Articles by David B. Goldstein

The Feds and Your Family Business

Many of our clients operate their businesses through small, closely held entities in the forms of corporations or limited liability companies. The Federal Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”), a federal statute designed to prevent smaller companies from being used as vehicles to hide the spoils of illegal activities, launder money, evade taxes, fund terrorism, undermine the US democracy and influence its elections, will become effective January 1, 2024.

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Websites: Profits and Pitfalls

Because of the ubiquity of the internet, websites have become an increasingly important marketing tool for any businessperson. The website can advise a potential customer of the goods or services offered and even serve as the means for the customer to buy those goods and services. But the digital nature of the internet facilitates copying and unauthorized use by competitors.

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One of the Best Gifts – Peace of Mind

In this season of gift-giving, one of the best gifts a person can give to their family isn’t found under a tree or subject to physical transfer of a tangible item. Typically it is not wrapped in shiny, fancy packaging or tied up with a pretty ribbon.

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COVID-19: Legalities of Reopening Businesses

After a few months, the governors of various states have relaxed their stay-at-home orders in the wake of perceived hopeful trends in the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths due to the coronavirus. In Arizona Governor Ducey’s order was rescinded effective May 16, 2020, and businesses have begun to reopen subject to certain guidelines. But the risk of infection still remains, and as businesses restart their operations they face several legal challenges.

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Goal Setting and The Bucket List

More than seven and a half years ago I set a goal to complete a cycle of study of the 2,711 double-sided pages of the Babylonian Talmud, a compendium of Jewish law and lore capturing a tradition dating back to Moses at Sinai. Written in terse Hebrew and Aramaic, it is best not studied alone, even with the help of English translations. So I joined fellow learners in the Daf Yomi program (Daf = page; Yomi – daily).

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No Estate Plan or Will – A Horror Beyond Prince

Many of us are familiar with the ongoing battles over the estate of the late pop singer Prince, who died without an estate plan. People came out of the woodwork claiming to be a relative or child. The matter will be tied up in the courts for years draining the estate of much of its worth.

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Internet Libel

Think you can post anything you want on the Internet or on social media? Well, think again! The internet is not a safe haven for offensive speech, particularly when it defames and harms the reputation of a business or an individual. Individuals often try to escape exposure for defamation and libel by shielding themselves with a cloak of anonymity the Internet seems to provide.

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Changes to the Estate and Gift Tax

Last month we advised you about changes to the income tax that limited deductions for real estate taxes and interest on home equity loans. President Trump’s signing of the new tax bill not only affected income taxes but also significantly changed the federal estate tax laws.

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A New Slant on Trademark Law

In 2006, Simon Tam founded an Asian-American rock band in Portland, Oregon. He named the band “Slants”. In Mr. Tam’s words, “It actually sounds like a fun, 80s, New Wave-kind of band. And it’s a play on words. We can share our personal experiences about what it’s like being people of color—our own slant on life, if you will.

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Ripples of Kindness

With the Start of the New Year – secular that is – I want to share a true story of another new year.

On the Second day of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, in an Orthodox Synagogue, five men are called up to offer a blessing on the Torah reading for the day from the book of Genesis. In Hebrew this is called an “Aliyah,” related to the word for going up.

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New Laws That May Affect You

For several months my wife Carol and I were members of the wine club sponsored by the Baron Herzog wineries, one of the largest kosher wineries in the United States. Every quarter the winery would send us one of their choicer reserve wines plus a featured wine of another winery, such as a wonderful chardonnay from the Goose Bay Winery in New Zealand. Then suddenly the shipments stopped.

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The Not So Legal Holidays

Holidays are bookends to the summer. For many, Memorial Day starts the season of barbecues and beaches, vacations and road trips, and Labor Day ends it. The upcoming July 4th holiday punctuates the middle with fireworks and red, white and blue.

Looking for a way to define “Business Days” in a contract I was preparing for a client, I referenced Section 1-301 of the Arizona Revised Statutes to exclude from the definition all legal holidays under Arizona law. While doing so, I serendipitously found a listing of some not so legal holidays grouped together in the same chapter of Arizona Revised Statues that establishes the legal ones.

