Can Retiree’s Checks Be Garnished?

By Christopher Combs | August 16, 2013

Question: I am a retired Marine Corps colonel living in Sun City with my wife of 47 years. Several years ago, our son and his wife wanted to borrow money for landscaping and a swimming pool in their backyard. We wanted our grandchildren to have a nice backyard, so we co-signed on the loan. Our son and his wife have now lost the home to foreclosure and have filed for bankruptcy. The lender has hired a collections attorney to hound us. This collections attorney says that the paychecks of federal employees, including military personnel, can be garnisheed to pay off a…


Adding Kids To Home’s Title May Be Unwise

By Christopher Combs | July 27, 2013

  Question: My husband and I have owned our home in Gilbert for more than 25 years. The home is free and clear. We are considering adding our two adult daughters to the title to our home, so that in the event of our deaths they could sell the home and use the sale proceeds to support their families. Good idea?   Answer: Bad idea! Children, even adult children, should never be added to the title of a home. The main reasons are, one, any current or future debts of the children — for example, credit- card debts — can become a…


Right of Survivorship: The ins and outs

By Christopher Combs | April 29, 2013

Question:I read your recent article, “Arizona Recognizes Wills from Canada.” You recommended that generally a husband and wife should own their home as community property with right of survivorship. The deed to our Chandler home, however, says joint tenants with right of survivorship. What is the difference? Answer: Since 1995, a husband and wife in Arizona can hold title to a home or other real property as community property with right of survivorship, or CPWROS. Two or more individuals, including a husband and wife, can hold title to a home or other real property as joint tenants with right of survivorship,…


Free rent to daughter not gift-tax issue

By Christopher Combs | March 23, 2013

   Question: Our daughter recently got divorced. We own a condominium in Surprise that we have used as a second home. We are now letting our daughter and her two children use this Surprise condominium rent-free. Do we have any gift-tax problems by letting our daughter live in this Surprise condominium rent-free?    Answer: Probably not. Although the annual fair rental value of this Surprise condominium is probably a gift to your daughter, there is an annual gift-tax exclusion of $26,000 for a husband and wife ($13,000 for a single person) to any individual such as your daughter. Therefore, unless…


Owner retains title under reverse mortgage

By Christopher Combs | March 16, 2013

  Question: My parents have owned their Glendale home for more than 20 years. They own their home free and clear. My parents now want to get a reverse mortgage on their home to get monthly payments from the mortgage lender in order to supplement their Social Security income. Upon their death, they want my brother and me to inherit the home. If my parents get a reverse mortgage, will my parents still own the home?   Answer: Yes. Reverse-mortgage financing is no different from any other financing of a home in that the borrower continues to own the home.…


The Benefits of Partioning Acres

By Christopher Combs | February 23, 2013

   Question: My mother and her two brothers own 3 acres of unimproved desert land in north Scottsdale worth approximately $450,000. They have owned this three acres since the 1920s when my grandfather purchased this land. The problem now is that the property taxes have become expensive, and because my mother is elderly and lives on a fixed income, the payment of her one-third of the property taxes is becoming more difficult every year. Her two brothers do not want to sell the three acres in this depressed market. Is there any way that my mother can require the sale…


Wife's OK Needed to Alter Her Right of Survivorship

By Christopher Combs | November 17, 2012

Question:  My husband and I own our Glendale home as community property with right of survivorship. We have been having marital problems and recently separated. I am still living in the home with the children, and I want us to get back together. My husband is very angry, however and told me that he has made a new will giving all of his assets to his parents. My understanding of community property with right of survivorship is that, if my husband dies before me, I will be the owner of our home. Am I correct? Or does my husband’s will…