Can Debt Collectors Call My Family?

Clients often call me to complain about a debt collector calling their relatives in regard to their debt. “Isn’t it illegal to talk to my relatives about my debt”, the client will ask. After 3 years of law school and 20 years of practice, I can give them this definitive answer: It depends. Surprisingly, it is not always illegal to contact a third party about your debt. Continue reading

Update on the American Tax Payer Relief Act

On January 3, 1013 the American Taxpayer Relief Act was signed into law.  The estate tax has been in a state of flux since 2001. The new Act makes permanent the 2012’s federal estate tax exemption of $5 million, adjusted annually for inflation.  This basically eliminates the estate taxes for most of the population.  If Congress had not acted, Estates above $1 million would have been subjected to federal estate taxes beginning in 2013. This would have been a significant change for estate planners and individuals.  In 2000, $675,000 was the amount free of federal estate taxes.  If you owned property worth more than $675,000 then your estate planner would have suggested doing some estate planning.  After 2001, pursuant to the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the $675,000 (with a 55 percent tax for anything above that amount) exemption increased in increments.  In 2002 and 2003 the exemption was $1 million.  In 2004 and 2005 the exemption was $1.5 million and in 2006 through 2008 the exemption was $2 million.  In 2009 the exemption was $3.5 million.

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