short for “continuing care retirement community”) is a senior community where residents move between levels of care as they age. This means residents start living independently in their own apartment while taking advantage of the various recreational, dining, social and educational opportunities the community has to offer. As the aging process creates a need for more care, residents will transfer to assisted living and ultimately to skilled nursing or memory support. Many seniors find it appealing to settle into a community that guarantees a lifelong place to live, even as their care requirements change. But before making the…..

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Case reveals risk of using text messages as contract

A Florida court recently dismissed a lawsuit after a seller backed out of a real estate deal that had been committed to via email and text message. In Walsh v. Kimberly Abate, the buyer made a written offer to purchase a home for $3.1 million. The seller, through an agent, sent an email saying they’d only agree to $3.4 million. The buyer’s agent responded to the email saying the price was accepted with a quick close. At this point, the buyer’s agent asked the seller to counter the original offer and sign it, after which the buyers would sign. The…..

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High court to review statute of limitations on Quiet Title Act

The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to hear a case concerning the federal Quiet Title Act in its 2022-2023 term. The case, Wilkins v. United States, involves a 2018 quiet title action brought by Montana landowners against the federal government. The landowners argue that a roadway easement across their land, held by the federal government, should not provide public access to the road. A lower court ruled that the landowners filed their lawsuit too late. The court ruled that the 12-year statute of limitations was jurisdictional — meaning it’s outside the court’s power to hear the case and it cannot…..

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1031 tax deferrals under attack

The Biden administration is proposing limitations on 1031 exchanges as part of its 2023 budget. A 1031 exchange allows real estate investors to defer taxes when they rollover the proceeds from a sale into a “like-kind” property. That means, for example, an investor can sell an apartment building and invest those funds into a warehouse without paying any capital gains taxes on the initial sale. Under the proposal, investors would be limited to a $500,000 tax deferral ($1 million for married investors filing jointly) each year. Any gains above that would be recognized in the year of the exchange. The…..

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High-risk homes could lose flood insurance

The Biden administration has proposed an overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program. The proposal calls for denying coverage to commercial buildings and for homes in flood-prone areas. It also calls for dropping coverage for frequently flooded properties. Currently the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides most of the nation’s flood insurance, covering nearly 5 million properties. Critics say its premiums are discounted and do not reflect the actual flood risk. That effectively provides taxpayer subsidies, encouraging people to build in flood-prone areas, they say. It may also discourage people from investing in flood protection for their home. The Federal…..

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When a home sale will lead to capital gains

With home prices climbing, some sellers are concerned about capital gains taxes. If you bought your home more than 20 years ago and/or you live in a hot market, it’s possible your home value has increased to the point where capital gain taxes would kick in. Currently, if you sell your primary residence you can keep up to $250,000 in capital gains tax free. If you’re married, you can keep up to $500,000 in gains. Any significant improvements you’ve made on the home can decrease your tax calculations. For example, let’s say you purchased the home for $150,000. Over the…..

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Know the difference between ‘per stirpes’ and ‘per capita’

When making a will or designating beneficiaries, you can make bequests to your heirs on a “per stirpes” or “per capita” basis. Per capita (by head) means your gifts will be divided evenly among your surviving beneficiaries. But if one of your beneficiaries dies, a per stirpes (by branch) designation means their inheritance will be passed on to their heirs. Let’s assume you have two kids, John and Paul. John has one child and Paul has two. For easy math, let’s assume you have a $1 million estate. Per stirpes. In your will, you stipulate your estate should be distributed…..

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Are handwritten notes on a will enforceable?

This is a common scenario: Family members have a copy of a loved one’s will that’s been edited with handwritten scratch outs and addendums. Is it legal? Will a court enforce it? The answer is that it depends. First of all, it isn’t recommended to make handwritten notes on estate planning documents. Those notes can create a mess for heirs down the road. They can open the will to challenge and complicate the probate process. To make a legally enforceable change, you have two options: 1) Replace the prior will with an entirely new document, explicitly stating that all prior…..

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Handling guns in estate planning

If you’re a hunter, you enjoy recreational shooting, or have family heirloom guns in your collection, you should consider whether your estate plan includes adequate measures for passing on your guns. Without proper planning, your executor or beneficiaries could unintentionally break the law. The first thing to consider is who can legally inherit a firearm. Under the Gun Control Act, several categories of people are federally prohibited from owning guns, including felons and people with mental illnesses, dishonorable discharges, domestic violence convictions, and domestic restraining orders. It’s possible that you may not be aware of what’s going on in your…..

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Legal foundation takes aim at ‘home equity theft’

When a property owner falls behind on their taxes, it’s customary for local government to seize the property and sell it off to satisfy the debt. In most states, the local government keeps only the proceeds necessary to satisfy the debt and cover administrative fees, then returns any excess proceeds to the property owner. In a dozen states, however, governments can keep the entire sale price. It’s a windfall for the government and unfair to the homeowner who built up equity. Critics call it “home equity theft.” It’s not hard to see how the practice can lead to abuse. In…..

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The Spectrum Building
613 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 840
San Antonio, Texas 78216-5507

Phone: (210) 742-1410
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