In estate disputes, dishonest and overreaching trustees may try and block a wronged beneficiary or heir's ability to get relief. When such beneficiaries or heirs lack the financial ability to engage lawyers and challenge wrongdoing, it is quite frustrating that the legal system that we all rely on is accessible to the wealthy, but more difficult to access for the poor. This is the reason that our system, unlike some other legal systems, allows contingency fees in many circumstances.
Many attorneys are hesitant to take a probate, trust & estate litigation case on a contingency fee basis because the monetary recovery may not be sufficient to cover the cost of litigation. This is a problem that should be discussed with lawyers who regularly represent clients - in relation to both hourly and contingency fee arrangements.
Experienced estate litigators should discuss fee options with wronged beneficiaries and heirs. The simple truth is that many times, people who do not have the financial means to pay an attorney by the hour may be able to engage an attorney on a contingency fee basis to seek justice and get their case litigated.
Litigation is expensive. We represent a large number of California clients on a contingency fee basis in will and trust contests. It is our experience that these cases also constitute financial elder abuse of the testator (will maker) or trust maker (settlor and/or trustee), and we often pursue wrongdoers in the civil courts where jury trials are available.
California estate attorneys must abide by statutory (Business and Professions Code Section 6147) and ethical rules (California Rules of Professional Conduct 4-200) in all agreements for legal services. We are dedicated to serving our clients consistent with these standards and protecting their interests.
If you are a wronged beneficiary of a trust, disinherited from a will or need to bring wrongdoers to justice for financial elder abuse, call us at Hackard Law. Our number is (916) 313-3030. We'll be happy to speak with you about your case.