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Vol. IV, Issue No. 1
January 8, 2015

Happy New Year! Did you Start a Resolution for 2015 yet? if it involves getting your business or personal affairs in order, there are some items you should consider. This month's briefing covers some of those areas as well as the remedies a bankruptcy creditor may have and the profile of the best golfer on our staff! Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015! 
Have You Resolved To Make An Estate Plan to Protect Your Family? 

How many times have you said or thought about it?  "This year, I will make a will. This year I will make sure that my family is provided for, just in case."

This year make sure you not only do it but do it well. A recent case from Connecticut shows that even the best laid plans can cause issues if you're not specific about your wishes. A recent Connecticut case involving noted children's author Maurice Sendak was reported by the Connecticut Law Tribune. Sendak signed a 20 page will a little over a year before he died. He made a specific bequeath of certain "rare edition books" from his multi-million dollar estate. That didn't stop the beneficiaries from arguing about whether children's books or books without bindings should be included as part of the "rare edition books" he mentioned in his will.

You know that an estate without a will creates possible financial and legal burdens for your family. Start a 2015 Resolution by contacting Mark Snitchler to make sure you don't leave issues behind for your loved ones.  

Have You Resolved To Make Sure Your Business Is In Order?

When a business is making money and owners are focused on the next piece of business, many potential areas of risk can be ignored. Resolve in 2015 to explore some of those potential areas.  

We offer small businesses a Legal Risk Assessment to ensure that tomorrow holds as few surprises as possible. Some of the areas we cover:

Does the Company have by-laws or an Operating Agreement?
Should anyone in the Company be subject to an employment contract?
Does the Company have human resource policies for its employees?
Should any employee or contractor be subject to a non- competition agreement?
Does the Company have a succession plan?
Does the Company have any procedures in place to protect its confidential information?

Contact us to see how you can minimize your business risk. 
Does Bankruptcy Always Mean The Creditor Loses?  No!

Many creditors simply assume a debtor's bankruptcy filing means that they can write off their debt to a bad experience. As our client recently learned, that's not always the case.

Bankruptcy concept with judge s wooden gavel and petition noticeHSP recently obtained a successful judgment on behalf of a creditor in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Adversary Proceeding. We alleged that by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and attempting to discharge the debt owed to the creditor, the debtor had acquired our client's services by false pretenses or fraud in violation of 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(2).

After a one-day trial conducted by Gavin Fleming and Kenny Lee, the bankruptcy court ruled in favor of our client. Specifically, the judge found that the debtor had recklessly induced the creditor to provide services on an ongoing basis based upon the debtor's repeated written representations to pay the creditor for its services. Based upon the court's ruling, the amount owed by the debtor to the creditor was declared non-dischargeable in the debtor's Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Proceeding and HSP's client obtained a substantial monetary judgment.
 Has your creditor's bankruptcy left you with a large unpaid debt?  Contact us to see if we can help. 

Does A Divorce Judgment Requiring "Participation" in Children's Education Mean "Paying" for College?

A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision highlights the importance of clarity in divorce judgments.  In that case, an ex-husband argued that the mentoring he provided his son was sufficient compliance with his divorce agreement which required he and his ex-wife to "participate in" their children's education - and almost won. In the case of Holmes v. Holmes, the Court reversed a trial court ruling in favor of the ex-husband which originally determined the provision was ambiguous and unenforceable. 

The Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, found that "[w]hen given its most reasonable construction, the parties agreed to provide their children with financial assistance, as needed, and each according to his or her financial ability. Because these terms were unambiguous and provided a reasonable framework for identifying and enforcing the obligation, the trial court should have enforced the agreement."

Resolve for clarity in your 2015 agreements - contact
Gavin Fleming with questions about family law matters.

Attorney Profile - Kenny Lee

This month's attorney profile features HSP associate Kenny Lee
. Kenny was raised in Farmington, Michigan and attended Saginaw Valley State University on a golf scholarship. Prior to his golf career, he played travel hockey and baseball in the Metro Detroit area.

Today, Kenny's law practice ranges from securities litigation disputes where he advocates on behalf of individual investors, commercial disputes on behalf of individual and corporate clients, and family law matters including divorce and child custody litigation. He has argued multiple cases in the Michigan Court of Appeals and is licensed to practice law in both Michigan and Florida.

Outside the office, Kenny remains passionate about the game of golf.  He carries a 2 handicap and still plays competitively in Michigan. When he is not being asked to carry a team in a golf scramble event, Kenny enjoys reading, traveling with his wife, Melissa, and attending Detroit Red Wings' and Tigers' games.  

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