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Conflict of Interest Rules in Costa Rica

Conflict of Interest Rules apply to lawyers in Costa Rica, just as they do in the United States, or Canada. The prohibition is contained in the Code of Ethics to which all Costa Rican lawyers must subscribe.

The difference is, in Costa Rica, the decision to act in a conflict of interest circumstance is left to be made as a moral decision by the lawyer, without fear of any practical retribution by the College of Lawyers, while in the United States, or Canada, a lawyer acting in such circumstances would most likely receive a suspension from practice for a period of time, as a penalty for having acted in such a manner.

In Costa Rica, the breach of this ethic usually occurs in the circumstances of a purchase of property from a developer. Most developers have in-house, salaried lawyers/notaries, who are available to act on a property purchase closing without additional expense to the developer.

The property purchase transaction most commonly includes the closing costs as part of the purchase price, if the developer’s lawyer is used to the exclusion of an independent lawyer acting for the purchaser. This is a very dangerous circumstance for a purchaser, who’s legal interests would remain unrepresented in the transaction. A purchaser must have independent legal representation in the property purchase transaction if their legal interests are to be protected.

The only circumstance where a seller’s/developer’s lawyer should be acting as the closing lawyer/ notary is where vendor financing is offered as part of the purchase agreement. In such circumstances, it is common to have two lawyers handling the closing jointly, one acting for the purchaser with respect to the title transfer and the other acting for the seller/developer with respect to the vendor financing.

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com

 


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Cast Away in Costa Rica

A little over thirty years ago I read an article titled “Cast Away in Costa Rica –This lovely little land features beaches, mountains, jungles and beautiful señoritas who actually like Americans.” That’s all I needed to read. The title said it all.

Prior to reading the article I had lived and studied in Mexico and was enamored with the place. However, I was always curious to see what the countries were like to the south of Mexico. After reading the article my curiosity was piqued so I bought a ticket to Costa Rica as soon as I had a couple of free weeks to explore the country.

I arrived in San José and spent three nights there at the Talamanca Hotel on Avenida 2. By the way, there hotel is still there to this day. After exploring the sights in and around San José I had to decide where I wanted to go next. At the time there were virtually no travel guides with information about Costa Rica. Fortunately, a couple of weeks prior to my tour I found a travel guide that did have a small section on Central America and Costa Rica. I read the part on Costa Rica about three or four times and decided to visit the Orosi Valley which is located near the city of Cartago. It took three bus rides but I finally reached the Shangri-la like valley in a couple of hours. I had read in my travel guide that there was a small hotel and restaurant located on the banks of the Reventazón River which runs through the center of the valley. When I got off the last bus I must have looked lost. A nice Costa Rican man approached me and asked me what I was looking for. Much to my surprise it turned out that he worked at the restaurant at the Motel Río where I wanted to stay. He told me that he was on his way to work and he would take me to the hotel. I ended up staying there for a few days and was even invited to the owner’s house for lunch. His home was located on a coffee plantation high above the valley’s floor with a spectacular panoramic view. This proved to be an unforgettable experience during my maiden voyage to Costa Rica.

After visiting the Orosí area I returned to San José and then went on to explore the Central and South Pacific areas for about a week. While there I visited Puntarenas, Jacó, Quepos and Dominical. Let me say that 30 years ago said areas were a lot less developed than they are now and it was quite an adventure to go there.

Anyway my two-week vacation concluded and I knew I had found a very special place on this earth. I returned every chance I had during the next two years. Each time I visited the country I ended up staying longer. Finally in 1981, I quit my job, sold the farm, made the big move and have never looked back. I really was a pioneer in those days. I am really happy I had the foresight and vision to do it.

Moving to Costa Rica was scary at the time and took some guts but proved to be the best decision I ever made in my life. Now retirees and others can relocate a lot easier with the help of organization like my company Live in Costa Rica Tours, Solutions Costa Rica and the many travel guidebooks like “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica.”


Christopher Howard

Email: christopher@costaricabooks.com
Website: www.liveincostarica.com


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A not so successful story about an American in Costa Rica

I usually write articles about Americans who find success and happiness in Costa Rica. Unfortunately there are a few individuals who screw up big time here because they don’t follow the advice advice of the experts and get hooked up with the wrong people.

