Dax Watson Moderates Panel Discussion Titled “What’s Your Verdict? Potential Pitfalls in PL Defense” at 2017 PLUS International Conference

Dax Watson, Managing Partner of Lipson Neilson’s Phoenix office, was selected by the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) to moderate a panel discussion titled, “What’s Your Verdict? Potential Pitfalls in PL Defense.”

The trial of a professional liability loss allows for a number of defenses, but presenting such defenses to a jury poses a number of challenges. This panel explored those challenges through a mock trial of a legal malpractice claim involving estate planning with disgruntled family members. The audience viewed evidence, heard arguments, and was asked to decide the case as if they were on the jury.

Stacked with top speakers from across the country, the 2017 PLUS Conference was a destination event for professional liability insurance professionals. Held during November 1-3, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia, this year marked the 30th Anniversary for this event.

Dax Watson focuses his law practice in commercial litigation with an emphasis in real estate matters and professional liability defense. His clients include professionals in the fields of real estate, law, accounting, architecture, and engineering. He regularly appears and represents clients in regulatory matters before the Arizona Department of Real Estate and other state and federal agencies.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. has offices in Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan. The firm is widely known for its excellence in the professional liability lines, offering invaluable insight and experience to its clients across all industries.

Contact: Dax Watson
Phone: 602-382-1500
Email: DWatson@lipsonneilson.com

Joseph Garin Co-Presents “Changes in Professional Liability Rules” at the Nevada State Bar’s 2017 Ethics Year in Review Program

Joseph Garin, Managing Partner of the Las Vegas office of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C., co-presented, along with attorney Alan Freer, “Changes in Professional Liability Rules”, during the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility of the State Bar of Nevada’s 2017 Ethics Year in Review program, held on November 7, 2017, at the Northern Nevada Bar Center in Reno.

This event focused on some of the most important issues facing lawyers in the practice of law today. The program featured interactive discussions covering issues that are all too familiar and those that are not as readily apparent.

Joseph Garin is consulted nationally on the defense of professional liability claims, ethics, employment, insurance coverage disputes, director and officer claims, and risk management. Mr. Garin is former Chair and current member of the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility to the Nevada State Bar; and he is a member of the Professional Liability Advisory Board for the national Claims & Litigation Management Alliance. Comprised of industry leaders from across the United States, this Board guides the development of extensive professional liability resources.

Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. has offices in Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. The firm is widely known for its excellence in professional liability law, offering invaluable insight and experience to its clients across all industries. The firm represents clients in Nevada, across the USA, and around the world.

Contact: Joseph Garin
Phone: 702-382-1500
Email: JGarin@lipsonneilson.com

Sandra D. Glazier Co-Presenting National Webinar “Undue Influence: What Every Estate Planner Should Know”

Sandra GlazierSandra D. Glazier, a principal of the Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. law firm, will co-present with Thomas M. Dixon a webinar entitled, “Undue Influence: What Every Estate Planner Should Know”.

Approved for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits by the State Bar Associations in 34 states, as well as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for its agents, this live webinar will be held on November 15, 2017, from 1:00pm-2:30pm. Click here to register.

Due in part to the rapid growth of our country’s aging population, many adults are falling prey to the undue influence of others. Undue influence is (intentional or unintentional) conduct that supplants the will and the true intentions of the vulnerable adult with the will of the ‘trusted’ perpetrator.

Undue influence is usually not a single event; rather, it is a process which is generally conducted in secret and therefore must be proved by circumstantial evidence. If lawyers or other professionals engaged in the estate planning process fail to understand and recognize undue influence and to adhere to practices that could be utilized during the planning process for a vulnerable adult, these professionals may well find themselves on the wrong side of a contest proceeding or otherwise unable to defend the independence and validity of a client’s estate plan. In such instances, the failure to take simple precautions and adequately document the process utilized to assess capacity and the absence of undue influence may well undercut the ability to defend the plan.

