What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online

What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online

People in Australia are beginning to learn that it is quick, faster and safer sometimes to store wills and other important documents online. It is also very convenient, but you should note a few things before concluding on that idea. According to the experts, these factors are also significant before you even open an online wills account. 

Choosing online storage for your will and medical directives or records has notable benefits. You get to access it anywhere without carrying the storage devices around. As long as there is a Wi-Fi connection or any means of connecting to the internet, you can access them. However, before you jump right into it, note that this process has essential do’s and don’ts.

Before discussing the factors to consider when storing wills online, let us attempt to answer the question of the possibility of storing wills online.

Can wills or testaments be stored online?

In many Australian states and regions, executing a will requires providing a hard copy of that will. The only exception is Victoria, where a digital execution of a will is possible. In other regions, the executor must provide the original copy of the will or testament before applying for the probate or grant. But how does this process affect wills created using online platforms?

See Also: How to Store Wills Online Safely

Wills created online must be finalized by a physical signing by the testator/author and two witnesses. After writing the will online, you should get a PDF version sent to you, which you can print out and sign as instructed. Bear in mind that without the signing by two witnesses, the will is not yet valid. Also, the witnesses must be 18 years or older and be fully aware of what they are doing. These three signatories must sign each page of the will, especially the last one. 

However, note that the laws surrounding what is required and how we complete these processes can vary from one state to another. So, make all necessary findings to establish that you understand the specific laws pertaining to your state. After you meet all the requirements and append your signature, you will need to store both the original copy of the will or testament and copies of it in different places. Note that the original is the most important one.

Factors to note when storing wills online

  1. Try to have every important document in one place

The most straightforward rule when storing physical documents is to keep them all in a single place. If you have a little knowledge of how the online platform works, upload all your important documents and create single access for them using an encrypted key or password. An online storage platform can also be essential to thorough real estate planning, where your service provider usually has a storage system they offer clients. Visit https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/wills/make-will/will-and-document-storage to get more about wills online.

Moreover, you should also ensure that key stakeholders must be aware of whatever storage you choose. For instance, your executors, beneficiaries and other essential people directly affected by your passing are aware of your arrangements before time. As a result, in the case of your death, it will not be difficult to proceed with all necessary arrangements as you want them done. While online storage helps start the conversation, you should carry essential people. 

What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online
  1. Include all your digital assets

When you choose to store your will in an online safe, you should consider securing your digital asset in the same place. Not only will this choice help to organise and manage your purchases from a single platform, but you can also maintain a single online account for all critical documents without missing anything. In some cases, the testator can name someone who should have limited access to the storage after the death to establish trust for emergencies. 

In other cases, the rules are different for access and management. But whatever restrictions apply to what you are trying to do must be stated in your user agreement at the start of the process. Whether one or many, you should also include all the accounts in your real estate planning process. Otherwise, the assets may be lost or destroyed in the case of death. Then, don’t forget that if you have an executor who will be in charge of all the proceedings after your departure, he should have full access to all these accounts. 

What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online

In other words, you should give your executor and the trusted individual your password and additional login information. If there is a chance that you may forget your password or any of the essential details, you may want to keep them in a password manager. The tool supports all your passwords in a single place and is up to date.

  1. The Online space may not be for everyone

No matter the level of newness and competence that the online platform brings, not everyone will be comfortable putting a lot of such information online. In other words, there will always be the question of how secure the platform is and how accessible the information will be before you choose the online tool to keep your will and try to understand the security requirements. If you are not comfortable with keeping the will online, you don’t have to.

  1. Communication and Organization are vital

People can choose to keep their wills online or otherwise; the more important matter is organising your documents. Similarly, you should also communicate your specific wishes with your family and loved ones. Otherwise, people who are generally disorganised will let things get complicated, and it may defeat the purpose of creating the will online in the first place. Instead of waiting for life to happen, one can start to plan as soon as possible. 

Conclusion 

Finally, the decision to store wills online is a good one. However, experts have established that keeping the originals and copies of your will is crucial in the right places. While the original is needed at the will execution, you can safely keep copies of wills in a safe online platform. The original is recommended to be held at a secure location, including the equally important documents of life and properties. You can use a safety deposit box, but when you choose an online storage, ensure you also share the storage details with the executor. 