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No One Likes a Family Feud (If It’s Not a TV Show)

Prince could have minimized the chances of ugly scenes, lies and explosions by preparing and executing a well thought-out estate plan. And a well thought-out estate plan is not only for the rich and for those who need to minimize their estate-tax burden.

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OMG AT 2:00 A.M.

At some time or another, most business owners have awakened in a panic – or similar emotion – in the middle of the night thinking about:

• What might happen if I am unable to continue to run my business?

• What might happen if a key employee leaves my business?

• Is my business really saleable?

• What if I lose a key customer?

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The recent actions of the NFL regarding a horrendous domestic abuse incident have come under widespread critical scrutiny and condemnation. Domestic abuse is too nice a phrase for what was a criminal assault and battery of a woman by an NFL player who was her fiancee.

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Go Paperless – Do Good

A few years ago our firm made the decision to go paperless. (Yes we are lawyers and we have a fondness for paper and cannot completely eliminate it, but the advantages of going paperless were simply too compelling, so we have digitized all our files and systematized our access to them.)

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Yes, there is a topic in the law known as “Golf Law”. In fact the American Bar Association has published the second edition of “The Little Book of Golf Law” authored by John H. Minan, a lawyer, professor of law at the University of San Diego and an avid golfer.

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Some Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages

Over the last few years a reverse mortgage has come back into focus, for seniors and those who plan with them. In general, a reverse mortgage converts home equity into cash in several different ways, ranging from monthly payments to an equity line to one-time payouts — or a combination.

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Rolling Stone Trademark

Take a quick look at these images of tongues. Are they confusingly similar? Do they leave you with the same commercial impression?

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While litigation can resolve a dispute successfully, it may not always be the most cost effective or practical way to resolve the matter. Recently, a client had a dispute with another client of ours, and wanted to file a lawsuit against our other client.

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Gifts of Amazing Grace

As this month began, I lost my wonderful, vibrant mother who was 93 years young. Known to her friends in Sun Lakes, Arizona as “Amazing Grace”, she was active in her synagogue, and her community devoting time and effort to many worthy causes.

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On Being a Caregiver

On August 13, 2012, my wife Carol had successful hip-replacement surgery. She is doing quite well, grateful to her excellent doctor (Dr. Janet Whirlow, who also performed her knee surgery), and making excellent progress. During her hospital stay, her time at the rehabilitation facility, and her first weeks at home, I had to make sure she was getting appropriate medical and other attention, take care of our special-needs son Gideon, and attend to the needs of my law practice.

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Law School Graduates

I recently learned that I have something in common with both candidates for President-we all have the same legal alma mater, the Harvard Law School. President Obama graduated with a juris doctor degree in 1991; Mitt Romney with both a juris doctor and MBA degree in 1975.*

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Icann Says That You Can – the Next Big Internet Change

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is proceeding to add numerous internet extensions (generic top-level domains or “gTLDs”) to the well-known “.com”, “.org”, and “.edu” we have grown to know and love. Approximately 1,930 applications were submitted including truly generic names like “.city”, “.computer”, “.business”, and my personal favorite, “.beer.” But others such as “.ferrari”, “.google”, and “.hbo” in the wrong hands could pose a threat to established brands and dilute intellectual property rights. The application fee was steep – $185,000.

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Favorite Musicians

Arthel (Doc) Watson lost his eyesight as a toddler after an infection. He, nonetheless, was one of the greatest flat-picking guitarists ever to pick up the instrument. He was the first to adopt fiddle tunes for the guitar transforming it into a lead instrument. In the words of John Sebastian, the front man for the Lovin’ Spoonful, he played “… Clean as country water.”[1] But he didn’t record his debut album until he was 40.

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Noah’s Practice

I asked Noah if I could share a letter I sent to him with some tips that I’ve learned in my almost 40 years of practicing law. He said, “Why not?”

Dear Noah:

I am so proud that you decided to open your own law office. Having worked for others and worked for myself, I can tell you that the latter is far more rewarding.

