b
Life As Is

...it being understood that Seller and Seller's agents make no representations or warranties
pertaining to the fixtures or state of repair of the World or any of its systems.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004
  That Fine Line Between Information and Advice : I was talking with someone today (someone with no connection to the law school) about what I know of the tax consequences of selling a secondary residence. If it were a more difficult legal question I would not have ventured into the conversation, but I know this, so I was very tempted to spill my guts. DON'T WORRY, I didn't. I stayed well clear of giving out legal advice, and instead provided some very general information. Some readers may not understand why I had to hold back, but the fact of the matter is I'm not graduated, I can't practice law.

(Dear reader: test your knowledge. Why would a taxpayer prefer to sell a primary residence instead of a secondary residence, and what characteristics distinguish the latter from the former?)

I also included the standard disclaimer. Plus, because I'm a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy, during the our interaction I also sent up a few "I don't know" flags when in fact, I had a pretty good idea (J.--if you're reading this, I'm sorry!) and added: You'll have to be sure to ask your attorney about that part.

That, combined with the fact that the person with whom I was speaking knows darn well that I'm only a student and not an atty, was enough to cover me. Thank goodness I'm not an atty; if I was I wouldn't have time to post this because I'd be too busy scrambling to write the person a follow-up letter to clarify the fact that I haven't been retained as a result of our conversation.

What a mess. I am only half joking, now, in invoking the famous words that Uncle Ben uttered to Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spidey): "With great power comes great responsibility."
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