This webinar is intended to educate the audience on the basics of undue influence and address issues that can arise during the litigation of such claims. The information will assist practitioners in identifying vulnerabilities and many of the indicia or ‘red flags’ of undue influence.

It will also provide insight into actions which estate planners might engage that could result in protection of the plan. This content will also provide a greater understanding of many of the ins and outs of undue influence contests.

An attorney for more than 35 years, Ms. Glazier is known for her expertise and successful track record in probate litigation, estate planning, trust and estate administration, and family law matters. The cases she works on tend to be very complex and require technical as well as legal expertise. Ms. Glazier has represented contestants and proponents of estate planning documents, as well as fiduciaries, in significant trust litigation proceedings. An AV Preeminent® rated attorney, she has also been recognized by “Super Lawyers” in probate litigation and a “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness, in the areas of probate, estate and family law.

Ms. Glazier has had numerous articles published by some of the legal industry’s leading publications. In addition, she has presented on estate planning and probate litigation related topics for the American Bar Association, Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute, Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium, Michigan’s Institute of Continuing Education, Oakland County Bar Association, Wayne County Probate Court appointed attorney training, Wilmington Trust’s New York Trust Symposium and the Bloomberg BNA Estate and Gift Tax Advisory Board. She has also taught “Valuation for Federal, Estate and Gift Tax Purposes” in a Masters level course.

Contact: Sandra D. Glazier
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: sglazier@lipsonneilson.com

Summary Dismissal Victory Affirmed by Phillip E. Seltzer and Samantha K. Heraud In Defense of Lawyer and Law Firm on Claim of Legal Malpractice

Phil and Samantha 2017By Opinion dated October 24, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed a prior trial court victory achieved by the Lipson, Neilson team in obtaining summary dismissal of a legal malpractice claim on the ground of collateral estoppel. In this case, a former divorce Client sued his attorneys for allegedly coercing him to enter into a Consent Judgment of Divorce, which he asserted was inadequate and patently unfair. The Client had previously tried to set aside the Consent Judgment, through other counsel, based on the claim the Client had been coerced to settle. He was unsuccessful before the trial court and the Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court also denied leave, ending the post-judgment effort to set aside the divorce Consent judgement.

Afterward, the client filed his legal malpractice claim against his former attorneys. Although the client alleged numerous grounds of malpractice, they were ultimately predicated upon the notion that the negligence and misconduct of the attorneys resulted in forcing and coercing the underlying Consent Judgment. However, because the Client had a full opportunity to litigate the issue of coercion, and lost on that, he was now collaterally estopped from relitigating the same issue of coercion in the legal malpractice case. The summary dismissal entered by the trial court was affirmed by a unanimous panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Sandra Glazier on Faculty of the 43rd Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute

Sandra Glazier 2017 webpage photoLipson Neilson Shareholder Sandra Glazier will be presenting as a member of the forty-third Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute’s faculty, on the topic of “Removal and Surcharge of Fiduciaries: Practicality, Obstacles and Defending the Fiduciary.” Sandra is the only attorney from Michigan serving as a member of this year’s nationally based prestigious faculty. This is the third consecutive year that Sandra has been invited to be part of this faculty.

Held in South Bend, Indiana, during October 26-27, this Institute brings together tax and estate planning experts from across the country. During the two-day event, the Institute’s faculty will present on a variety of practical topics, relevant even if there is no estate tax.

An attorney for more than 35 years, Sandra D. Glazier is well-known for her expertise in Probate Litigation, Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Administration, and Family Law. Recognized as a Super Lawyer in probate litigation and an AV-Preeminent Rated attorney, Sandra’s articles have been published by some of the legal industry’s leading publications. Sandra is a shareholder of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C., in its Bloomfield Hills, MI office.