How to Store Wills Online Safely

How to Store Wills Online Safely

Creating wills online is an excellent choice for many, but the real deal is to ensure your Will is safely kept till the right time. Moreover, the world is increasingly getting digitized, which is why we should take advantage of the development. This article is a guide on how to make use of online storage for your Will without compromising its importance and value. At the same time, it will be accessible to your trusted person when the right time comes.

Why do you need to write your Will?

No matter how the sound of writing a will feels, it would help if you considered it all the same. Perhaps you are not also hearing it for the first time, but the cost of not writing an online will when one passes can e higher than the pain of putting one together. In some cases, one may be lucky to prepare ahead of time, which means that you cannot afford to ignore opportunities like this. Creating your Will is a crucial decision you can’t afford to defer to later. 

No matter the number of assets and the status you are in, no other person can do it precisely how you would have wanted it. A will or testament makes that possible, even if all you have to leave behind is a single estate. Your Will can also cover all kinds of assets, including financial assets such as stocks and bonds, landed properties, cars, jewelry, artwork, furniture, clothing, and many more. 

Related: Why do People Write Wills Online?

Instead of assuming they will all go to your spouse and children, the law says that whatever you wish happens to your assets, write it down and get it approved by the direction of the state and that of Australia. Instead of causing disagreements after your death, why not make everything as clear as day ahead of time and let there be peace? 

Meanwhile, while some people discard the idea because they don’t want to think about death, the same end has kept many other notable folks unaware. For instance, Tupac Shakur, the famous American rapper, died at 25 without a will to his name and left a mother. Martin Luther King Jnr and Abraham Lincoln died without creating a will or testament that states under the law who gets what and what they left behind. Learn more about wills and probate.

The death of a beloved one is enough stress; not making plans about how to ease their lives after your departure adds to that burden. Those closest to your should be able to quickly take over your affairs and manage your assets to maximum productivity and gain. Many issues, including arguments and court cases, trail the demise of such persons from anybody who wants to inherit those properties even if they don’t deserve it.

How to Store Wills Online Safely

Ways to store wills online or copies in physical locations

A simple thought when planning to save your Will securely is the method of keeping it alongside all other valuable documents. All the essential papers should be safely held where your loved one can access them after departure. In other words, you are not only planning to safe keep your Will, but you also want to keep other valuable documents together there. Stowing it away where no one can reach it may eventually do more harm than good. There should be one or two trusted persons who can access it when it comes. Wherever you choose to keep the original signed copy, ensure the place is safe, secure, fire-proof, and water-proof for such documents. 

While original papers can be stored in the way stated above, you should keep copies of your wills online and in the following places;

  1. Law firms

Surprisingly or not, law firms are one of the safest places to keep your essential documents after completing them. Depending on the robustness of your chosen law firm, they often offer a storage facility for the safe custody of whatever item is essential to you, such as your property papers and the Will. Moreover, you can also keep these legal documents there in possession of your attorney. 

  1.  Safe deposit facilities

There are at least two options when it comes to safe deposit facilities. They include;

  • Bank safe deposit

Apart from the law firm, another place you should quickly consider for the safekeeping of sensitive articles is the bank. Again, the bank offers a closely secure vault for your money, which could be a free or paid service. A paid service will involve having a dedicated safe deposit box to your name where you alone know the access code. Other banks may offer an extra layer of security, such as special packets for your assets at a token.

  • Other document storage services

Other privately owned storage services are a third alternative to storing your wills in banks or law firms. These companies safely keep whatever item is essential to you, maintaining ins safety deposit boxes that you could rent. In addition, you could rent these deposit boxes for a while to move things around or collect and store items. But ultimately, they also have a location where they keep all valuables. 

  1. Public Trustees

Public trustees are groups or associations offering their trust to secure assets to execute your Will safely. State and territory public trustees often provide storage services to citizens even if they do not offer a will-making service. You can find any of these services in the following places

  • Western Australia

The Western Australia region has the WA Public Trustee in the form of the WA Will Bank, which charges some fees. However, they only trust people who didn’t use their service to draft the Will. Otherwise, you are free to store a copy of your Will with them safely.

  • Victoria

In Victoria, you can find the Victorian Will Bank as the State trustee, and there you can store end-of-life documents. The charges are often billed per document saved, but if you nominate the State Trustees as the executors of the paper or hire them as attorneys, they can waive the charges.