Tom came to Costa Rica about 12 years ago from the United States, where he was a successful businessman. Almost upon arriving here, he became romantically involved with a woman of ill- repute. He was basically too lazy and busy getting drunk to find a quality mate. Over the course of Tom’s relationship, he lost about $500,000 because he entrusted his business dealings to his girlfriend. She was even dumber than Tom and talked him into purchasing a piece of land on the beach that was in a restricted zone and he ended up building a home there. A few years later the local government got wind of what happened and had Tom’s house demolished.

Tom eventually split up with his girlfriend and had to give her half of everything he owned because of their common-law situation. What did Tom do next? He went and got involved with another woman who got pregnant intentionally and eventually took him to “the cleaners.” He ended up supporting her, their child and all of her immediate family. Everyone came out of the woodwork to get a handout from the dumb gringo.

After losing what was left of his money Tom finally got the message and returned to the United States where he eventually drank himself to death.

The point of this story is that if you take time-tested advice from the right people in Costa Rica and don’t be lazy like Tom, you can increase the odds of having a great life here. On the other hand, if you do like Tom you will be doomed to failure from the start.


Christopher Howard

Email: christopher@costaricabooks.com
Website: www.liveincostarica.com


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THE CONDOMINIUM HOA – THE LAW IN COSTA RICA

A common misconception by foreign property purchasers in Costa Rica, is that a regime of By-laws, commonly provided by a developer of individually subdivided and registered building lots, or completed dwellings, is an enforceable legal structure as against individual property owners. Such a HOA entity purporting to regulate the individual property owners and collect fees for maintenance of common areas, is unconstitutional in Costa Rica, as having a purpose which is contrary to the inalienable rights of property owners granted under the Costa Rica Constitution. Abiding by a regime of By-laws in such circumstances is purely voluntary on the part of the individual property owners.

A legally enforceable regime of By-laws in-fact only applies in the circumstances of a development being a registered Condominium in the National Registry and subject to the Costa Rican Condominium Laws. In such circumstances, the owner of a condominium lot delegates all of their rights at the time of purchase, to the named Administrator of the registered Condominium, who has the legal authority to enforce the registered regime of By-laws pursuant to the Condominium Law.

Accordingly, purchasers who purchase property in the circumstances of a development of individually registered lots, believing that all property owners in a particular development will be contributing in some fair manner through a HOA structure, to the cost of maintaining areas, which would be normally thought of a “common areas” in the development, such as private access roads, common area lighting, maintenance of “green zones”, etc. , may find that they are saddled with a greater cost than anticipated in order to have these various maintenance items attended to. This will depend on what their co-property owners in the development are willing to pay in the circumstances.

RICHARD (RICK) PHILPS
Telephone:
(506) 2288-4381  Ext.102
Fax: (506) 2228-7094

Email:
rphilps@plawcr.com

Website:
www.plawcr.com


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STAY WITH IT!

It is common knowledge that if you crash your car you mustn´t move it: you must call the cops and – if you have insurance – your insurance company. The cops will go to the scene of the “crime”, take measurements and pictures, and will let you know when you can move your vehicle.

The following is a sad story – a triumph of evil over virtue! A client of this insurance brokerage, a Scottish youth, was driving home in the dead of night in his VW, and another car came full speed out of a side street and cannoned into him – nobody hurt.

My client´s cel phone didn´t work, and none of the five lads in the other car admitted to having a phone, so the young Scot locked up his car and went off on foot seeking a public phone. He eventually found one and made the calls. |

When he got back to the scene of the accident he found that the positions of the cars had been switched, so that it looked like HE had come out of the side street and was therefore to blame for the collision.

The lads must have picked up the VW and manhandled it around – quite a feat, particularly for people in their cups!

There are two morals to this story: (1) don´t leave the scene of an accident, and (2) keep a functional cel phone with you when you are driving.

David Garrett
Garrett Insurance Brokers

Costa Rica: (506) 2233 9520
USA: 1 (347) 274 8210

Email:
info@garrettbrokers.com

Website:
www.garrettbrokers.com


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Retirees Bonnie and Clyde…..one more Costa Rican success story

No, I’m not talking about the famous outlaws Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow but a couple, Bonnie and Clyde Williams. They came to Costa Rica about a year ago from Kissemmee, Florida and settled in the town of San Ramón or “Moncho” as the locals call it. San Ramón, with a Population of 70,000, is one of the many places in Cost Rica to live given its terrific climate, friendly people, wide array of services, and proximity to everything. It is conveniently located just off the Pan-American highway heading northwest from San José, is only a 35-minute drive from the airport to town, and an additional 35 minutes to the port town of Puntarenas on the Pacific.

