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David C. Murray

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About David C. Murray

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  • Birthday December 20
  1. Derrick102 is right, James. It isn't the property that has the assets, it's the corporation that owns the property that has the assets, the property itself. It's highly unlikely that any vacant land has no value whatsoever. And it's even more unlikely that land with a building like (say) a residence has no value either. So the corporation that owns the property and the buildings on it must, by definition, have valuable assets. Those are what are at risk if a lawsuit against the corporation succeeds. Too, imagine that some non-profit corporation (use the Cruz Roja as an example) is successfully sued. True, it's a non-profit, but it can and does have assets. Who do you suppose owns all those offices, ambulances, etc? It's the Cruz Roja, the non-profit corporation.
  2. The liability insurance coverage available here (again, at very reasonable costs) is likely greater than the value of the assets in a corporation that insurance would protect. It is, of course, possible that a judge would find in favor of the injured party in an amount greater than the limits of the liability policy but has anyone ever heard of such a ruling? Even one? Ever?
  3. You are all correct that public liability coverage on your vehicle and on your homeowner's insurance is the single best way to protect your interests. In both cases, the premiums are very reasonable and, should you be likely to be found liable, most injured parties would settle for the limits of the policy in an out-of-court settlement rather than go through the pain and cost of a legal suit which they might not win or live to see resolved. Covering your potential victims also provides a measure of humanity. Should I injure someone, and especially if it really is my fault, I want to be held liable for my misdeed. I want my victim to be cared for. At the same time, I would prefer not to be bankrupted.
  4. James, I'm not an attorney but I've consulted with some and I've read up on the issue. I don't know how this matter was explained to you or by whom, but I think your understanding is inside-out. Think about it . . . Suppose you trip and fall in a store that's owned by a corporation. You successfully sue the corporation and are awarded damages because the corporation is found to be liable for your injuries. You can collect from that corporation, but you cannot collect from the unrelated corporation that owns the gas station next door. They are separate entities. You didn't fall in the gas station, so how might they be held liable? As far as the law is concerned, the corporation that owns your vehicle is as unrelated to the corporation that owns your real estate as is the corporation that owns the gas station unrelated to the corporation that owns the store where you fell. If you hit a pedestrian with your car, you'll probably be found liable; but your real estate corporation will remain untouched as it has no legal relationship to the vehicle corporation. Think of it another way . . . Suppose I hit a pedestrian with my vehicle. Would you expect that your real estate corporation would be jeopardized? No! And why not? It's because there is no legal relationship between my vehicle corporation and your real estate corporation. The legal relationship between my vehicle corporation and your real estate corporation is as nonexistent as the legal relationship between the corporation that owns the store and the corporation that owns the gas station. (The foregoing are all layman's terms.)
  5. James, above you wrote, "Also it prevents someone from taking your land from you in case someone is hurt badly on your property and they sue you and it's determined that it's your fault. If it's in an S.A. they can't come after you." I think you have that exactly backward. If your property is in a corporation and the corporation is successfully sued, the liability for damages is limited to the value of the assets held by that corporation. So if, for example, someone falls on your property and is seriously injured, they can sue the corporation and win its assets, the property, but they cannot sue you personally and take (say) your bank account if it's held in your own name. If that bank account is in the corporation's name, then it is an asset of the corporation and thus liable to seizure. That is why the traditional advice is to have separate corporations to own each parcel of real estate and each vehicle you may own. If in an accident your vehicle corporation is found to be at fault, the victim can seize the assets of that vehicle's corporation (the vehicle or whatever may be left of it), but they cannot seize your real estate because that's in a different corporation. Likewise, if someone is injured on your property owned by "Corporation A", they could not seize the real estate owned by "Corporation B".
  6. I have no experience with totally destroyed or disabled vehicles to share, James. Sorry.
  7. Young, Healthy, full of dreams

    At SJO, and probably at LIR, there is a 15% surcharge on the entire cost of your car rental if you take possession of the car at the airport. Instead, arrange with the rental car company to pick you up at the airport and bring you to their nearby office. There, you can do the paperwork and take possession of the car (and save a bundle). It may take an hour longer, but the time spent will be well worth it.
  8. Even though only about twenty percent of stolen vehicles are ever recovered here in Costa Rica, the law dictates that a vehicle is not considered legally stolen until thirty days after the theft is reported to the OIJ. That helps to explain the delays in settlements for stolen vehicles. What's more, you must report the theft within 24 hours, even on weekends and holidays, and only to the OIJ office rather than the local Fuerza Publica. Neighbors have recommended that, should your vehicle be stolen, the first thing you should do is notify the local taxi companies who can tell their drivers to be on the lookout for it. They have more eyes open than the Fuerza Publica could possibly muster.
  9. James, the cost of homeowners' insurance will vary with the value of your home, the value of its contents, and perhaps other considerations. Our insurance agent was flabbergasted to learn that we do not live in a gated, guarded subdivision and that we do not have bars on our windows and doors. Those issues may have influenced the cost of our homeowners' insurance policy as did the fact that we included a substantial collection of artwork and rugs in our coverage. In homeowners' insurance policies, one size does not fit all.
  10. When we removed our vehicle from its corporation and dissolved the corporation, the total cost was a bit greater than the old corporation tax would have been for that year, but since then we have more than recovered the legal costs by avoiding subsequent years' corporation taxes. As far as having a vehicle in a corporation in order to avoid liability, you will be better off to dissolve the corporation and then buy public liability insurance which you can pay for, in part at least, with the savings on the corporation tax. As good citizens, we believe we should be liable for injuries, deaths or damages that are our fault. The liability insurance takes care of that without risking our own financial welfare. Our real estate is tied up in a corporation due to our mortgage, but we are looking into how to dissolve that corporation, too. Regardless, our homeowners' insurance provides liability coverage should someone be injured or killed on our property. The cost of that homeowners' insurance, too, would be offset by the savings on the corporation tax.
  11. Young, Healthy, full of dreams