Contact: Sandra Glazier

Phone: 248-593-5000

Email: sglazier@lipsonneilson.com

MICHIGAN SENATOR INTRODUCES LEGISLATION ENABLING 55+ PURCHASE OF MEDICARE

According to Michigan Senator Stabenow, people between the ages of 55 and 64 often have more health problems and face higher healthcare costs who are not yet eligible for Medicare. This bill will let individuals buy into Medicare before you turn 65.

The legislation, if passed, could generate significant cost savings since private insurers are permitted to charge often times three times the rates than what Medicare coverage provides for the same service, while at the same time provide needed additional revenue to the Medicare system.

This legislation also would affect the upward financial strain being felt by various statewide private insurance exchanges, as this insurance coverage is usually the most expensive.

To learn more please visit www.CEPlawyers.com

Attorneys Phillip E. Seltzer and Shawn Grinnen Successfully Obtain Substantially More Than the Appraised Fair-Market Value for Their Client’s LLC’s Membership Interest in an Oppression/Conversion Lawsuit

Phil and Shawn PhotoIn a LLC membership dispute case concerning breach of fiduciary duties, membership oppression, conversion, and aiding and abetting conversion of their client’s membership interest, Attorneys Phillip E. Seltzer and Shawn Grinnen successfully obtained, via settlement, substantially more than the appraised fair-market value of their client’s membership interest in the LLC.

As part of the settlement, the client received $515,000:

  • $320,000 representing the appraised fair-market value of the client’s membership interest.
  • Plus an additional $195,000 representing a compromise on the remaining damage claims against the controlling LLC member and certain other individuals who allegedly aided and abetted the wrongful conduct of the controlling members.

Based on the evidence developed in discovery, the Lipson, Neilson team argued that the Client’s LCC membership interest had essentially been converted. The nature, character and misconduct of the controlling members tortious conduct had essentially denied all meaningful rights in the LCC by the Client – rights that are specifically deemed “personal property” under the LCC Act. Under Michigan law, only personal property (as opposed to intangible business interests) can be the subject of a conversion claim.

By creatively arguing that their client’s LLC membership interest had been wrongfully converted, attorneys Seltzer and Grinnen convincingly demonstrated that the controlling members and those that allegedly aided and abetted it had a strong likelihood of being found liable for not only paying the $320,000 value for the membership interest, but also the potential for treble damages under Michigan’s conversion statute – a statute that also allows for recoupment of attorney fees “in addition to any other right or remedy the person may have at law or otherwise.”

With Summary Disposition motions pending and fearing the Court was about to find the controlling members and the other individual defendants liable for $320,000 in damages plus potential trebling and attorney fees, the defendants agreed to settle for $515,000 in exchange for a final dismissal of the case. The creative use of the conversion statute immeasurably made the case stronger for the client, who was overwhelmingly satisfied for obtaining a resolution that was well in excess of the appraised fair-market value of his membership interest in the LLC Company.

Phillip E. Seltzer: pseltzer@lipsonneilson.com

Shawn Grinnen: sgrinnen@lipsonneilson.com

Lack of Coordination: The Potential for Best Laid Plans to Go Awry

By: Martin S. Shenkman and Sandra D. Glazier[1]

This article was originally published in Leimberg Information Services, Inc. (LISI).

In 1786 Robert Burns wrote his insightful poem commonly referred to as “Mousie”. In it he reflects that upon plowing his fields he undoes the foresight of mice who unfortunately built their nest in Burns’ field. He pens the oft used phrase that “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.[2] In the realm of estate planning, a lack of coordination in the designation of agents, assets and/or beneficiaries frequently causes even the best laid plans to go awry. While subsequent changes to designations made by a client may be beyond our control, attention to the potential difficulties arising from conflicting directions and designations of agents may be a discussion worth having. At least the client who is “forewarned is forearmed”.[3]

Generally, clients come to us with some general, or perhaps even specific, ideas of how they wish to dispose of their property upon death. As part of a comprehensive approach to the client’s estate plan, it’s incumbent upon us to ask who they want to be responsible for administering those assets, not only upon death but also in the event of incapacity. Because the issue of asset management and control can fall under the auspices of different fiduciaries, consideration of who they will be and how they might interact and relate can be extremely important. Creating a comprehensive plan for clients often goes beyond simply drafting estate planning documents.