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Property Tax Information

County assessors throughout Arizona are mailing annual notices of tax valuation to all property owners over the next two months. You should examine yours carefully to make sure the assessment is accurate. If you are not happy with the value, you have a limited time to appeal. You must file the appeal within 60 days after the card was mailed. Having your property value reexamined could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year.

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Arizona’s Centennial

Eight years ago, in honor of Arizona Statehood Day, which is also Valentine’s Day, I wrote a letter to my friends and clients about why Arizona is a great state and in particular a great state in which to practice law. In honor of Arizona’s centennial, I thought that reviewing the letter to see if Arizona’s greatness as a state and as a place to practice law was still true. And it is.

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Facebook in my Will?

Estate planning traditionally concerns itself with insuring that a client’s wishes regarding the disposition of his or her property upon death are followed. A good estate plan also includes tools to deal with the client’s incapacity or inability to make health-care decisions. In addition to a will, and perhaps a living trust agreement, the plan should contain durable powers of attorney, health-care powers of attorney, and a living will.

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Don’t be an April’s Fool

Although the internet has provided us with a convenient way to communicate and an instantaneous portal to information, it has also exposed us to scammers who use its power to try to separate us from our hard-earned money or phishers looking for our personal information. Recent breaches of security of companies with large storehouses of information have made us even more exposed. Even lawyers are not immune.

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Mortgage debt forgiveness: Are you liable for phantom income?

Losing one’s home in a lender’s foreclosure is a traumatic event for any family. Unfortunately, the IRS can add to a family’s financial hardship by assessing a “phantom income” against a taxpayer for the amount of the foreclosure debt forgiven. However, knowledge and proper application of the law can help you reduce your tax burden.

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You Can Get Credit After Filing Bankruptcy

Traditionally, filing bankruptcy was viewed as an option reserved only for those in the direst financial straits. There was a stigma attached to the option similar to the stigma associated with divorce.

Recent economic challenges facing the country have eroded much of the social stigma associated with bankruptcy. Now, bankruptcy is utilized by many as a strategic financial planning tool. Bankruptcy is a practical and accessible solution giving honest debtors relief and a second chance at financial autonomy.

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Musical Instrument Museum

Some of you may not know it, but I am somewhat of a musician (emphasis on the word, “somewhat”). I’ve played guitar since sixth grade and along the way, have played other string instruments: violin, the five-string banjo and mandolin. Mandolin was easy comparatively; the left hand is like the fingering of a violin and the right hand is like a guitar.

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All Walks of Life

I recently saw a statistic, which as a Phoenix Suns fan jumped out at me. Eighteen percent of all players in the National Basketball Association are foreign-born.

When walking the halls and past the offices of our attorneys, don’t be surprised if you momentarily think you are sitting at a café in Paris or a pub in London. That’s because at Hymson Goldstein & Pantiliat, it’s not uncommon to hear our attorneys conversing and working in English, Russian, Spanish, French and Hebrew.

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Bankruptcy? I’m too rich – and too poor

The March rains swelled the Salt River, testing the capacity of the Tempe Town Lake so the floodwaters spilled down the Salt River bottom making it perfect for Farmley Bigbucks to jump off the Mill Avenue Bridge and end it all. He was so under water on his properties that this was only too fitting.

Luckily Officer Shaymus saw Farmley and quickly got out his squad car to try to talk him out of an irreversible decision.

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Speaking Engagements

Is it any surprise that lawyers love to talk? Perhaps that is why our nickname in all the gangster movies is “mouthpiece”. We have many lawyers who not only love to talk, but do it well, about topics of interest in an entertaining and engaging manner. We would welcome the opportunity to schedule a talk to one of the groups, associations or organizations with which you are affiliated.

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Mortgage Mess

Many Arizonans have taken a beating in loan defaults, foreclosures and bankruptcies. For those people there is a value in closing an unpleasant chapter and opening a fresh page on which to write a better story. We have been gratified in providing clarity and planning for a better day. After all, first and foremost, Our Business Is Your Peace of Mind®.

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Thoughts for Tough Times

Through hard work and divine grace, we were able after seven years to re-pay the dissolved firm’s principal creditors dollar for dollar. My experience during those tough times is one of the reasons why I have empathy for all those facing trying times now.

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