San Ramón boasts a shopping mall, modern movie theatre, cultural center/museum, and many supermarkets and restaurants. There is also a major hospital, many doctors’ offices, and a branch of the University of Costa Rica.

Surrounded by lush mountains and located at 4000 feet above sea level, temperatures usually range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit every day of the year. However, because the town’s elevation it can get very cool at night. The winds are also fierce in the summer months, from December to March. Air conditioning and heating are not necessary but you do have to bundle up on some of the cooler nights. During the rainy season, from June through December, one can expect sunshine in the morning and rain showers in the mid to late afternoon. The skies tend to clear toward the early evening.

Back to our story…. our couple found that their combined pensions of about $3,600 per month would never be enough to have a decent lifestyle in the United States. So, they started to investigate countries south of the border where their money would go farther. They had been to Mexico about ten times and really liked a lot of things about the country. However, the country’s escalating level of violence made them cross the country off their list of potential homes.

Nicaragua was never in the picture because of its substandard medical care and the corrupt political system ruled by Daniel Ortega, who constantly tries to emulate Venezuela’s deranged leader, Hugo Chavez.

Next, Bonnie and Clyde took a three-week trip to Costa Rica and Panamá. They liked the latter but couldn’t handle Panama City’s oppressive heat and humidity nor the isolation and boredom of living the mountain town of Boquete, a so-called retirement haven in the northwest part of the country. Most of those hyping the latter are involved with selling real estate to foreigners or have some other agenda.

Costa Rica was another story all together. Our retiree couple really liked a lot of things that Costa Rica had to offer. First, the innumerable places for living. Whether it be the beach, Central Valley or the mountains Costa Rica had a lot of prime areas from which to choose depending on one’s lifestyle. Our couple also was sold by Costa Rica’s affordable and time tested medical care. Since they had no medical insurance to cover them abroad, both the country’s public health care system called the “caja” or its private system (INS) seemed very attractive and above all affordable. Bonnie and Clyde didn’t have any major medical issues but wanted to be amply prepared against some of the illness that come with aging.

As I alluded to above our retired couple eventually chose to settle in San Ramón, Costa Rica. They are very happy with their lives here and have immersed themselves in a lot of interesting activities to stay busy and happy. They also have developed a network of friends in the short time that they have resided here. At present they are renting a small home for a few hundred of dollars monthly and may eventually purchase something when their home finally sells in the United States. Like others there they have been affected by the housing crisis in the U.S. and its dire consequences. Luckily, their home is located in an attractive area and should sell soon, thus freeing up their investment capital to buy a home here.


Christopher Howard

Email: christopher@costaricabooks.com
Website: www.liveincostarica.com


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This couple found their little piece of paradise in Costa Rica

Mary is a 55-year old retired school teacher living in Costa Rica with her husband John. They are originally from just outside Boston. Both retired early for a variety of reasons. John had put in his 30 years with the fire department and was literally “burned out.” Mary retired early because of osteoarthritis. They were sick and tires of the cold New England winters and needed a warm climate to help Mary’s condition. Both had done extensive traveling and decided they wanted to retire in a place that offered more adventure than a typically dull Florida retirement community.

After visiting several countries they decided on Costa Rica because of the country’s year-round spring-like weather in the Central Valley, plethora of activities for those who love the outdoors, affordability and excellent medical care. Both are really happy with their choice and live active lives here.

They bought a modest home in the hills of Heredia surrounded by coffee fields with a breathtaking southern view of the Central Valley. On a clear day they can almost see the ocean through a gap between the mountains to the west. They have really found their little piece of paradise in Los Angeles de Heredia.

Mary has a good size garden where she grows mostly flowers. Vegetables are so plentiful and cheap she doesn’t bother with them. She also studies yoga and Tai Chi which she says have really improved her arthritis along with the warm climate. Then there is always the woman’s club and volunteer work to keep her busy. Mary really enjoys cooking local dishes. She found a Costa Rican cook book in English at a bookstore with all of the recipes for the native cuisine. Every weekend the couple likes to explore the local farmers markets in downtown Heredia on Saturdays and in San Rafael near their home on Sundays. They find some great bargains and stock up with enough vegetables and delicious mouth-watering fresh fruits to last the whole week. They usually fill up two large canvass shopping bags for well under $25.

