Monthly Archives: February 2016

February 29, 2016

The High Cost of Death

by Morgan Wiener

How many of you have heard your clients complain about the various fees and costs they have to pay after the death of a loved one or the expense of going through the probate process? Well, the next time you hear someone complain, you might want to tell them to be glad they don’t live in England! (Full disclosure: I’ve spent time living and working in England, and it’s a delightful place, even if a little pricey.)

The Financial Times recently reported on a proposal to raise the cost of obtaining probate in England and Wales. Under the proposal, the fees for obtaining probate through the courts, which the Financial Times states is necessary for personal representatives to be able administer an estate, will increase from £155 (or £215 if a lawyer is used) to up to an astonishing £20,000 – or approximately $28,000! The proposed fees would be charged on a sliding scale so that estates valued up to £50,000 (approximately $70,000) would pay no fees, and estates valued above £2 million (approximately $2.8 million) would pay £20,000. These proposed fees would be in addition to any inheritance tax that is owed.

The revenues raised from the proposed fees would go towards the court system and are expected to raise up to £250 million per year.

Practitioners in England and Wales are concerned that the new fees would be especially difficult for cash-poor estates to pay. As with many estates in the United States, the value of many estates in England and Wales is largely comprised of real property. With property prices being so high – the average home price in London is a reported £536,000 – many relatively modest estates would be subject to significantly higher fees under the new proposal and may not have the cash to pay them.

The Ministry of Justice for England and Wales is continuing to consider the proposal and is soliciting comments through April 1. For more information from the Financial Times, click here.

February 15, 2016

2016 Changes to the Colorado Civil Rules

by Rebecca Klock Schroer

The Colorado Supreme Court recently adopted some changes to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. Some of the changes are highlighted below.

The following changes are effective for motions filed on or after April 1, 2016.

Language has been added to C.R.C.P. 10 (Form and Quality of Pleadings, Motions and Other Documents) to clarify that 12 point font size also applies to footnotes. In addition, motions are required to be double-spaced, instead of single-spaced. 

The following word limits have been imposed in C.R.C.P. 121, § 1-15 (Determination of Motions):

…Unless the court orders otherwise, motions and responsive briefs not under C.R.C.P. 12(b)(1) or (2), or 56 are limited to 15 pages (but not more than 4,000 words), and reply briefs to 10 pages (but not more than 2,500 words), not including the case caption, signature block, certificate of service and attachments. Unless the court orders otherwise, motions and responsive briefs under C.R.C.P. 12(b)(1) or (2) or 56 are limited to 25 pages (but not more than 6,500 words), and reply briefs to 15 pages (but not more than 4,000 words), not including the case caption, signature block, certificate of service and attachments. All motions and briefs shall be double-spaced, except for footnotes and quotes.

Furthermore, C.R.C.P. 121, § 1-15(1)(d) provides that a motion cannot be included as part of a response or reply.

C.R.C.P. 121, § 1-12 (Matters Related to Discovery) has been revised to address situations when the court requires an oral discovery motion. Specifically, when the court directs that a discovery motion be made orally under Rule 26(c), the discovery is stayed once the movant has provided written notice that a hearing has been requested.  In addition, there is a duty to confer before filing a notice of hearing of an oral discovery motion under Rule 37(a).

There were a few more changes to the civil rules with various effective dates, including but not limited to the rules regarding class actions and garnishments. A link to a redline of the changes can be found here.