Using An Elisor

Published: 18th January 2012
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I am not a lawyer, I am a Judgment and Collection Agency Broker. This article is my opinion, based on my California experiences, and laws are different in each state. If you want a strategy to use or legal advice, please contact an attorney.

An Elisor is court-appointed person who substitutes their signature for some other person on documents, if that person cannot, should not, or won't sign them.

Sometimes an Elisor stands in the shoes of a coroner or a sheriff (when they are unavailable or unqualified) for the specific purpose of document signing required to complete a court-ordered action.

Elisor laws are usually similar across the nation, however they vary in many states. In California, California code of Civil Procedure 262.8 (c) specifies that when "a sheriff or a coroner is a party, and there is a vacancy in the office of the other, or where it appears, by affidavit, to the satisfaction of the court in which the proceeding is pending, or the judge thereof, that both of these officers are disqualified, or by reason of any bias, prejudice, or other cause, would not act promptly or impartially."

California California code of Civil Procedure 262.8 (c) could be useful if a coroner or a sheriff are parties to some matter, and an affidavit is submitted to the court which claims they may behave in a way not consistent with what their duties require.

An obvious example showing CCP 262.8 (c) is useful, is when there is a business owned by a judgment debtor sheriff or a coroner. Another is if a coroner or a sheriff is a party in a lawsuit, another is when there is an assumption of bias. An example of bias would be if the sheriff is not cooperating with a court order to sell at auction, assets belonging to a the sheriff's relative.

Depending on where you live, Elisor laws might help if the sheriff where you live refuses to pick up someone after the issuance of a bench warrant. Perhaps you could ask a court to appoint an Elisor sheriff to actually arrest a judgment debtor (having a current bench warrant for their arrest) and take them into custody. This does not work in (e.g., California) counties where there is no room in the jails for civil contemners.

What if a debtor owns stocks in a closely-held corporation, and you can't find the "physical certificates"? Note that you don't always need the certificates of a closely-held corporation. Certificates are evidence of ownership, not legal proof of ownership. Some companies never issue physical stock certificates.

When you do require physical certificates (I am not an attorney), perhaps you could start by getting a get a turnover order, and:

A) If the debtor's shares get turned over to you or the sheriff, mission accomplished.

B) If the shares are not turned over because the certificates have not yet been issued, then an order against the corporation to issue the share certificates may be appropriate.

C) If the corporation does not comply, then seek an Elisor order:

1 - File the motion of Elisor, stating the judgment debtor did not comply, and a clerk of the court should be allowed to sign on behalf of the judgment debtor by order of the court. Have the judge sign your order.

2 - Have the court clerk sign the blank stock shares you will provide.

3 - File the signed shares with the Secretary of State.

4 - Set up a meeting of the corporate board, perhaps fire the current board, and liquidate the judgment debtor's corporate assets.

What if the debtor won't sign a property transfer receipt or agreement when you were the highest bidder at a sheriff sale? File the motion of Elisor, and request the court to appoint a clerk to sign on behalf of the debtor.

An Elisor order might be useful when someone does not return property as required by a court order.

In divorces, if one spouse will not sign over an ordered share of a property or a business, an Elisor order may solve the problem and make the transaction legal, because it was ordered by the court.

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