  1. Probate Registries

For example, the Succession Act 2006 in New South Wales allows anyone to deposit their Will at the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court for safekeeping. Moreover, sections 51 to 53 of the same documents state the process of storing your Will even if you create it online. Similar techniques work for the other provinces. 

Conclusion

Whether you create your Will online or the traditional way, storing a copy of the original Will is non-negotiable. When it comes to storage, you should consider electronic ways for password protection or an encrypted USB drive that you can store safely. This method also works if you create the wills online. We recommend choosing Chamberlains as your trusted partner in creating a perfect choice in simple steps according to the laws of Australia.

Why do People Write Wills Online?

Why do People Write Wills Online?

A lot of people discard the idea of creating wills online because they fear the thought of death. But knowing that death is unavoidable, one should also do well to secure the lives of dependents, including spouses and children. Meanwhile, we encounter different types of wills, the urgent ones scribbled on paper before a medical procedure, and the wills created online. What validates a will is not precisely the means of making it but its satisfaction as a legal document. 

While some beneficiaries are surprised when they see the author’s will’s nature, they appreciate that the process is done. Moreover, you will prefer the former when you see that such wills like the online type do not require the tedious process of a traditional approach. Some people do not even believe it is possible to create will online without the physical assistance of an attorney. Yet, it is the best way to save costs and time and achieve results.

What is the best-case scenario?

After the demise of a testator, the validity of the original will makes it easy to probate it and disburse it to the beneficiaries. It is easy to find the location of all the beneficiaries of the will’s contents. It may also include the spouse, children, and other family members and friends. When you write wills online with the support of an attorney, you can also avoid some necessary pitfalls. On the other hand, a licensed attorney can add some measure of complications to the matter while it also costs you more and can take some time.

Why do People Write Wills Online?

What is the worst-case scenario?

Sometimes, the testator may make mistakes when executing the wills online. Let us quickly consider a few instances. What could invalidate a will or delay the process of its probation or execution?

  1. Non-self-proven will

It requires the signature of a testator or the author of the will to prove the will. In addition, there should be two witnesses and a notary public to help notarize the will. But if the will has not been notarized yet, it will take the presence of the witnesses. One of the witnesses must appear in court to testify to the proper execution of the will. As for the witnesses, each of them should be at least 14 years old, and the testator or author should also be 18 years old.

The testator should have a sound mind and be fully aware of what they are doing during the writing. There may be a few problems with this process. For once, when a will is not executed correctly, the testator is banking on the odds that the witnesses will outlive them. The other assumption is that witnesses can be located and willing to testify in a court regarding the execution of the will. 

  1. Original Will is missing

Sometimes, a missing will indicates that the document has been destroyed or revoked. Therefore, the alternative is to offer a copy of the will as probate. However, creating wills online removes the possibility that the original document could be missing. In the case of a formal will writing, there must first be an heirship preceding that attempts to establish who the authentic heir of the property is. Then the heir must receive a notification and a privilege to dispute the proposed copy of a will if necessary.

Why do People Write Wills Online?
  1. Using a holographic will

As in the case of traditional will preparation, a testator may decide to use a holographic will. A holographic will is created entirely in the handwriting of the testator. This pattern can be a reliable way of establishing the document’s validity, unlike adding only the author’s signature. However, it is hard to create holographic wills online, except certain factors are in place. 

Moreover, the holographic will also usually doesn’t have some aspects of a will. In addition, it requires that the witnesses that will testify in court have a good reason to identify, without doubt, the author’s handwriting. After identification, they must also be able to confirm that the holographic copy of the will matches what they know. 

  1. All parties’ agreement 

One of the crucial reasons anyone needs a will is to avoid disputes and disagreements between different parties when the will is initiated. When parties disagree over a will, it could lead to a messy can of worms. After successfully creating wills online, you also need to ensure that it is self-proven to ensure no one can dispute its validity. One of the common ways some parties can invalidate a will is to establish that the testator was not in the right mind to create a will.

If there is an indication that the testator was under any influence, then it affects the execution. Another way is to use an unknown child or debt by the testator or a lack of qualification. It may also be knowledge on the part of the author or testator. This process can lead to a prolonged probate period, leading from one disagreement to another. Anyone who creates wills online can avoid all the complications that make a terrible scenario during execution. 

