Time limit on asserting property rights

Assert your property rights, or lose them. That’s the takeaway from a recent decision from the California Court of Appeal. In the case of Johnson v. Little Rock Ranch, LLC, the appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that ordered a property owner to sell a portion of their land to an encroaching neighbor. The case illustrates the broad discretion courts have in determining how to resolve encroachment disputes and highlights the importance of maintaining and protecting one’s property boundaries. The California case centered around two adjoining parcels of land, a 677-acre northern parcel and a 210-acre southern parcel owned…..

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Judge halts ban on real estate ‘love letters’

Would-be homebuyers are still allowed to write personal letters to home sellers in Oregon. That’s after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against a law that bans them. In 2021, Oregon became the first state in the nation to ban homebuyers from writing so-called “love letters” to sellers as a way of improving their chances of being selected to buy a house. HB 2550 prohibited letters, photographs, and any written communication outside “customary documents.” Supporters of the law say that personal letters fuel housing discrimination because they can reveal a buyer’s race, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected class……

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Constitutionality of short-term rental restrictions in question

A judge in Tennessee recently ruled that a local restriction on short term rentals unconstitutional. Judge Robert E. Lee Davies of Sumner County concluded that the ordinance in question “does not promote the public interest as a whole. … Instead, it promotes some private owners’ interest over other private owners’ interest.” Further, the ordinance acts as an “unconstitutional infringement upon a property owner’s fundamental right to own, lease, and dispose of property in a lawful manner because it destroys the homeowner’s right to lease his property on a short-term basis,” the judge said. City officials maintain that there is a…..

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Making the most of restricted stock and RSUs

Restricted stock and restricted stock units (RSUs) are two alternative forms of employee compensation. They’re a way for a company to incentivize employees with equity in the company. Restricted stock is typically granted as a type of bonus or added compensation, using a vesting schedule. You receive partial ownership of the shares and may be entitled to voting rights and dividends before they vest. Until the stock is vested, however, you can’t sell it. If you leave the company before you vest, you lose your shares. RSUs on the other hand, give you stock once you meet vesting requirements. You…..

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Including life settlements in your estate plan

If you have a life insurance policy you no longer need, you may be able to sell it for significantly more than its cash surrender value (CSV). A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy to a third party. The sale can provide the policy holder with more than the CSV and even more than the premiums paid over the life of the policy. Life insurance settlement companies buy policies and then continue paying the premium with the expectation that they’ll collect the death benefit. That means these companies typically purchase policies from people who have life…..

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RMDs now required for death beneficiaries

If you inherited an IRA after January 1, 2020, you might be in for a surprise. Under proposed rules issued in February 2022, you might have to start withdrawing that money now. The shift comes as a shock for many. When the Secure Act passed in 2019, it required most death beneficiaries to fully withdraw retirement plan assets within a 10-year window. The expected interpretation was that someone could let that money grow for nine years and then withdraw the total sum in year 10. But it seems the IRS has interpreted that differently. Its proposed regulations create required minimum…..

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House passes Secure Act 2.0

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill designed to improve retirement savings. The Securing Strong Retirement Act of 2022, also called Secure Act 2.0, was approved with a bipartisan vote of 414-5. Next, the legislation heads to the Senate. However lawmakers there have a retirement reform package of their own. Analysts say there’s about a one-third overlap between the House and Senate bills. Both seek to raise the age for required minimum distributions, increase catch-up contributions, and assist employees in saving while paying student loans. The House bill builds on the first Secure Act, which was passed in 2019……

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Appealing a switch to ‘hospital observation status’

A federal court has ruled that hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who were switched from inpatient to observation status can appeal the decision, making it easier for them to receive coverage for subsequent nursing home care. The ruling appears to bring to an end more than a decade of litigation on behalf of Medicare recipients. Medicare covers nursing home stays entirely for the first 20 days, but only if the patient was first admitted to a hospital as an inpatient for at least three days. In part due to pressure from Medicare officials to reduce costly inpatient stays, hospitals often do not…..

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You may be overestimating your Social Security benefits

A pair of studies have found that workers overestimate how much they will receive in Social Security benefits when they retire. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that half of the workers surveyed did not know their benefit amount. The average overestimation of the benefit was $307 a month, more than one-quarter of the average forecasted benefit. However, the study found that as workers got older, they were more likely to understand their benefits and less likely to overestimate benefit amounts. Nationwide Retirement Institute’s annual Social Security survey also found that future retirees over age 50 expect to receive…..

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What it means to need ‘nursing home level of care’

When applying for Medicaid’s long-term care coverage, in addition to the strict income and asset limits, you must demonstrate that you need a level of care typically provided in a nursing home. Whether you are applying for nursing home coverage or through a Medicaid waiver program for coverage at home, you must meet the level-of-care requirement set by the state. Each state has its own criteria for determining if you meet the mandated standard. The state looks at an applicant’s functional, medical, and cognitive abilities to determine if care in a nursing home is called for. In general, you must…..

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