Friday, August 30, 2013

IRS Recognizes Same-Sex Marriages

In June, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.  As a direct result of that decision, the Internal Revenue Service has changed its policy to recognize same-sex marriages. 

Here is a link to a New York Times article detailing the change. 
IRS Recognizes Same-Sex Marriages

Friday, August 23, 2013

Low Numbers of Foreclosures in Hawaii

According to a recent report by CoreLogic, the number of completed foreclosures in the nation has dropped.  The most recent report shows that 397 foreclosures were completed in the month of June in our Hawaii.  This number gives Hawaii one of the lowest number of completed foreclosures in the nation, ranking in the bottom five.

National Foreclosure Report
Foreclosures Drop 20% Nationwide

At first glance, the low number of foreclosures in Hawaii may seem as if the housing market has recovered.  However, the foreclosure law passed in 2011 by the Hawaii State Legislature forced many non-judicial foreclosures to go through a judicial process.  A slowdown in the number of completed foreclosures in Hawaii may merely mean that cases are working their way through the judicial foreclosure process. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

How to Buy Foreclosure Property on Maui - Part I

Maui, like many other parts of the country, saw a significant reduction in economic activity after the Great Recession of 2009.  Although the economy is recovering, the housing market is still lagging and prices are much lower than they were before the downturn.  Many smart investors are buying on the dip in prices while calculating that the market will recover.  This series of blog posts will help you navigate the often confusing area of housing foreclosure and show you how to purchase property that is still within the foreclosure process.  Finding properties that are still within the foreclosure process can help diligent investors find lucrative investments at significantly reduced prices.  

In Hawaii, a foreclosure can be judicial or non-judicial.  A judicial foreclosure has oversight by the court and will go through a court process including a court hearing before the house is sold.  There are many statutory requirements for a non-judicial foreclosure and this process is only available in certain situations. 

As an investor, you should look for houses that are in judicial foreclosure.  There is no central database or clearing center that lists properties that are in foreclosure.  Although some websites list “foreclosed” or “REO” properties for sale, these houses are usually owned by banks who have possession of the house after the foreclosure process is complete.  Occasionally, the bank will offer the property at a reduced price but usually the price will be close to fair market value. 

To take advantage of significantly reduced foreclosure prices, you need to find properties that are still within the judicial foreclosure process and attend the actual auction. 

A property enters the judicial foreclosure process when a homeowner defaults on a loan and the lender files a lawsuit asking the court to auction the home to satisfy the debt owed.  Legal proceedings typically take a year or more.  When the court is ready to auction the property, a foreclosure commissioner is appointed to take possession of the property, conduct an auction and distribute the proceeds of the auction to those who are owed money. 

The commissioner will inspect the property, advertise the auction and hold open houses so that potential bidders can see the house and formulate a bidding price.  The commissioner will try to obtain the highest feasible price for the property in order to satisfy as much of the debt as possible. 

Hawaiian law requires that a Commissioner advertise an auction of a property three times in a newspaper of local circulation, thus giving the owner of the house and the general public notice that the property is to be sold.

In Part II of this Foreclosure Investment series, we will continue exploring how investors can find and take advantage of attractive foreclosure prices. 

Foreclosure law can be intricate and confusing.  Homeowners often hire an attorney to defend a foreclosure lawsuit.  Investors often also hire an attorney to help them purchase a property in foreclosure.  A local attorney experience in foreclosure law can represent you at an auction and bid for you, even if you are out of state.  

For an overview of Hawaii foreclosure law click on this link.  Hawaii Revised Statute Chapter 667 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Begin Estate Planning Today

One of the first steps to implementing an estate plan is to decide what you would like to do with your assets. If you are unsure of how to divide your estate, begin your research online by reading background information about wills, trusts and other estate planning and tax planning tools.

Dividing your assets is often just one part of estate planning.  Tax considerations and health care issues such as long-term illnesses or incapacity are also important.  If you anticipate that your spouse or an adult child will need specialized care in the near future or after you die, speak to an estate planning attorney about how your assets can help provide care and also about other important documents such as a health care directive.  

Financial planners and accountants often work closely with estate planning attorneys and may be willing to give you a referral to a lawyer who can help. If you need help determining how to plan for the future, call our office today for a free consultation to discuss the options available for your estate.

 This article is a good place to start learning about the basic elements of an estate plan. 

 Money Magazine Estate Planning Article

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Estate Planning and James Gandolfini

Estate planning is important for everyone and can save your heirs from losing a significant portion of their inheritance to the U.S. government in the form of taxes.  Here is a link to an interesting article about how much money James Gandolfini's (star of the televisions series Sopranos) heirs could have saved if he had planned properly for his estate.

Estate Planning Lessons From James Gandolfini