High-Stakes Estate Litigation

We Represent Clients Involved in Estate-Litigation When Significant Assets are at Risk

Estate litigation can often put the disposition of significant assets into question. Not surprisingly, when a lot of money is on the line, disputes regarding a will or trust can become extremely adversarial. For this reason, anyone involved in high-stakes estate litigation-whether it's a challenge to the validity of a will, an alleged breach of fiduciary duty, or some other dispute-should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles estate litigation attorney, call our office from Santa Clara at (916) 313-3030 or from Los Angeles at (213) 357-5200 today, or contact us online.

Trust and Estate Lawsuits

Hackard Law's estate litigation lawyers are sensitive to how personal these matters are. Losing a friend or relative is usually painful and fraught with emotions. We are keenly aware of our role to not only navigate the law but also counsel our clients. We genuinely regard ourselves as counselors, to guide others through tumultuous and heart-rending situations.

Trial Lawyers

Our seasoned litigators have decades of trial experience. We represent clients in high profile and complex cases. With our breadth, we handle:

  • Cases against fiduciaries (for example, administrators or trustees)
  • Guardianship disputes
  • Will and trust battles

We are versatile and know our way around the courtroom. We understand the unique processes surrounding estate and trust litigation. Probate lawsuits are a complex area of law, for which you should choose the right attorney.

Experience Matters

Estate litigation is significantly different than estate planning, estate administration or other lawsuits. High-stakes litigation requires depth and understanding. We are advisors. Estate issues often overlap with other areas, such as:

Hackard Law's attorneys know the intricacies of these subjects, and use their knowledge to best represent our clients.

Scope of Experience

Hiring the right attorney is an important decision. We understand. With high-stakes estate and trust litigation, it is critical for your attorney to focus on probate and trust disputes. We handle controversies regarding:

  • Fiduciary duty / mismanagement / loyalty
  • Investments
  • Beneficiary fights
  • Heir contests / omitted heirs
  • Adopted children
  • Trust and will contests
  • Claims by creditors (secured and unsecured)
  • Validity of estate-related documents
  • Elder abuse
  • Undue influence
  • Fraud
  • Guardianship
  • Powers of attorney

Our many clients include individual and institutional fiduciaries (such as banks), and high-net-worth individuals and their families. It is our privilege to earn that trust from many prominent, successful businesspersons and philanthropists. And we take great pride in representing more than one generation of clients.

Hackard Law's Promise to You

When you hire Hackard Law, we pledge to give you creativity, efficiency, practical judgment and insight. We work closely with our clients to achieve their objectives. We are "no-nonsense": we tell it like it is, so you know your case's realistic prospects. And when we are engaged in a battle with a formidable adversary, we hit hard, relentlessly, and tenaciously.

We always keep our eye on the ball: to help you win.

Trust and Will Fraud

We handle a variety of trust fraud cases:

  • Breaching the trust provisions: failing to follow trust requirements
  • Self-dealing: this occurs where the trustee places his interests ahead of beneficiaries
  • Commingling: mixing up the trustee's personal assets with those of the trust
  • Mismanagement: failing to soundly investment
  • Improper or failure to provide accounting: the court or beneficiaries must receive a timely accounting of the trust's expense, income, and distributions

In California, a trustee can be removed for many reasons (see California Probate Code §15642). Those reasons include:

  • The trust document's express terms
  • The judge requires removal
  • The trustee violated his fiduciary obligations
  • The trustee is unfit or incapable to properly discharge her responsibilities
  • If there is more than one trustee, they fight among themselves
  • The trustee is paid too much

Will Fraud

Like a trustee, the deceased's personal representative (administrator or executor) owes duties to beneficiaries. A typical example of will fraud happens when someone exerts undue influence (pressures) an elderly individual to modify his or her will. This can happen subtly, often when the senior is sick or on her deathbed.

In California, there are numerous grounds to remove an estate's personal representative from continuing to serve:

  • Waste, embezzlement or mismanagement
  • Neglecting the estate
  • Failing to protect the estate or other interested persons

California High-Stakes Will Contests

Sadly, it happens often. After a death, families quarrel about money, possessions or other valuables. Those fights can tear a family apart.

Can you challenge (object) to a will? It depends upon (a) whether you are an interested person under California law, and (b) if valid grounds exist.

California Probate Code §48 expansively defines interested persons as:

  • A fiduciary representing an interested person
  • Any person having priority for appointment as personal representative
  • An heir, devisee, child, spouse, creditor, beneficiary, and any other person having a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent which may be affected by the proceeding

The statute is flexible, for the unique facts and circumstances of a particular case.

Do You Suspect Fraud in the Administration of a Trust or Estate?

If you suspect will fraud or trust fraud, the stakes are high. You should immediately contact a skilled trust and estates litigator. At Hackard Law, we have many resources to determine if fraud occurred. We use experts (for example, accountants and forensic consultants) to review books and records (such as bank and stock brokerage statements). These complex cases require experience to compute financial losses and explain what happened in an easy-to-understand way. We regularly handle these kinds of cases. Of course, we understand how emotionally hard these cases can be. We will be by your side throughout.

Do You Have Questions about High-Stakes Estate Litigation? Call an Experienced Los Angeles, California, Probate Litigator Today for Help

If you or someone you know suspects will fraud or trust fraud, don't delay. With the passage of time, you may lose important rights. You have much to risk, financially and personally. We can help you. We are the experienced elderly law litigators at Hackard Law. We serve clients throughout California. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (916) 313-3030 from Santa Clara or (213) 357-5200 from Los Angeles. If you'd prefer to send us an email, please fill out and submit our online contact form.