Your year-end activities probably include getting together with family and friends. Perhaps less enjoyably, it should also be a time to consider some steps you may be able to take to lower the tax bill on your 2017 income.

There is still time for you to take steps that may reduce the 2017 income tax bill for your business.

Anthony Carter was 78 years old when he was hospitalized. Doctors decided he needed a pacemaker. Over the objections of the person Carter had appointed as his agent under his power of attorney to make decisions about his health care, surgeons implanted the pacemaker. It malfunctioned, and Carter died. Did elder abuse occur when the hospital and doctors authorized the surgery despite those objections?

Marriages, unfortunately, often end in divorce. However, that doesn’t mean that legal entanglements, such as debts guaranteed by your spouse, go away. Unlike diamonds, debts do not last forever, but they may last longer than the marriage.

A key reason for using arbitration is to avoid the costs, delays and complications of litigating a dispute in court. But what happens when the dispute is about arbitration itself? A recent appellate court ruling says you can’t be forced to arbitrate about whether a dispute is subject to arbitration.

If you are the beneficiary of an estate and want a bigger piece of the pie, it would be nice to be able to rewrite the document in your favor, saying that’s what the deceased really wanted.  Not surprisingly, a recent decision by the California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, Urick v. Urick, affirms that you can’t do that.