Conclusion

Finally, the ability to build irrevocable trust is the essence of creating wills online. It is hard for many things to go wrong when you do it the right way. However, the testator subjects the people to unnecessary heartaches if a loophole in the testament makes it challenging to establish and execute the will. Also, the wills created online are as valid as the traditional wills as long as you choose the right firm to complete the process. At Chamberlain, even if you have an existing will, we will be willing to review it and give our professional input. Our goal remains to see your business thrive by every means possible while building trust with us so much that you won’t have to prove it in court anymore. 

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs

Below is an article written by a client of mine. It is his perspective on a difficult and arduous process on trying to get an EVCS plugin in his condominium. The article is very informative. Since he felt he had to move toward a threat of litigation to get the board to move on his request, I referred him to a different attorney. I don’t do court work anymore and most in my industry know that so there are times I need to help a client by referring them to someone who is capable, yet not offensively so.

Anyway, his journey is recounted below. He has power to an EVCS now. Pragmatic persistence generally pays off. And although the following post is much longer than I usually present, it is well worth the read. It is not to be taken as legal advice, it is written from the perspective of a layperson involved in the process of getting a reasonable response to a reasonable request. Sometimes the proverbial “glove” has to be thrown down to make a point.

Electric Vehicle Charging in Condominium Buildings

Background

Charging a plug-in hybrid or pure electric vehicle (EV) is best done at the location where the vehicle is regularly parked. For the owner of a residential unit in a multi-story condominium building, this would be at the unit’s designated parking space. However, often the designated parking space is some distance from the unit. In between the parking space and the unit may be Association common area or another owner’s separate interest.

In 2012, California added what is now Civil Code §4745 to the Davis-Stirling Act. Along with additions made to another part of Davis-Stirling (CC4600 (b)(3) (H&I)), this statute grants significant rights to condominium owners who wish to install an electric vehicle charging station (EVCS or “charging station”) for personal use. This is one of several actions that California has taken in recent years to promote the increased use of electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs

The Law

Briefly stated, CC4745 says that, provided the owner of a condominium unit:

  • has a “designated parking space, including, but not limited to, a deeded parking space, a parking space in an owner’s exclusive use common area, or a parking space that is specifically designated for use by a particular owner . . .” (CC4745 (a))
  • complies with the building permit and safety requirements of state, county and city authorities (CC4745 (c))
  • has the work done by a licensed contractor (CC4745 (f)(1)(B))
  • pays for the electricity that will be used (CC4745 (f)(1)(D) & (2)(C))
  • maintains certain liability insurance (CC4745 (f)(1)(C) & (3))
  • accepts responsibility for any damage done while installing, maintaining, repairing, replacing or removing the charging station (CC4745 (f)(2)(A))
  • agrees to pay the costs for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the charging station (CC4745 (f)(2)(B))
  • either removes the charging station prior to sale of the condominium unit or transfers all obligations for it to the new unit owner (CC4745 (f)(2) & (3))

then the Association may only impose restrictions—including architectural standards (CC4745 (f)(1)(A))—on the installation and use of a charging station within the owner’s designated parking space that:

“do not significantly increase the cost of the station or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance”  (CC4745 (b)(2)).

This law also grants rights to owners of residences within other forms of common interest developments (CIDs), and to the owners of commercial units within mixed-use projects. Another law allows tenants in CIDs some access to these rights (CC1947.6).  However, this blog article will focus on owners of residences in condominium projects.

What is needed to charge an electric vehicle (EV)?

Typically, home EV charging is done on a 240 or 208 volt circuit, similar to what is required for a clothes dryer.  Such a circuit adds to the range of an EV at the rate of 15-25 miles per charging hour and is well-suited for overnight charging. This is known as Level-2 charging.

While most cars can directly plug into a 240/208V power outlet, there are safety advantages to using a charging station instead. The power circuit is permanently connected to a charging station, and the station has a cable that can be easily connected to the car. Charging stations also have other useful functions that are described below. The rights granted to owners under CC4745 are only available if a charging station (EVCS) is used.

Some condominium buildings have installed one or several community charging stations that can be shared by the building’s residents.  CC4745 (h) & (i) contain provisions allowing and supporting this. However, EV owners who can afford the costs (typically several thousand dollars) will generally prefer a personal charging station at their designated parking space(s). That way, the charger is always available to them when needed, and the vehicle does not need to be moved each time charging has been completed.

