Thursday, December 31, 2009

Default Judgment without Service --- Act Immediately

Unscrupulous collection agencies often purchase stale debts and try to bully unsuspecting people into paying these debts. For those who don't pay, the agencies file suit against the debtors, conduct sewer service, and obtain a default judgment.

Thereafter, the debtor is shocked when he receives notice of a court judgment. If you are a victim of these creditors/collection agencies, immediately contact an attorney to file an appropriate motion to open the case. These process servers and collection agencies who engage in these illegal actions are well known to experienced trial court judges. Therefore, if you act quickly, it shouldn't be difficult to set aside the judgment.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gift Card Danger

Several consumer reports have issued warnings about gift cards. For those who have not heard about gift card theft, please take a few seconds to read this post.

If you are thinking about buying gift cards this holiday season, be cognizant of the fact that your gift may not reach its intended recipient. More specifically, thieves have found a new way to steal. They find stores that have free standing gift card stands and copy the cards' control numbers. Thereafter, they go online to see if the cards have been activated. Oftentimes, there is a substantial period between the time the gift giver purchases the card and the time the gift receiver uses the card. During that dead period, thieves empty the value of card by making purchases. By the time the gift receiver goes to the store, the card's balance is zero.

Stores can easily protect the consumer by placing the cards in locked or monitored locations. Card manufacturers can create card wraps that cover control numbers. It would be similar to shrink wrap on medicines. If the wrap is broken, don't buy.

For now, if you want to give gift cards, select ones that are controlled by the cashier. Also, you can purchase gift cards online. If you should risk buying the card from an unmonitored kiosk, keep the receipt, monitor the balance online until you give the gift, and advise the gift receiver to monitor the balance.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Don't Use a Verbal Agreement as an Estate Planning Tool

The question below demonstrates that you should not use verbal agreements as an asset management tool. If you have life insurance and minor children, there are ways to put the proceeds in trust. However, putting it in the name of a relative and asking them to do the right thing is dangerous.

Can I win? Rockmart, GA

My dad left his life insurance to my aunt because me and my sister were minors and him and my mom were going through a divorce. He had a verbal agreement with my aunt that we would recieve the money. SHe had given my sisters their share but she wont give me my share.. My whole family knows about the agreement and the situation. If I take her to court and sue her for the money and the documents can I win?


Your father should have provided for the division in the life insurance beneficiary section. If your aunt wants to deny the agreement, she can do so and win unless you have evidence to the contrary. You didn't state what documents you have to support your claim. Also, you didn't state how long ago your father died? There may be statute of limitation issue and evidence problems. In any event, you should find a local probate attorney in your county.