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Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

Due to the nature of landlord-tenant relationships, it is not surprising that they can often become contentious. To prevent or address problems between landlords and their tenants, the federal government and many states have enacted laws which provide housing regulations. For example, the federal Fair Housing Act governs…

Parents of Injured Children and Recovery of Consortium Damages

Although “loss of consortium” damages are traditionally associated with spousal relationships, modern cases have extended the right to recover them to parent-child relationships. Referred to as “filial consortium damages,” these awards are intended to compensate the parent for the loss of affection, love and companionship that results from…

Use of Expert Witnesses in Litigation

Authorities suggest that “lay” witnesses may testify to conclusions drawn from their own observations, while an “expert” expresses an opinion based on special knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. The testimony of a civil engineer in a 1782 English case may be the first recorded use of expert…

Intrusion Upon Seclusion: Invasion of Privacy

A “tort” may generally be defined as an act deemed wrongful enough that one who suffers injury from it may bring a lawsuit to recover damages. Many torts have their origin in “common law,” which is the body of legal, historical principles and results from actual court cases,…

Effect of Marital Status on Federal Tax Filing Status

For federal income tax purposes, there are five tax “statuses:” single; head of household; married filing jointly; married filing separately; and qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. Status affects tax credits and deductions, and therefore also affects the amount of taxes owed. This article focuses on married persons filing…

Special Use Valuation for Certain Estate Properties

Although Congress passed legislation in 2001 incrementally increasing the amount exempt from federal estate tax over the next few years, with complete elimination of federal estate taxes in 2010, unless Congress acts affirmatively to make the repeal of estate taxes permanent, estate taxes will resume after 2010 at…

What is a Special Power of Appointment?

What is a Power of Appointment? A power of appointment is the power given by one person to another (referred to as the “holder” of the power of appointment) to designate who is to receive an asset. For example, if Husband creates a trust giving Daughter the power…

UNCITRAL’s Model Law and International Commercial Arbitration

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the primary entity within the United Nations overseeing international trade law. One of UNCITRAL’s primary goals has been to prepare or promote:   “the adoption of new international conventions, model laws and uniform laws and promoting the codification…

The Reciprocal Trust Doctrine Can Trap the Unwary

Estate planning attorneys utilize a number of different estate planning techniques to accomplish the goals of their clients and sometimes to minimize transfer taxes. One common estate planning technique is the transfer of assets into an irrevocable trust in a manner designed to remove the assets from the…