Where does the electric power come from?

Condominium buildings will have one or several power feeds from PG&E.  These feeds are divided into individual residential services, one or more services for the common areas, and (if a mixed use building) services for the commercial units. If sufficient power is available, electric vehicle charging can be done using power from any of these services, or from new services created from these feeds.

The California Electric Code, section 220.87, specifies a method that can be used to determine how much unused power is available on an existing feeder or service. Essential to determining this is knowing what has been the peak amount of power drawn during the past 12 months. The smart meters now commonly installed by PG&E for billing on each service may be able to provide this information.

An owner wishing to install a charging station will want to take power from a nearby source in order to minimize the cost of conduit and wiring. However, if this power is not coming from the owner’s own residential service, then some provision will be needed to measure and rebill the owner for the power used. Finally, if currently unused power is not available from any feed or service, then a new feed will have to be brought into the building, likely an expensive project. To help with all of these decisions, the advice of a licensed contractor or engineer is essential.

Where must the charging station be placed?

CC4745 is mostly written in language suggesting that the charging station will be positioned within the owner’s designated parking space. Subdivision (g) clarifies this.  The charging station must go in the owner’s designated parking space unless either one of two conditions are met:

  • doing so is impossible, or
  • doing so is unreasonably expensive.

If either of these conditions are met, then CC4745 (g) says that the Association must enter into a license agreement with the owner for the use of the space in a common area. More on this topic in the illustrative case below.

The issues that Associations must figure out

As of yet, there is no case law resolving several questions that CC4745 raises. Associations need to be concerned:

  • that their building has more than just sufficient electrical power for the first owner or owners who want to install charging stations. The Association needs to be thinking about all of the owners who might eventually want to install a charging station. And eventually that may be all owners,
  • that there are planned paths for the large amount of conduit that might eventually result,
  • that responsibility for costs have been determined should a charging station or its conduit have to be temporarily removed or relocated to allow for essential building maintenance, and
  • that aesthetic issues are considered.

For now, it appears that these responsibilities have to be carried out with the Association imposing only restrictions that:

“do not significantly increase the cost of the station or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance.”

And CC4745 (b) includes a clear statement of California policy that will generally favor owners:

“. . . it is the policy of the state to promote, encourage, and remove obstacles to the use of electric vehicle charging stations.”

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs

The possible role of service companies

There are two companies I am aware of that offer Associations assistance in making common area power available for EV charging. They are ChargePoint and EverCharge, both of which provide information about their services on their websites. Each offers a charging station and supporting technology that:

  • measures and records the amount of power which a user’s vehicle has taken,
  • bills and collects from the user for the cost of this power, then uses these collected funds to reimburse the Association, and
  • monitors the total amount of power being consumed by all EV charging within a building at any point in time, and delays charging some vehicles if the maximum amount of building power would be exceeded.

While potentially useful to Associations in multi-story condominium buildings, the services of these companies are not inexpensive. And again, the law does not allow the Association to require owners to use a service that significantly increases an owner’s costs.

An Illustrative Case

I am a condominium owner who came to attorney Beth Grimm after applying to my Association to route power for a charging station from my residential power panel to my assigned garage parking spaces. My application had been rejected, as had been my subsequent appeal to the board. I had received a city building permit, and had also spent a non-productive year on an Association-appointed committee to evaluate EV charging solutions. The Association had offered me only alternative solutions that I felt were nonsensical or in violation of the electric code. Recognizing that this case was heading toward litigation (which Beth doesn’t handle), she referred me to another attorney.

About a year later, I was able to tell Beth what had happened. I now have a charging station, but only after a considerable and expensive legal adventure. My Association, upon learning that I was represented by an attorney, started work on a plan for EV charging using common area power. After a while, a first round of mediation was held, but settlement could not be reached.

Among other issues, I had requested placement of the charging station on a wall less than four feet behind my parking space and separated from it by what is unused common area. I did so because installing a post in my parking space to mount the charging station on would have cost hundreds of dollars more, and this electrical device would have been subject to being hit by a vehicle. When the Association specifically rejected this part of my application without offering alternatives, I went to my city’s planning department and got them to issue me an order not to put the charging station inside the parking space, primarily for safety reasons.