John keeps himself busy by hiking, taking care of their three shelter dogs and studying Spanish. He recognizes that latter will be a life-long task but enjoys the challenge and realizes the many advantages of speaking the language.

Two of the activities this couple likes to share are discovering new restaurants and traveling around the country. They find that they can have a good meal for about $15-$20 dollars per person. In fact, they often find more affordable places to eat in their travels around the country. Costa Rica is so small but yet has so many nooks and crannies that they know it will take years to explore the whole country.

Their teenage grandchildren visit during the U.S. summer vacation months and John and Mary take the boys to different beaches in the Central and South Pacific to practice surfing. That way the kids get to enjoy themselves and John and Mary have a chance to visit and explore the many paradisiacal beach areas that dot the coast.

Both John and Mary agree that they are never bored here and find there just isn’t enough time to do all of the wonderful things their newly found home has to offer. John told me that their days are so filled with interesting activities, “That everyday seems like a whole lifetime.” “This country really has something for everyone and everything for someone except for snow skiing and I do not miss the snow at all.”


Christopher Howard

Email: christopher@costaricabooks.com
Website: www.liveincostarica.com


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The Old Gringo Retiree And The Sea

Retirement is a big change since many people find themselves with a lot of spare time on their hands. Having an active lifestyle is essential for both one’s physical and mental health. Fortunately, in Costa Rica there is a plethora of interesting activities for Baby Boomer retirees to stay busy.

Take for example the case of Terry Martin. He moved from the U.S. to the Philippines and then eventually to Costa Rica where he retired. He first discovered the Philippines when he was in the navy. After he did his stint in the service he moved back there and started a couple of successful businesses. While he was living there he discovered that fishing was his real passion. So, he made it point to go fishing at least once or twice a week when he wasn’t working. He even took vacations to places like Alaska to go salmon fishing when he had the time and money.

I forgot mention that Terry married a Philippine woman and raised a couple of children while living there. He had a good life their but decided he wanted to live closer to the U.S. because his elderly parents and other family members lived there. However, he really didn’t want to live in the U.S. because he had come to realize that he had become a true expatriate at heart. So, he started to investigate countries close to the U.S. Terry made two exploratory trips to Costa Rica before finally making the decision to move here.

After Terry and his family got settled next came to task of finding something for him to do to stay busy. Terry made a lot of friends quickly by hanging out in the numerous places that expats frequent. Although Terry lives in the Central Valley he has managed to pursue his favorite hobby — fishing.

He often travels to Lake Arenal, about three hours away, to go trout fishing with his new-found buddies. In fact, they all chipped in some money and bought a small boat with an outboard motor which is perfect for their needs. They store it at a dry dock at the Puerto San Luis mini-marina near the town of Tilarán.

Terry often ventures to the Central Pacific coast to fish in the ocean. He doesn’t own a boat at the beach but hires local fishermen to take him fishing. The Tico fisherman charge Terry only a fraction of what it would cost to go on a sports fishing boat. He could never afford to go on a regular charter since the cost can run over $1000 a day plus tips. Even with a group of friends splitting the bill it is still very expensive.

As you can see Terry is resourceful and has found a way to stay active by participating in his favorite piscatorial hobby here. Retirees and others can have a healthy and active lifestyle by practicing almost any imaginable outdoor hobby or by pursuing their favorite interests in Costa Rica. It’s all here!


Christopher Howard

Email: christopher@costaricabooks.com
Website: www.liveincostarica.com


next page

Conflict of Interest Rules in Costa Rica

Conflict of Interest Rules apply to lawyers in Costa Rica, just as they do in the United...
article post

Cast Away in Costa Rica

A little over thirty years ago I read an article titled “Cast Away in Costa Rica...
article post

A not so successful story about an American in Costa Rica

I usually write articles about Americans who find success and happiness in Costa Rica....
article post

THE CONDOMINIUM HOA – THE LAW IN COSTA RICA

A common misconception by foreign property purchasers in Costa Rica, is that a regime of...
article post

STAY WITH IT!

It is common knowledge that if you crash your car you mustn´t move it: you must call the...
article post

Retirees Bonnie and Clyde…..one more Costa Rican success story

No, I’m not talking about the famous outlaws Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut...
article post

This couple found their little piece of paradise in Costa Rica

Mary is a 55-year old retired school teacher living in Costa Rica with her husband John....
article post

The Old Gringo Retiree And The Sea

Retirement is a big change since many people find themselves with a lot of spare time on...
article post