Tax Lawyer Wichita

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                                                                                                                     April 2009
 Inside this issue:

                                                                Real Estate Tax Appeals
 Real Estate Tax          1

 Litigation—What Is 2                                      Notices mailed late March—30 days to appeal
 the Goal?
                                         If you haven’t already, you will soon re-       file an appeal. Trial before the Court of
 Save the Date!—          3
                                         ceive your tax valuations for real estate       Tax Appeals is conducted in a manner
 Update on Recent
 Changes in Real                         from the County Appraiser’s Office. The         consistent with rules governing any other
 Estate Law                              mailing of this notice starts the clock run-    trial.
                                         ning to challenge the valuation of prop-
 Local Real Estate        3
                                         erty.                                           Brad Stout of our office represents com-
 Economy-What                                                                            mercial property owners in these types of
 We’re Seeing
                                         There are two ways to challenge the tax         tax appeals. Brad has handled tax chal-
 Adams Jones News 4                      valuation of property. One is by appeal-        lenges for a variety of commercial proper-
                                         ing the valuation im-                           ties, including: office buildings, shopping
                                         mediately. You must                             centers, movie theatres, and oil and gas
Special Points of Interest:              contact your county                             leaseholds. He brings two special talents
                                         appraiser within 30                             to tax appeals: he’s an experienced trial
   Phil Bowman Receives
                                         days from the date                              lawyer and has spent over 15 years work-
     Recognition     as       the
                                         the notice of value was mailed. The other       ing with property valuations in condemna-
                                         way to challenge your property valuation        tion proceedings throughout the state.
                                         is to file a protest at the time you pay the
                                         taxes. You can do one or the other, but         Our representation of property owners is
                                         cannot do both.                                 done on either our hourly rate or a contin-
                                                                                         gency fee basis. In the latter, our fee is
                                         After the appeal or protest has been            based on the savings to you. Brad adds
                                         made, the next step will be an informal         additional value because he handles the
                                         meeting with a representative of the county     appeal at both the local level and serves
     “Wichita Real Estate                appraiser’s office. You need more of an         as your attorney if an appeal is taken be-
     Lawyer of the Year”                 argument than “My taxes are too high.”          fore the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals.
     by Best Lawyers in                  An appraisal helps, demonstrating the
     America                             valuations of comparable properties.            If you are considering
                                         Other arguments can be made, depending          appealing your taxes this
   Deadline Approaching
                                         on the type of property, its use, and the       year, contact Brad at
     to File Real Estate
                                         basis for the county’s valuation. If you are,
     Appraisal Appeals
                                         dissatisfied with the results of the informal   at (316) 265-8591, or
   Mark Your Calendars                                                                 by contacting his assis-
                                         meeting, your next step is to appeal to the
     Now for Annual Real                                                                 tant, Jamie, at the same
                                         Kansas Court of Tax Appeals. You have                                          Brad Stout
     Estate Seminar Set for                                                              number.
                                         30 days from the date the county mails
     Tuesday, June 2
                                         your notice of informal meeting results to
Page 2                                                                                                                  Legal Insight

