My Story: Andrew Fowler

My Story: Andrew Fowler

I am a second-generation native of Arizona.  I was raised in the towns of Cave Creek and Carefree, Arizona.  From an early age, my parents instilled in me the importance of hard work and taking pride in my work. 

During my childhood, my father owned a plant nursery which was also where my family lived.  I worked at the family nursery throughout my childhood.

The Law Decision

In middle school, while studying American history, I decided that I wanted to practice law like many of our nation’s founders.  I wasted no time getting started. 

At the age of eighteen, I was married, attending college full-time and I worked full-time for a non-profit legal organization.

The College Years

As a child of an entrepreneur, it felt natural for me to pursue the study of business.  I attended Arizona Christian University and majored in business administration. 

After college, my wife and I moved across the country to Lynchburg, Virginia, where I attended Liberty University School of Law.

Law School: Recruiter & Student

Prior to beginning my own law studies, I worked as a recruiter for the law school. I traveled all over the country recruiting college graduates to consider attending the law school at Liberty University.

As a recruiter, I met many friends and future classmates. I don’t know how many lawyers enjoyed law school, but I loved it.

I was captivated by the students, faculty, and methodology of Liberty.

It was challenging, humbling and nothing like my undergraduate studies. Nothing made you prepare more for each class than a professor’s use of the Socratic Method.

One professor would call on a student and make them stand and answer his questions. If it was evident that the student had not prepared for the class, the professor would make them leave the classroom for the remainder of the class.

Practicing Law

After law school, my family returned to Arizona.  I began working for a small law firm where I first met my friend Sean St. Clair.  We would work together at one other law firm before we decided to start our own. 

Founding Fowler St Clair

In 2011, I decided it was time to be my own boss.  I hung a shingle, as they say, and began a transition that ultimately culminated in the formation of Fowler St. Clair.

Along with my partner, Sean, I manage Fowler St. Clair.  My law practice primarily focuses on estate planning, real estate, business, and civil litigation.  In addition to representing clients, I am a board member of the Christian Legal Society – Phoenix Chapter.

Andrew Fowler on the hiking trail.

Family and Hobbies

When I am not working, I am with my wife and four sons. 

We enjoy traveling with our pop-up camper to the U.S. National Parks and Monuments. 

So far, as a family we have visited the following parks and monuments:

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona
  • Sequoia National Park, California
  • Yosemite National Park, California
  • Zion National Park, Utah
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  • Hawaii Volcano National Park, Hawaii
  • Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii
  • Yorktown Battlefield Colonial National Park, Virginia

I enjoy sports and am an avid hiker.  Every year I look forward to hiking the Grand Canyon from rim-to-rim. 

Most recently, I hiked to the top of Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome. 

Learn more about Andrew Fowler in his bio here

3 Real Estate Legal Issues Facing Brokers

3 Real Estate Legal Issues Facing Brokers

Sean St Clair presents three common Real Estate legal issues in transactions that can be overcome with proper training.

1. Fiduciary Duty
2. Springing Power of Attorney
3. Heirs and Probate

Video 1: Dealing with Real Estate Agency Law and Fiduciary Duty

When we deal with agency, we are looking at the Commissioner’s Standards and the first thing that we have to look at is A.A.C. R4-28-1101, and this deals with two things.  

  1. This deals with the fiduciary duty that you owe to your client.  If you are the listing agency, your client would be anyone that owns the property or has an interest in the property. 

  2. If you are representing a buyer, then your client would be the person or entity that is going to purchase the property.  

While you owe a fiduciary duty to your client, you also owe a duty to treat all parties to the transaction fairly.


Video 2: Agency Law: Use of Power of Attorney

Another real estate legal issue deals with the use of a power of attorney.

Is that a valid power of attorney being used to purchase the property in the name of the principal?  

You have an agent that is showing up and saying, “I have this power of attorney.  It allows me to act on behalf of this person, and I can buy this property in their name.” 

We need to know if this is a valid power of attorney.  

There are two types of powers of attorney.  

  1. Immediate Power:  Immediate Power of Attorney is when the power given to the agent is vested at the time that the power of attorney document is signed.

  2. Springing Power: Springing power occurs when the principal is deemed to be incompetent, 

The Dangers of Springing Power With a Real Estate Transaction

With the springing power you may have a situation where the agent thinks that they have the right because Mom or Dad is incompetent or has a disability or something. 

But in order for that power to spring forward you normally need some form of doctor’s note or analysis or opinion in which to invoke that power.  

Is a title company likely going to close if you have a springing power but no doctor’s note?  No. 

Now you have a buyer that may be unable to perform in the transaction.  

Spring Power of Attorney with a Trust in a Real Estate Transaction

Same with a trust.  You may have multiple trustees, successor trustees and those powers arise under certain circumstances. 

So we need to know if this trustee is purchasing the property in the name of this trust. 

Are they able to purchase it or is there something more that we need to allow them to do so.


Video 3: Real Estate Law: The Advantages of Probate

Probate is another common real estate legal issue. Following are a few of the advantages of probate.


Heirs do not have to go on title.  

When I read the Estate of Brooks case, it was almost like a lightbulb went on when I thought about it.  

I realized even though there are processes potentially that are faster and cheaper than a probate:

  • A beneficiary Deed
  • An Affidavit of Succession to Real Property

These two items may not always be the best mechanism for the parties involved.  You can learn more about Affidavits of Succession and Beneficiary Deeds on this blog and video.

Disadvantages

If all you are wanting to do is liquidate the real estate and sell it, and you have no intention of putting it in your name and using it, utilizing it, or renting it you may want other options. 

Whatever the case is, a beneficiary deed or an affidavit of succession is not the way to go from an heir’s standpoint.  

This is because you are putting them on title to the property and now they are the party that is selling the property with all of the liabilities associated with not only selling it, but owning the property.  

Solution 1: Informal Probate Reduces Personal Liability

It could be worth paying more and waiting a couple of weeks longer, to do an informal probate. This way the personal representative can sell the property in their capacity as personal representative.  

The only liability is that of the estate and no one else.  

Solution 2: Probate Eliminates Creditor Claims

The other advantage of probate is it can eliminate creditor claims through notice.  

You have the opportunity to provide notice of probate. Perhaps there are creditors that exist, but what happens if you provide them notice and they don’t respond?  They don’t make a claim. 

In that case, you can eliminate that debt and you don’t have to satisfy it.