    Driving in Costa Rica is pretty much like driving anywhere else. We drive on the right, as in most of the rest of the world. Generally, other drivers will obey the laws, stop signs, etc. And, like the rest of the world, we have our share of crazies. The worst of them are the motorcyclists of whom you must be very, very aware. They'll tailgate, speed through congested downtown streets, cross in front of you from the right to make a left turn, ignore Stop signs and traffic lights, split lanes, and ride as many as five family members on one cycle. There certainly are some car jackings, but males, females and couples are equally exposed. It's no worse than anywhere else. I've always recommended to our guests that they deal with a reputable car rental agency. Maybe check Trip Advisor for reviews. You can probably get a lower rate somewhere, but as a friend used to say, "If it seems cheap, it probably is." How much of your time here do you want to spend dealing with a failed rental car? Be sure to get a full-price quote that includes all mandatory insurance coverage. Costa Rica will not permit you to use your "home" insurance policy despite what your agent may tell you. If your company doesn't do business in Costa Rica, and it's certain not to, their coverage cannot be honored by the rental agency and you cannot drive without the legally mandated minimum coverage.
  12. For my part, there certainly were philosophical differences with the content. The forum generally became a magnet for conspiracy theories some of which had their origins with Scott and others from forum participants. The forum lost it's Costa Rica orientation in favor of nonsensical rants about things that had neither happened nor would ever happen. Scott might have reined all that in, but then that would have been out of character for him. Too, I was put off by Scott's frequent and baseless attacks on Israel. Certainly, Israel has not always behaved admirably, but Scott went out of his way to slip one into any conversation he could. And then there were his largely baseless attacks on government in all its forms. To read his stuff, one would believe that it is the fault of government that we have national defense, public health, infrastructure, scientific research, and myriad other features of modern life that no other entity could have created. Instead of continuing in its original vein of a congenial place to discuss things Costa Rican, Scott and his ilk transformed the forum into an experiment in mindless ugliness. It was too much for me.
  13. Income Property?

    We have a one bedroom guest house adjacent to our home. We have had very consistent rentals over the past nine years, but still I would not recommend a rental property as a sound investment. We are unlikely to ever break even. Were it mine to do, I'd put my money in Certificates of Deposit at Coopenae in San Ramon. Coopenae's financials are very sound and your money remains liquid. The traditional advice is that it's easy to buy in Costa Rica but difficult to sell. If you ever needed your investment back, you might be out of luck. What's more, CDs require no maintenance and they earn interest 24/365. Neither can be said with certainty about a rental house.
  14. I can see no advantage to informing Immigration of any income, whether guaranteed for life or not, that is in excess of the minimum the law requires. It won't speed up the process and it won't cause them to overlook something that might otherwise disqualify you. When Marcia and I applied as pensionados, we declared only my pension (the smaller of the two) and our application was approved in about five months. Had we declared more income, the approval wouldn't have come any more quickly nor would it have been any more certain.
  15. Ticochico, you wrote, "Define "remain in Costa Rica for an extended or long term" as it relates to the tourist category." in #47 above. ​Paul has written more than once that Costa Rican law provides for tourists to spend up to 180 days a year in the country (but not more). I have no problem with that, but if Paul is right (and when has he ever been wrong?), then any individual's presence in Costa Rica for more than 180 days in any year would be in violation of that limit. That, I would assert, would constitute a legal "Defin[ition] of "remain in Costa Rica for an extended or long term"." And since the law contains that limitation, and since the law also provides an alternative means to legally remain in Costa Rica for (yup) an extended period of time or long term (read: legal residency, if one qualifies) it seems clear enough to me that, taken as a whole, the body of the law intends that long term or permanent residents qualify for, apply for and be granted legal residency. One should never confuse the behavior of an Immigration officer or any other law enforcement officer with what s/he is legally authorized to do. It's true that one officer may give someone four or five 90-day tourist visas all in the same year but that fact, by itself, does not define the parameters of the law any more than a Transito officer letting a driver who was stopped for driving 150kmh go without a ticket defines the speed limit.