Probate, estate and trust litigation is challenging. Successful trial preparation in a disputed undue influence, capacity or financial elder abuse case requires a consideration of many factual elements. Included among such elements is an attention to detail, family history, timelines and understanding and review of jury instructions. To accomplish this preparation, the litigation team at Hackard Law utilizes checklists (task lists, to-do-lists, jury instructions lists, and others).
A key preliminary part of our task checklist is the preparation of a Family Tree. We utilize Ancestry.com in this preparation. The Ancestry program allows Hackard Law to prepare a Private Family Tree that only members of the law firm may see. This Tree is an important part of understanding the dynamics of an estate dispute. The Tree easily identifies birth dates, marriages, divorces and death dates. It doesn't take much imagination to see why family conflicts may be brewing when you see a series of marriages with accompanying children and stepchildren.
Many estate disputes arise between the children of a first family and a surviving stepmother of a second or third family. Disputes involving half siblings are often part and parcel of these financial quarrels. The Ancestry program allows us to visually identify the various parties to the dispute and their particular kinship to the decedent. We can look at the particularities of family relationships in a variety of ways - all allowed by the Ancestry program.
Determination and delineation of ancestry is only a part of the preparation required in estate litigation. While this is an early part of preparation there are many other parts that cannot be ignored. Estate and trust litigation is ultimately a mix of art and science. Thinking and doing. Identifying the quantitative and finding the best ways of effectively communicating these facts in broadly understandable ways to a judge and/or jury.
If you are looking to hire a law firm for a complex probate, estate or trust litigation case, Hackard Law's trust, estate and probate litigation attorneys are happy to speak with you. We regularly litigate in the Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville, San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas). Call us today at 916 313-3030.