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The Pivotal Law Blog

Case Law Update: The Perils of Buying a Car on eBay

Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Brown v. Best Auto Limited, the Court of Appeals recently addressed a case involving a used vehicle purchased from a Washington-based company off of eBay. In Brown, the Browns purchased a 2004 Mini Cooper from Best Auto Limited based on an eBay…

Seattle Adopts Criminal Background Check Ordinance

Posted Wednesday, July 3, 2013 by Ron Bueing

On June 10, 2013, the Seattle City Council adopted an ordinance significantly affecting the ability of businesses to use criminal background checks in screening applicants for employment. Mayor McGinn is expected to sign the ordinance, which will become…

Guardianship vs. Less-Restrictive Alternatives: Navigating Legal Options When Caring for an Incapacitated Loved One

Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 by Pivotal Law Group

When a loved one becomes incapacitated by sudden illness or an accident, the first question asked by a client is typically how to continue taking care of that person and their affairs. This concern is especially common in situations where an…

Case Law Update: “Exercise of Judgment” Instruction Affirmed for Medical Negligence Action

Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Fergen v. Sestero, (No. 30523-6-III) the Washington Court of Appeals, Division III reviewed the appropriateness of the “exercise of judgment” standard pattern jury instruction. In Fergen, Mr. Fergen presented to Dr. Sestero with an asymptomatic lump…

Recent IRS Cases Point Out Need for Charitable Contribution Documentation

Posted Monday, April 1, 2013 by Ron Bueing

As individuals prepare to file their 2012 federal income tax returns, it is extremely important to pay attention to obtaining the appropriate documentation for charitable contributions, especially if those contributions are significant. In two cases…

Estate Planning: It's Complicated, But Participation and Training Can Unlock the Mysteries

Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Michael A. Larson

Formed in the early 1940s, the Estate Planning Council of Seattle is a nationally-recognized coalition which holds quarterly meetings and hosts notable speakers on the latest estate planning news and practices. Members primarily include those who are…

How to Fund Your Revocable Living Trust

Posted Monday, March 11, 2013 by Pivotal Law Group

A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning tool for someone looking to avoid the probate of their assets. When done correctly, an RLT will effectively govern all of the testator’s assets upon death, allowing the assets to be passed onto the…

Case Law Update: Is Your Arbitration Clause Enforceable?

Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Gandee v. LDL Freedom Enterprises, the Washington Supreme Court was asked to determine whether an arbitration clause contained in a debt adjustment contract was enforceable. Arbitration clauses are routinely included in a variety of contracts, from…

How to Collect on a Judgment

Posted Friday, February 22, 2013 by Pivotal Law Group

After you obtain a judgment against someone in court, what can you do to collect on that judgment? There are many different ways to collect on a judgment. Under certain circumstances, you can have the court issue an order to seize and sell the property…

Case Law Update: Filing Documents in Court Under Seal

Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 by Christopher L. Thayer

In a recent Washington Supreme Court decision, Bennett v. Britton, et al, the Court sought to clarify the circumstances wherein documents filed with the court could be sealed. Article I, Section 10 of the Washington Constitution provides that, “Justice…

Can Your Beneficiaries Inherit Your Frequent Flier Miles?

Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 by Pivotal Law Group

What happens to your frequent flier miles when you die? You may not have given much thought to the question, but if you have miles worth thousands of dollars in your airline accounts, you may want to consider designating beneficiaries for these accounts…

Stock Sales: Buyers Beware

Posted Monday, January 28, 2013 by Michael A. Larson

A person must do their due diligence when buying a company, especially when the purchase is done through a stock sale. Generally, there are two ways to buy a company: one is through the purchase of the company’s stocks; the other is through the purchase…

Are You 70 or Older? Don't Forget to Take Your RMDs!

Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013 by Ron Bueing

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are the minimum amounts that a retirement plan account owner must withdraw annually, generally beginning in the year that a person turns 70 ½ and for each year thereafter. Failure to make the RMD can result in…

Why 2012 is the Perfect Time to Gift

Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

With the holiday season just around the corner, gifting is surely on everyone’s minds. For those in a position to make large gifts, 2012 is the year to do it. This is because the $5.12 million estate and gift tax exclusion amount may be reduced down to…

Does Washington Owe You an Estate Tax Refund?

Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 by Ron Bueing

In a reversal of lower court decisions, the Washington Supreme Court held that assets held in a qualified terminal interest property (QTIP) trust established prior to May 17, 2005 are not includable in the measure of the Washington Estate Tax, In re…

Sales Taxation of Photographers: The Business Side

Posted Monday, October 22, 2012 by Ron Bueing

As a follow on to my earlier blog post, I wanted to address the sale of photography services from a business as opposed to a consumer perspective. As noted in my earlier blog, sales of photography services, including creative fees, sitting fees and…

Is It Legal for Employers to Request Facebook Passwords from Job Applicants?

Posted Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

In the current digital age, many employers are asking job applicants to turn over their Facebook user IDs and passwords as part of the interviewing process. However, this increasing trend has sparked concerns of invasion of privacy, as Facebook pages…

Thinking of Cutting Down a Tree in Seattle? Think Twice!

Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 by Christopher L. Thayer

Many Seattle residents are not aware that the city has extensive regulations in place which relate to the cutting down of trees, even those located on private property within the City limits. There are two major sections in the Seattle Municipal Code…

"What Does the Washington Supreme Court's Ruling on Nonjudicial Foreclosures Mean for Me?"

Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 by Christopher L. Thayer

The Washington Supreme Court recently issued a ruling relating to the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (commonly referred to as “MERS”). MERS was established in the 1990s by a group of various public and private entities in the home loan…

What You Need to Know: Sales Taxation of Photography Services

Posted Thursday, August 16, 2012 by Ron Bueing

During a recent conversation, I was reminded of an area that routinely causes problems for small businesses in Washington - sales taxation of photography services. Especially in this area it is important for businesses to remember the old sales tax…

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not legal advice. This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice under any circumstances, nor should it be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. The information on this blog is a general statement of the law and may not be up to date, accurate or applicable to your specific circumstances. Prior success in litigation is not an indication of future results; each case is unique and past results cannot predict future outcomes.

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