                                                                                            They can come up with creative propos-
                         Litigation—What Is the Goal?                                       als that are simply not available to a jury
                                                By Monte Vines                              or a judge. And they can reach a settle-
                                                                                            ment at any stage of the dispute—
                        This is the first of   Legal disputes often involve parties in a    whether late in the process like just be-
                        a series of short      relationship, like a customer and sup-       fore trial, early in the case, or even be-
                        articles on litiga-    plier, business partners, a lender and       fore a lawsuit is filed. Because settle-
                        tion—handling          borrower, or relatives. What would the       ments avoid going through trial, and can
legal disputes. Some people and com-           effect on such a relationship be if your     sometimes avoid court procedures en-
panies see the prospect of litigation as a     dispute was resolved only after going        tirely, they can be much less expensive
nightmare—an expensive, unproduc-              through the entire court process and         than going to trial.
tive, waste of time and resources involv-      getting a judgment in your favor adopt-
ing an adversary intent on taking unfair       ing your view of the parties’ rights and     In a trial the parties lose all control of the
advantage of a situation, and a court          obligations? That is usually a recipe for    outcome and it is completely in the hands
system they don’t have confidence in to        the end of that relationship, or for last-   of a jury or judge. Even when the jurors
reach the correct result. Unfortunately,       ing damage to it. And consider the           or the judge do their best, they will never
there are well-publicized examples of          effect on the relationship if the judgment   know as much about your situation, your
nightmare litigation that fuel such fears.     is not in your favor? It would probably      company, or the circumstances as you
But litigation does not have to be a           be the same, so you would have lost the      do. And regardless of how good a case
nightmare.                                     relationship and the case.                   you think you have, the outcome you
                                                                                            want is never a sure thing.
What Is Your Goal?                             Few Cases Go To Trial
Let’s begin with the end in mind. If you       Court statistics show that over 95% of       An Acceptable Resolution
have a dispute with another person or          civil cases get resolved without a trial.    So, for most people and most companies,
company involving legal rights and ob-         Sometimes the defendant fails to get         in most disputes, the right goal for litiga-
ligations, what is your goal? Many             involved and defend the case, and a          tion is to find an acceptable resolution,
people would immediately say their             default judgment is entered against him.     and to find it as quickly as possible with
goal is to win! Winning in litigation is       Many debt collection cases go this           the least expense possible. Reaching that
having your view of the parties’ rights        route. In some cases there is a legal        goal is much easier said than done!
and obligations accepted as the correct        defect, such as a statute of limitations     Sometimes the only way to an acceptable
view and enforced by a court, usually          that has expired or the law simply does      resolution is through a trial. But the goal
with the court entering a judgment in          not support the claim. In those cases        is much easier to achieve when you have
your favor after a trial.                      the court can terminate the lawsuit with-    set that goal at the outset and you and
                                               out the need for a trial, such as by a       your lawyer are in agreement on that
Although winning a legal dispute in that       summary judgment. Most other cases           goal. In later articles I will discuss what
way is sometimes the only reasonable           are eventually resolved by a settlement.     you and your lawyer can do to achieve
goal, in most situations it is not the right                                                that goal, and will provide some options
goal. For most people and companies            Resolution by settlement can have sev-       for acceptable resolutions. And I will
who find themselves in a legal dispute         eral big advantages compared to going        present “the anatomy of a lawsuit” to
the goal should be to get the dispute          to trial. Because all parties must agree     facilitate an understanding of the litiga-
resolved in an acceptable way. An              to a settlement, they are able to control    tion process.
unresolved legal dispute can be a big          any resolution that is reached. They
                                                                                            Direct your comments or questions on this
burden on a person’s well-being and a          can make sure any settlement is worka-
                                                                                            article to Monte at
serious obstacle to conducting a busi-         ble for them and accomplishes what
                                                                                            or (316) 265-8591.
ness profitably.                               they consider to be an acceptable result.

                   Real Estate                 ●                  Business                  ●                 Estates
  April 2009                                                                                                                  Page 3

                          SAVE THE DATE!
               Update on Recent Changes in Real Estate Law
                2009 Kansas Legislation & Recent Case Law
   Adams Jones will present a complimentary breakfast and annual up-
   date for its clients and friends on Tuesday, June 2, from 7:30-9:00
   am at the Courtyard by Marriott-Wichita at Old Town to summarize
   the recent changes to Kansas real estate law.

   Attorneys from the firm will offer short presentations of the most sig-
   nificant changes in the law, including the current legislative session. The firm’s 2009 booklet “Recent
   Changes in Real Estate Law in Kansas” will be provided to all attendees.

   This update should be of interest to property owners, developers, realtors, business owners, contractors and
   suppliers, landlords, tenants, lenders, title insurers and anyone interested in the real estate industry. Further
   information will be mailed soon. Seating is limited. Mark your calendar now to attend!

