Hunt & Associates P.C.

Aug 3, 2017

Estate Planning Issues for Married Couples

Elderly coupleAmong the more common estate plans for married couples is what is sometimes referred to as a sweetheart estate plan.  Such a plan provides for the entirety of the deceased spouse’s estate to pass to the surviving spouse; on the death of the surviving spouse, whatever remains will pass to the couple’s children or other designated heirs.  Mutual reciprocal wills can be used to accomplish this intent.  Of course, on the death of the surviving … Read more

Jul 18, 2017

Standalone Retirement Trusts and Estate Planning

Piggy bankIn a recent blog, we discussed the advantages of incorporating your retirement plan (i.e., pension plans, 401(k) plans, employer established IRA plans, etc.) into your overall estate plan. As we discussed, this can be a complex matter because the tax advantages which are accorded to retirement accounts are generally not extended to heirs or designated beneficiaries once the retirement account owner has died.

By way of summary, we have identified three goals you may … Read more

Jun 12, 2017

Retirement Plans and Estate Planning

RetirementRetirement plans (i.e., pension plans, 401(k) plans, employer established IRA plans, etc.)  account for the majority of assets held by most Americans.  Plans which meet certain legal requirements set forth under the federal ERISA law enjoy favorable tax treatment in order to promote growth and provide a comfortable retirement for the account holder.  For example, the account holder is permitted to defer taking any distributions from his/her retirement account until the calendar year in which … Read more

May 10, 2017

Law, Logic and Experience

SidewalkMore than a century ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, “the life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”   I wonder what Justice Holmes would think of the matter these days when cases come down the pike which seem to run counter to both logic and experience.

For a case in point, consider a report from the Oregonian recently describing how a lawsuit against Washington County for the drowning deaths of four … Read more

Apr 26, 2017

Flying Hotdogs: An Exception to the Baseball Rule

hot-33810_1280If you have ever attended a professional baseball game, you know that the fun includes trying to snag a foul ball which makes its way into the stands. Unfortunately, one fan’s fun can be another fan’s peril.  Every so often, some unsuspecting spectator gets clunked by a foul ball traveling at a speed in excess of 90 mph.  Ouch.  Is a baseball team and/or its stadium operator liable for such injuries?  The answer, almost always, … Read more

Apr 3, 2017

Are Cab Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors? It All Depends…

Taxi cabA recent decision from our federal appeals court ruled that drivers of the Yellow Cab Company in Phoenix, Arizona are not employees of the cab company but, instead, are independent contractors who are not entitled to the minimum wages required by either Arizona law or the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)[1].  The decision was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirming a trial court decision issued by … Read more

Mar 13, 2017

Another Stab at Cargo Preference for the U.S. Merchant Marine

Cargo ShipThere are approximately 50,000 merchant ships engaged in international trade, transporting every kind of cargo.[1]  Fewer than 200 of those ships fly the American flag.[2]  What is left of the U.S. merchant marine is heavily dependent on cargo preference laws; i.e., federal statutes which mandate that shippers transport certain cargos on U.S. flag vessels.  For example, any military cargo shipped by sea must be carried in a U.S. flag ship.  Other laws mandate … Read more

Mar 8, 2017

Guardianships in Oregon: What Reforms are Needed?

Training - 030817The Oregon legislature is considering making changes to guardianship proceedings which would include uniform policies throughout the state with respect to court appointed visitors.  The visitor occupies an important place in a guardianship proceeding.  The visitor’s job is to interview and evaluate the respondent (i.e., the person who is alleged to be in need of a guardian) and then report back to the court with a recommendation whether or not to appoint a guardian. Judges … Read more

Feb 27, 2017

Executor of Estate Found Personally Liable to IRS for Decedent’s Unpaid Taxes

Gold dollar signsBenjamin Franklin once observed “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  For those who doubt Franklin’s sagacity in that regard, consider the recent case of Marci McNicol.  A federal court found her personally liable to the Internal Revenue Services to the tune of $125,000.00 with respect to taxes owed by her late husband.  Here’s what happened.

On his death, in addition to their four minor children, McNicol’s husband … Read more

Feb 20, 2017

Oaths and Oath Breaking

Barack Obama Oath“When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t  hope to find himself again.”

 Paul Scofield, as Sir Thomas More, in A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Once upon a time, an oath taken by a public official meant something, consequences notwithstanding, as dramatized in the Hollywood classic movie of more than 50 years ago, A Man for Read more