October 29, 2013
Collecting on a judgment can be difficult. Typically, a party who won at trial will record documents to lien against the debtor’s real property and will attempt to levy the debtor’s bank accounts. Debtors will often try to hide their assets. Sometimes, they will keep bank accounts in other names, or in the names of LLCs they have just created. Can a creditor subpoena the debtor’s business partners to discover the identity of these alter egos? What if the debtor is paying third parties with checks from the alter ego LLCs? Can he subpoena their payment records?
In a recent case, the California Court of Appeal based in San Diego found that a judgment creditor was not entitled to ask such broad questions. To learn more, click here.
Proposition 13 Property Tax Reassessment
The Pitfalls of Using Joint Tenancy as an Estate Plan Substitute
October 29, 2013
For decades, Californians have used joint tenancy as a cost-effective estate planning tool. At times, joint tenancy serves this purpose adequately. Unfortunately, joint tenancy can sometimes cause reassessment under Proposition 13 when your estate planning goals change.
For instance, suppose you inherit property from your mother at 25. You transfer the property to yourself and your brother as joint tenants so that he will get the property if you die. At 45, you now have a wife and kids. You transfer the property back to yourself as a tenant-in-common so that your wife will receive the property if you die. Did either transfer constitute a “change of ownership” requiring property tax reassessment under Proposition 13? According to a recent court decision, the answer is “no” for when you were 25 and put the property into joint tenancy. But the answer is “yes” for when you took the property out of joint tenancy at 45. Sound confusing? It is. To read more click here.
April 24, 2013
Proposition 64 (passed in 2004) placed severe limits on unfair competition claims in California. Some courts and lawyers had believed that a customer must have had direct business dealings and have had lost money due to those dealings in order to bring a lawsuit for unfair business practices under the unfair competition law (“UCL”). Not anymore. Now, businesses that have lost sales or profits can sue under the UCL those competitors who compete by breaking the law. To find out more, click here.
April 24, 2013
Every student in law school learns about adverse possession. Non-lawyers sometimes refer to it as “squatters’ rights.” Basically, the law will give one person’s property to another person where the possessor meets certain requirements. One of those requirements is the payment of property taxes. Usually, someone else paying the property taxes tips off the true owner. This is especially true for large, unused parcels of land. But, public benefit corporations (churches, charitable organizations, etc.) don’t pay property taxes. Can they be targeted by adverse possessors who don’t pay the property taxes? A California court recently said yes. For more information, click here.
October 18, 2012
This past August, a California Court of Appeal ruled that where a homeowner is offered a home loan modification, accepts that modification, and makes the trial payments, the modification is complete and binding upon the lender. The lender cannot unilaterally deny the modification after the borrower has performed his or her part of the agreement. To find out more, click here.
March 24, 2011
Friends shake hands. They agree to be partners. A business is formed. But what rules apply between the partners? Between the partners and third parties – customers, vendors, employees?
In the absence of a partnership agreement, California’s Uniform Partnership Act (Corporations Code §§16100-16962) supplies these rules for general partnerships in California. But, sometimes these rules may not be what a partner “thought” he had agreed to when he shook hands. To learn more, click here.
The foregoing discussion is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be considered legal advice or legal opinion. Readers are cautioned to consult an attorney of their own selection with respect to any particular situation.