Eventually my attorney recommend that I file a lawsuit against the Association for its failure to comply with CC4745. Now, with the Association directors facing near-term document discovery demands and eventual depositions, they agreed to again mediate. Also, by now I had incurred tens of thousands of dollars of attorney, expert witness, and mediation costs.

This time a settlement was reached. I agreed to use the by-then almost completed common area power source that the HOA was installing, and that would be operated by ChargePoint. This even though both my installation and operating costs would be about twice what they would have been had I been allowed to use my own residential power. The mediator recognized that the city planning department order constituted “impossibility” and convinced the Association to stop opposing the requested location for the charging station. The Association’s insurer agreed to pay me what amounted to about 80% of my legal costs.

In this lengthy and expensive process, the Association made a series of decisions that I believe were not in the best interests of either party, but will now have to be lived with. This is, of course, my perspective on what happened. The Association might have a different view. But it illustrates why EV charging ought to be planned for by Associations, with appropriate technical and legal advice, prior to the first owners requesting that they be permitted to install charging stations as allowed by California law.

Other articles:
What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online
How to Store Wills Online Safely
Why do People Write Wills Online?

Smoking in Units Okay … Or Not?

Smoking in Units Okay … Or Not?

Well, first, I would like to say I am sorry about your predicament. I was a smoker once, many years ago, and wanted to protect my right to smoke  – in secret. I ignored the complaints of those around me because I was trying to do my best to “hide it” and was frustrated (with them) after my efforts like smoking outside the car while waiting to get the kids from school, etc. My kids still said “I smelled like cigarettes”. I was not a heavy smoker either, but my smoking had side effects that bothered nonsmokers. Now that I do not smoke, I get it – like sitting next to someone on an airplane who has just recently smoked and getting sick to my stomach – it’s the smell. There is no smoke involved.

The truth is that boards of HOAs are in a real predicament in situations like yours, caught between a rock and hard place, and so I have to weigh in in favor of smoking bans.  There are cases across the country that have allowed associations to ban smoking both inside and outside the condos, so yes, the board probably can move in that direction.

http://condolawguru.com/electric-vehicle-charging-stations-in-condos-and-hoas/

I recommend a less offensive amendment for consideration that allows smoking in units, so long as the smoke does not enter other units. If it does, its up to the smoker to take reasonable measures to prohibit the smoke from permeating the neighboring unit, and the person who is bothered to also take reasoanble means, like using air purification appliances, etc.

Smoking, the smell, and the negative health affects of second hand smoke are a nuisance. There is no two ways about it.

By the way, so is unreasonable noise (a nuisance), minus the negative health effects, unless of course the activity is so pervasive it causes one to lose sleep or suffer unusual stress. It is reasonable to report it, and unreasonable to use it as an excuse.

Other articles:
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Condos and HOAs
How to Store Wills Online Safely
Why do People Write Wills Online?

What Does It Take To Recall A Board Member of an HOA or Condo?

What Does It Take To Recall A Board Member of an HOA or Condo?

Is a board member acting irrationally, causing losses, harassing employees, contractors or members? Are any board members spending association funds without authorization?

Recalling one board member is harder than recalling all board members if the HOA or Condo has cumulative voting authorized by its bylaws. Some people get the wrong idea by reading the bylaws and seeing that Board action or membership action requires only a majority of a quorum  for approval.

Recall is different. It is driven by statutes in California, in the Corporations Code. If you are an unincorporated association then check the documents, but corporations which most HOAs and Condo association are would be governed by Corporations Code Section 7222. I have copied it below into this blog. Do not forget to look at (b((1). The formula is complicated but say there are 5 board members and you are trying to recall one. It is very hard, nearly impossible because a minority candidate can be elected by a minority of owners cumulating their votes and putting them all on one candidate. To get a board  member off the board the number of no votes needed is only be 1 more vote than it takes to get a minority candidate elected. Since failure to vote constitutes a “no” vote, i.e., against recall, and since HOA and Condo owners are notoriously apathetic, it is next to impossible to garner enough favor among the members to recall a board member. You could be looking at needing more than 80% to vote in favor for a successful recall (not likely to occur in most scenarios).

