Category Archives: Estate Planning

Estate Planning Involving Real Estate

One of my recent estate planning cases involved drafting a deed which conveyed over 500 acres into a revocable living trust. Drafting the deed was very complicated because I had to piece together the legal description from over ten separate deeds which this family had acquired over a period exceeding fifty years. What makes this case really interesting is that we cannot find a conveyance for a thirty acre parcel of land that lies smack in the middle of the entire contiguous parcel of land! Because of this it first looked like I would have to file a “quiet title” action on behalf of my clients to be sure they could pass good title to this thirty acre tract.

My experience in working with litigation involving “adverse possession” of real estate, however, provided me with a quick and easy solution. During my research of law in preparation for an upcoming trial involving adverse possession, I stumbled upon a comment that title insurers usually will not balk at insuring land which has clearly been owned by a party by adverse possession for over the statutory ten year period of time. In this case we are dealing with a thirty acres in the middle of 500 acres that has been owned by the same family for over fifty years. It is extremely unlikely anyone would ever claim title to that thirty acres at this point in time.

So, when you need competent legal help involving estate planning, trusts, and real estate, call Glenn Hall at the Hall Law Firm LLC.  Call 573-729-2229 to set up your free initial consultation.

Real Estate: Adverse Possession

Many Missouri land owners do not realize that they might be at risk of losing some of their precious land simply because they do not know or understand Missouri law. You may believe that you are simply being a good neighbor when you allow that neighbor to use your idle land for his own purposes, but beware! You need to know the law concerning adverse possession.

Any person can file a lawsuit against you to acquire legal title to YOUR land if he meets the following criteria:

  1. He has maintained actual possession of your land for ten years or more. This could simply mean that he was the one who mowed the grass on a particular parcel for ten years.
  2. He has maintained hostile possession of the subject real estate for more than ten years. Did he make it clear that he intended to exercise dominion over the land? Did he erect a fence around it. Did he act like he owned it. This does not mean that he has to threaten the legal owner. It simply means that he acts like he IS the owner for ten years or more.
  3. He must maintain open and notorious possession of the subject real estate for more than ten years. His possession or claim to possession cannot be hidden. His use of the land must be open to inspection. You have to be able to see or otherwise discern that he is in fact possessing your land and that he intends to do so.
  4. He must maintain exclusive possession of the subject real estate for more than ten years. This means that you or some other neighbor cannot be using the particular parcel of land for your own purposes. If you, for example, continue to use your own land, even though you allow another to use it too, you demonstrate that you have dominion over the land and another cannot wrench it from you via the legal means of adverse possession.
  5. The adverse possessor must maintain continuous possession of the subject real estate for more than ten years. Assume that you allowed your neighbor to use your land for five years, say from 1998 to 2003, and then you used the land again from 2003 to 2008. Now assume that your neighbor used the land again from 2008 to 2014 and the total time he used your land for both periods exceeds ten years. He cannot gain your land by adverse possession because he did not exercise dominion of your land for a continuous period of ten years or more.

Land owners, therefore, should always be cognizant of the boundaries and uses of their lands. Review your fence lines regularly. If you find someone using your land and it is okay with you, then draw up a simple lease agreement with that person that demonstrates that you still exercise dominion over it. Never remain silent when another person begins to dominate your own land. You may think you’re being a good neighbor. Ten years later he may show you that you have acted the fool!

Property Rights Bill Introduced After Va. Woman Threatened with Fines for Kids’ Birthday Party

“Local officials who abuse zoning authority powers to cower citizens into submission and deprive land owners of Constitutional rights in the enjoyment of their land must be subject to fines and actual damages they cause including attorney fees,” Delegate Bob Marshall noted in support of his HB 1219 recently introduced in the Virginia General Assembly.

Marshall introduced his bill in direct response to incidents precipitated by county officials who threatened Virginia citizen farmer Martha Boneta. Boneta gained national attention after she was cited and threatened with $5,000 per-day fines for hosting such ‘menacing activities’ as a birthday party for eight 10-year old girls without a permit and advertising pumpkin carvings. Virginians rallied at two “pitchfork protests” in support of Boneta.

Marshall said, “I am convinced this harassment will continue until local officials realize they can be held liable in the form of fines and other costs.” H.B. 1219 provides that local governments violating constitutional rights through zoning shall pay their victims (1) the amount of the fines they sought to impose, and (2) actual damages including attorney fees.  Local government officials who intentionally violate this law would also be liable.

Martha Boneta said, “I am confident that I would not have been bullied by my county government had this bill been in place earlier, and I ask all Virginians to contact their delegates and senators to support H.B. 1219, which protects all of us.”

There is long-time precedent for remedies against government officials who abuse their power to violate the rights of citizens. H.B. 1219’s remedies mean Virginians don’t need to go broke protecting their rights on their own property.

In addition to authorizing private citizens to files suits for damages, H.B. 1219 allows the Virginia Attorney General to intervene on behalf of victims. It also provides whistleblower protections for government employees who expose violations of this law.

