At Hackard Law, our work is representing clients in estate and probate litigation here in Northern California - from Sacramento to the foothills of Placer and El Dorado, and from the Central Valley to the Bay. I've seen a lot in my 40 years as a lawyer - from great victories for clients to a few very dysfunctional situations where basic mistakes led to an unfavorable outcome. Whatever the area of life, it's best to treat mistakes and failure as a learning opportunity: how can you do better next time?
So let's look at the basic mistakes of estate and probate litigation:
1) No Plan. The old saying is true here - if you fail to plan you plan to fail. The death of a loved one brings grief and in some cases chaos. Who has the Will? Who has the Trust? Who is taking care of Mom? Who is taking care of the business? Do we open an estate? Who are the trustees? Do we use Dad's attorney? Is someone hiding assets?
2) Delay. Grief understandably brings a desire to postpone decision-making. Such postponement may work well - then again it may not. Assets are lost or transferred during periods enveloped in secrecy. Delays may allow the unscrupulous or unqualified to foul things up beyond belief. Indecision can hurt.
3) The Wrong Person for the Job. Estate litigation is different from estate administration, which is different than estate planning. Undisputed estates can be handled by estate planning and estate administration lawyers. They know their job and they can do it well. Probate, estate and trust litigation is different. The advocacy required in contested probate and civil cases is different than the advocacy necessary in probate administrative proceedings. Litigation has its winners and losers. Winning often requires the experience and polished trial skills of an estate litigator.
If you are an heir or beneficiary to a contested estate or trust and you want to see what options you have to protect your interests, don't hesitate to call us to talk about your case. Hackard Law has the strength of experience and sets a standard of excellence. You can reach us at 916-313-3030.