Planning for aging (and incapacity) requires more than just the traditional preparation of a Will, durable power of attorney (“DPOA”) (and perhaps a revocable trust). The multitude of fiduciary and quasi-fiduciary appointments clients make, almost entirely without professional input, can create conflicts and inconsistencies in the administration of the client’s affairs. Practitioners can provide great assistance to their clients when they expand the scope of their inquiry and client discussions to address issues relating to such appointments and the importance of coordination of fiduciaries named under primary legal documents. Doing so can forewarn the client of pitfalls that could undermine the safeguards the planning team is endeavoring to create. As estate planning remains extremely relevant in implementing client desires, it’s important for practitioners to evolve and consider a broader range of practical, non-technical, considerations that can make our services beneficial to all spheres of client echelons.

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Sandra D. Glazier Selected by Trusts & Estates Magazine to Co-Present “Confronting Undue Influence in Your Practice” in a Webinar for Wealth Management Professionals

Sandra GlazierSandra D. Glazier Sandra D. Glazier has been selected by Trusts & Estates Magazine, the WealthManagement.com Journal for estate-planning professionals, to co-present with Thomas M. Dixon, in a webinar titled, “Confronting Undue Influence in Your Practice.” This free webinar will be Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 2:00pm EDT. Click here to register.

Individuals with estates both large and small can be susceptible to undue influence, which is becoming more prevalent as the basis for attacking estate-planning documents. As our population ages and becomes more vulnerable, the risk of undue influence being exerted increases. Accordingly, it’s increasingly important for attorneys to understand and identify vulnerabilities and the indicia of undue influence. This task becomes critical:

  • During the initial representation phase, in understanding the issue of competency versus undue influence.
  • In the drafting phase, in recommending options and practices to protect the integrity of an estate plan.
  • After death, in being conversant with the ins and outs of litigating undue influence cases.

This webinar will help planning professionals understand undue influence, identify important factors that might give rise to a claim of undue influence, suggest strategies to enhance enforceability of estate-planning documents and recommend tips for litigating undue influence cases.

An attorney for more than 35 years, Ms. Glazier is known for her expertise and successful track record in probate litigation, estate planning, trust and estate administration, and family law matters. The cases she works on tend to be very complex and require technical as well as legal expertise. Ms. Glazier has represented contestants and proponents of estate planning documents, as well as fiduciaries, in significant trust litigation proceedings. An AV Preeminent® rated attorney, she has also been recognized by “Super Lawyers” in probate litigation and a “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness, in the areas of probate, estate and family law.

Ms. Glazier has had numerous articles published by some of the legal industry’s leading publications. In addition, she has presented on estate planning and probate litigation related topics for the American Bar Association, Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute, Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium, Michigan’s Institute of Continuing Education, Oakland County Bar Association, Wilmington Trust’s New York Trust Symposium and the Bloomberg BNA Estate and Gift Tax Advisory Board. She has taught “Valuation for Federal, Estate and Gift Tax Purposes” in a Masters level course. Ms. Glazier is a principal of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. and practices out of their Bloomfield Hills, Michigan office.

Contact: Sandra D. Glazier
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: sglazier@lipsonneilson.com

Summary Dismissal Victory by C. Thomas Ludden and Samantha Heraud

Samantha Kaplan Heraud

Samantha Heraud

C. Thomas Ludden

C. Thomas Ludden

As their initial response to the Complaint, Lipson Neilson challenged whether a defendant had been served with the summons and complaint before the summons expired. After reviewing the parties’ briefs, the Wayne Circuit Court held an evidentiary hearing regarding whether the process server had delivered the summons and complaint to the defendant. Upon completion of the evidentiary hearing, the Wayne Circuit Court granted the motion and dismissed all claims against the defendant.