– See more at: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/mark-fitzgibbons/property-rights-bill-introduced-after-va-woman-threatened-fines-kids#sthash.Hho3bOVc.VLORLDnY.dpuf

This is a very common sense approach to stop infringement upon citizen’s property rights. I suggest you urge your local Missouri Representative or Senator to sponsor and vote for similar legislation.

Know Your Rights

Police confront American citizens every day in a variety of ways.  It is important that every American know, understand, and exercise their constitutional rights. Click here for a quick summary of your rights and how to put them to use.

If you believe your constitutional rights have been violated by law enforcement in the State of Missouri then call Glenn Hall at the Hall Law Firm LLC for competent, professional help.

No Longer a Christian Nation

For more than 50 years the Supreme Court and other federal courts have been dismantling and destroying the foundations of our once great nation.  For most of our history our laws were based upon the solid canon of Old Testament laws. Now courts routinely declare Biblical laws upholding morality to be unconstitutional. Virtually no state legislature, nor Congress, can, for example, pass laws these days to prohibit abortions or homosexual marriage. We now live in a society where good, such as Biblical laws upholding traditional marriage, are considered evil, and where evil, such as laws allowing abortion on demand, are declared to be good.

When our leaders and highest institutions of law and government call good evil and evil good the people become confused and can longer repent of their sins and the evil deeds they find themselves doing. After all, our highest courts now declare many of those deeds to be good. How long will it be, for example, until pedophilia and child pornography are considered to be rights protected by the United States Constitution? It is for this reason that we see such pervasive lawlessness throughout our society today. No one is really safe from theft, murder, or violent sexual assault.

Today I received word of yet another federal court decision driving still another stake into the almost dead heart of America. Now a Christian cross cannot be erected at a veteran’s memorial. Read about it by clicking here.

Estate Planning

I took many classes in law school concerning estate planning and have never regretted it. Since I began practicing law in 1989 I have prepared many wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, beneficiary deeds, and other estate planning documents. Every family’s estate planning needs are unique and it is important that you speak to an estate planning professional who understands the probate system and how to draft original trusts to meet particular needs.

I recently drafted an irrevocable trust in order to safe guard the real estate of an elderly married couple. They wanted to be sure that certain children will inherit their real estate and that the conveyance  cannot be challenged by the other children who were not included in their estate plan.

Call Glenn Hall, Attorney at Law, 573-729-2229, for a free initial consultation concerning your estate planning needs.

Is Participating in Evil the “Price of Citizenship” in the US Now?

A justice on the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that a wedding photographer should have snapped photos of a homosexual ceremony, calling that obligation the “price of citizenship.” Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Elane Photography, released a press release late Thursday that included the words of Justice Richard C. Bosson.

In the ruling, Justice Bosson wrote that at times people “must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others” in what he called a “multicultural, pluralistic society.”

“Government-coerced expression is a feature of dictatorships that has no place in a free country,” ADF attorney Jordan Lorence says. “This decision is a blow to our client and every American’s right to live free.The court stated in its ruling that the couple has “to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.” Lorence interprets that to mean anti-discrimination laws in New Mexico can be used to discriminate against Christians.

“The discrimination laws simply cannot be applied in this manner to force people to present messages that they don’t agree with,” he tells OneNewsNow.

Lorence, Jordan (ADF)

“Decisions like this undermine the constitutionally protected freedoms of expression and conscience that we have all taken for granted,” the attorney continues. “America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs and not to be compelled by the government to express ideas and messages they decline to support.”

Elaine Huguenin and her husband refused a lesbian couple’s request to photograph their wedding in 2006. One of the women, Vanessa Willock, filed a complaint with the state’s Human Rights Commission, which ordered the photographer to pay approximately $6,600 for sexual orientation discrimination.

Lorence said ADF is considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to “right this wrong.”

ADF had already lost the case in a lower court before it was appealed to the New Mexico Supreme Court last August.

– See more at: http://onenewsnow.com//legal-courts/2013/08/22/religious-liberty-vs-a-little-compromise-nm-court-rules-for-compromise#.UheqPNJ4w_c

For another commentary on this type of decision by a judge see the article linked here.

Estate Planning

Glenn Hall of the Hall Law Firm LLC has been drafting estate planning documents for clients for over 23 years now. Glenn received his Juris Doctorate degree from Regent University in 1989. Until 1989 Regent University was named CBN University after its founder, Pat Robertson, and his very successful Christian Broadcasting Network. Since the law school was part of an active Christian ministry many courses were devoted to estate planning with a view to caring for one’s family and the ministries which had been instrumental in a person’s life. Glenn took every estate planning course offered while he attended law school there and hit the ground running, drafting revocable living trusts, private irrevocable trusts, and other complicated legal estate planning documents soon after passing the bar exam in 1989.

Today Glenn regularly prepares trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and beneficiary deeds for clients. Call Glenn today for a free consultation regarding your estate planning needs.