http://condolawguru.com/smoking-in-units-okay-or-not/

 Most assocition members have no idea who or what is on the board or what they are doing anyway which in many cases leadsw to failure to return the ballot. Even worse, if the election gets hot and heavy and the sides bombard the owners with negative press or letters, many owners hibernate or lash back with anger at the board and the owners who want to recall them – sending the message – “keep your dirty laundry to yourselves”.  Back in the day when a vote could be taken at a meeting, I have seen 5 brand new candidates step up and nominate themselves from the audience for a post recall election and get elected because everyone dragged out of their homes in disgust shunned the old board and the recall committee members. It’s not likely to happen today because of the complicated election rules and lack of sophistication in using them for any election, let alone a recall election, but owners still can get really angry and take it out on someone.

It is always better to try and get support for good leadership at election time, to get a sympathetic candidate election and in time improve the board. And if a board member is misbehaving, there are a number of things the majority of the board can do to “neutralize” him/her/them. Almost any course of action is better than recall as it completely disrupts the community. Think of the one situation where an HOA board spend thousands of the HOA budget dollars defending a recall effort with the help of the HOA attorney, only to resign en masse the day after the recall election. Talk about idocy! It’s a true story! Egos often trump good sense when a board gets a whiff of a festering recall effort.

If you want to know more about recalling a board member or the whole board, there is a Guide (Recall Guide) available on my website at www.condolawguru.com (in the webstore) that explains the whole ball of wax.  You can spend hundreds, maybe thousands getting an opinion from an attorney, or you can educate yourself for $50 – before you get in over your head. Besides the fact that the recall statutes are complicated – the California elections laws for HOAs and Condos really muck up the works! My “Guide” explains the ins and outs, and the whats, hows and whens of mounting a recall effort – or defending one. I did it for you!

Other articles:
What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online
Smoking in Units Okay … Or Not?
Why do People Write Wills Online?

What Do I Do When I am Really Mad at My HOA?

What Do I Do When I am Really Mad at My HOA?

I get many inquiries each week from people that are really mad at their HOA or Condo Boards. It might be about assessments, madcap spending, meanness or rudeness, unreasonable behavior, playing favories, directors doing things owners are not allowed to do (like breaking the rules). What  can an owner do?

1. Read up on things, go to seminars, and get educated. Visit my resource page for groups that offer seminars, and/or visit my webstore to check out the more than 35 publications and 3 great books available at very low cost. (Although as of today the credit card ordering is not working right so send an email if you want to order something and don’t want to use paypal, or send in a check an specify the items you want emailed or mailed.) You can “surf” the web for information, but consider the source. Check out resources at www.caionline.org – they have a publications store too, but careful, because few of their pubs are California oriented.

2. Get a consultation. Check out the parameters on the consultation page of my website. I do not know of any other California attorney that knows HOA law inside and out that will provide a cost effective telephone consultation to owners. The well versed attorneys for the most part will only represent and counsel association boards.

What not to do!

Do not act rashly. The squeaky wheel may get the grease in some instances but here, you will just be declared by the board a “disgruntled owner”.

Do not get abusive with anyone. People respond in like behavior.

Do not respond by breaking more rules or withholding assessments. This just gets you into more hot water and more frustration.

Do not raise a rucus. This just turns people against you and makes it harder to get allies when you need them.

What Do I Do When I am Really Mad at My HOA?

Do not threaten a lawsuit (unless you know you are right on your position and it is supported by law, you are prepated to push the board to meet in secret or hire an attorney, and you have the oveerall ultimate goal of selling your unit).

What I do is speak with owners and help them get their arms around the problems – and I equip owners with a pragmatic plan geared to resolve their problems and angst with the association. Solutions range from understanding how to approach the board, knowing what “buttons” to push and when, understanding any applicable law in your favor, or even how best to execute a reasonable and clean “exit” strategy.

Do not strike out blindly before you give yourself a chance to get some help from someone who knows the law, knows what kind of things happen, and knows how to solve problems and find solutions. I don’t like to “toot my own horm” but judging from real feedback from owner clients, many of whom have wasted a lot of money on non-HOA attorney legal advice, you will be glad you made the investment – which is small compared to the risk exposure of going blindly forward without knowing what you are doing.

Other articles:
What You Need to Know Before Storing Wills Online
How to Store Wills Online Safely
What Does It Take To Recall A Board Member of an HOA or Condo?