Your parents owned a business and real estate. They successfully managed the business for decades and built up family assets. They put these assets into a trust where they remained as trustees during their lifetime. When they passed away, successor trustees took over. The successor trustees, through incompetence or even wrongdoing, are damaging your family's economic heritage. They are failing to keep trust property separate and identified, they lack complete and accurate financial records, they are self-dealing, and they are failing to comply with California's requirements for serving as trustees.
MH: Hello, I'm Mike Hackard. I'm the chair of Hackard Law, a law firm focusing on estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation, in California's major urban areas. This is Hackard Law's podcast, It Starts Here. This is an August 2017 podcast featuring Pat McClain, and I'll give you a little background on Pat, but you may already know it but he is the Co-Founder and Senior Partner of Hanson McClain Advisors. He has been in business for more than 24 years, has over 2 billion under management. He is listed as one of the Top 100 Barron's wealth advisors, he has been the co-host of Money Matters radio show for over 20 years. And it's one of the longest, if not the longest-running financial talk radio show in the country. And he is the chairman of the board of Sacramento Food Bank, and for many years he has led that effort and Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving Day, so thank you, Pat.
A trustee who embraces transparency in timely informing beneficiaries of changes in a trust may often bring reconciliation to a family divided by grief and familial stresses. The countervailing movement to transparency is secrecy. Secrecy between trustees and beneficiaries may sow distrust, uncertainty and is fertile ground for imagined wrongs - whether valid or invalid.
Stories of elder financial abuse wrongdoing in 2017 throughout America provide plenty of fuel for fireworks in estate and trust litigation. Let's imagine a meeting of elder financial abuse victims sharing stories that are similar to events the media covered over the summer of 2017. There is literary license, but the essence of the real-life dramas is not lost.
There is an African saying that "If the lion does not tell his story, the hunter will." It doesn't take long as an estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigator for Los Angeles clients to see that estate wrongdoers peddle similar stories to justify their actions. And, if these fanciful stories are not challenged the stories won't be refuted. So how do estate or trust asset hunters engaged in wrongdoing tell their stories? They usually sound something like this:
Recent Judicial Council of California Court Statistics confirm that Los Angeles probate and mental health court trials total over 14,000 per year. Many of these trials involve beneficiary allegations of wrongdoing against a trustee or battles to remove an existing trustee. So what is the background that sets the stage for trustee disputes in LA?