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What to do with credit card accounts after a death?

If a family member dies, the executor can notify the creditors. If you’re handling the estate, gather the bills, call the credit card companies, and tell them the account holder has passed. Also send them a letter with a copy of the death certificate. Include a note with the deceased’s name and credit card account number. Keep [..]

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Immediate Discovery Before The Responsive Pleadings Are Filed

I am often asked whether there is a benefit to beginning discovery as soon as possible. Well, as usual, the answer is: it depends. The right to discovery generally does not depend on the status of the pleadings. (i.e., the case need not be “at issue.”) But if defendant has raised jurisdictional challenges, the court may grant a protective [..]

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Marital Trust Assets Valued Without Deduction for Claims Against Trustee.

The Ninth Circuit, affirmed a Tax Court ruling, by holding that the value of three marital trusts created under the will of the decedent’s husband, were calculated without consideration of claims against the decedent for breach of fiduciary duty in litigation in transactions involving loans, and also valued claims held by the decedent’s estate for [..]

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Surcharge Trustee

When a trustee breaches his or her fiduciary duty, causing financial damage to the trust, trust beneficiaries may bring an action against the trustee for “surcharge.” This means that the trustee should compensate the trust for the damage he or she caused. A surcharge will require the trustee to repay to the trust whatever funds [..]

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Collecting Personal Loan After Bankruptcy

I am often asked this question: “I loaned by friend money, now he claimed bankruptcy, what can I do?” Often, the sad answer is not much. You can hope for a voluntary payment of debt after bankruptcy discharge. Sometimes, but not often, a debtor may feel some moral obligation to repay a debt discharged in [..]

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Homeowner, As Third Party Beneficiary of Construction Contract, Entitled to Recover Attorney Fees Against Subcontractor.

In Loduca v. Polyzos (2007), 153 CA4th 334, the plaintiff property owner successfully sued a subcontractor for breach of the contract between the subcontractor and the general contractor as a third party beneficiary of the contract. The trial court awarded plaintiff attorney fees based on an attorney fees provision in the contract. Defendant subcontractor appealed the attorney fee award. The Court of Appeal affirmed that under California Civil [..]

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Personal Representative Liable for Distributing Estate Assets Before Paying Decedent’s Outstanding Tax Debt

In United States v. Shriner, 2014 WL 992300 (D.Md. March 13, 2014), a U.S. district court granted the government a summary judgment. The court held that the personal representative was personally liable for the decedent’s back income taxes.  The personal representative distributed the estate assets before paying the outstanding tax liability. The personal representative relied [..]

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Learning from Others’ Mistakes: Update Your Estate Plan Regularly

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Will Philip Seymour Hoffman, a renowned actor, died earlier this year from a toxic mix of drugs. He leaves behind his long-time girlfriend, Mimi O’Donnell, as well as the three children they had together. Hoffman was only 46 years of age when he died. According to a recent article in MSN Money, the Oscar [..]

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California Estate Planning: Preparing for the Unexpected and Expected

Recent Losses: Muppets Voice and Devo Musician The entertainment industry recently lost two well-known members. As reported by CNN, John Henson – the son of famed puppeteer and creator of the Muppets, Jim Henson – died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the age of 48. John Henson, along with his siblings, carried on their late [..]

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