Local Real Estate Economy-What We’re Seeing
—Tips for Dealing With Troubled Properties

Since the first of the year our office     Here are some tips if the parties seek                the lender/landlord agrees,
has begun seeing cases which reflect       a workout:                                            sometimes the delinquent amount
changes in the commercial real estate                                                            can be carved out and retired
                                              Read the documents: the note,
market caused by the national eco-                                                               with a separate amortization
                                                mortgage or lease. Make sure
nomic downturn. For the first time in                                                            schedule while ongoing payments
                                                you don’t make things worse by
years, commercial loan and lease                                                                 are kept current.
                                                not following the terms of the ex-
defaults are on the rise.
                                                isting agreement.                              Try to improve your position in the
The climate often seems to reflect a                                                             workout. Add additional terms to
                                              Monitor the property. Assure the
desire to first seek a workout and                                                               the deal, such as tighter default
                                                borrower/tenant is properly car-
hope to avoid foreclosure or eviction.                                                           language, additional points at the
                                                ing for the property, performing
Generally, lenders don’t want to hold                                                            back end of the deal, etc.
                                                needed maintenance, and carry-
foreclosed property and landlords
                                                ing required insurance.                        Don’t ignore the problem. Start
don’t want to take back vacant space.
                                                                                                 before the debt gets
But this cooperative climate is usually       Monitor payment of real estate
                                                                                                 too large or other
possible only if the borrower/tenant            taxes. If unpaid taxes get too
                                                                                                 creditors become
continues making payments at some               large, a workout may not be pos-
                                                                                                 involved and it’s
level agreeable with the lender/                sible regardless of how much the
                                                                                                 too late to save the
landlord. If payments stop altogether,          parties want one.
                                                                                                 situation. This goes
there is no incentive to work things out
                                                Make a workable deal. You don’t                  for     everyone—
and foreclosure or eviction will follow.   
                                                want it to fail right off the bat. If            lender, borrower, landlord and

                 Real Estate               ●                 Business                   ●                   Estates
 A da m s                            jones                                             Adams Jones Attorneys

                                                              Roger D. Hughey                    
                       law firm, p.a.
                                                              Mert F. Buckley                    

                                                              Monte Vines                        
        1635 N. Waterfront Parkway, Suite 200                 Kenneth G. Gale                    
                 Wichita, KS 67206-6623
                                                              Bradley A. Stout                   
                       Phone 316.265.8591
                                                              Patrick B. Hughes                  
                        Fax 316.265.9719
                                                              Sabrina K. Standifer               

                                                                                            Of Counsel

                                                              Philip L. Bowman                   

                                                              Dixie F. Madden                    

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                                                     Adams Jones News
                          We are pleased to announce that Phil Bowman received recognition as the “Wichita Real Estate Lawyer
                          of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America. He was notified that he received the award “because your peers
                          consistently rated you at the top of your field.” Adams Jones extends its congratulations to Phil for this
                          honor. Phil is primarily working as an arbitrator and mentoring junior attorneys at the firm.
                          Roger Hughey and Ken Gale attended the mid-year Regents Meeting of the American College of Mort-
                          gage Attorneys in San Diego in March. Roger is a Regent and the State Chair for Kansas, and Ken is a
      Phil Bowman         newly-admitted Fellow. Phil Bowman is a past national President of the College.
After serving on its board of directors for six years, Monte Vines has become President of Music Theatre of Wichita for a one
-year term. We know many recipients of this newsletter are long-time patrons and supporters of MTWichita. Information on
                   this great organization is available at
                         Sabrina Standifer continues to serve as Chair of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. The Gov-
                         ernmental Ethics Commission is a bipartisan, nine-member board charged with administering, interpreting
                         and enforcing the Campaign Finance Act and laws relating to conflict of interests, financial disclosure and
                         the regulation of lobbying.
                         Mert Buckley, Sabrina Standifer and Phil Bowman annually co-author a chapter in
                         the Kansas Annual Survey for the Kansas Bar Association consisting of commentary on
   Sabrina Standifer     recent real estate cases and statutes. They are currently working on the 2009 version.
Ken Gale recently retired from the Kansas National Guard after serving over 30 years in the United States
Army. Ken completed his career in December, 2008 as Colonel, JAGC, and as Chief Attorney for the
Kansas National Guard. We extend our congratulations and appreciation to Ken for his years of service.
                                                                                                                          Ken Gale

                       Real Estate               ●                Business                 ●                   Estates

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