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Estate & Probate Litigation Archives

Too Good to Be True | Estate Delusions of Grandeur

Delusions of Grandeur Estate Litigation.jpgIt's fun for me to reflect upon some of the funny things and experiences that I've encountered over the years. My memory of some real-world events only permits to share the essence of the experiences. I've changed identifying details to protect both privacy and attorney client confidences. Given the changes, any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Humor from on High | U.S. Supreme Court Musings

Humor in the Courtroom.jpg

CA Elders & Financial Capacity | Knowledge, Skills & Judgment

Financial Capacity California Seniors.jpgCalifornians have increasing concern over the frequency of elder financial abuse. The concerns are reasonable and prudent. California's 65 and over population is 14% of the state's overall population - that's over 5 million people.

Estate, Trust & Elder Financial Abuse Litigators | The Fighting Spirit

Resilience in Trust and Estate Litigation.jpgThe Wall Street Journal's article "The Secrets of Resilience" is full of observations worth sharing. The article explores the patterns that shed light on how some people's struggles to overcome life's adversities presage their later success. The article captures the resilient spirit in stories of some notable Americans, among them Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey and Louis Armstrong.

Wills & Undue Influence | Suspension of the Exercise of Reason

Will Estate Undue Influence.jpgThe roots of 21st Century inheritance laws run deep into the cradle of Western Civilization. The ancient Greek Athenian leader Solon made great efforts to devise a law code that ultimately became one of the foundations of democracy. This code helped establish rules for a civilized society. Part of the code addressed inheritance rights. Prior to the code an Athenian could not make a will. At death the wealth and assets of the decedent simply belonged to his family.

What If There's No Will? | Get Inheritance Rights in Writing

What if There's No Will? | Get Inheritance Rights in RightingNow this happens all the time. Uncle Buster tells you that you're going to inherit his house. Now you love Uncle Buster, and you want him to live to a ripe old age. But you know in your heart that when Uncle Buster dies you are going to inherit his house. Uncle Buster let a few other relatives and neighbors know that he was eventually going to give you the house.

Stopping Estate Theft | LA Probate Litigation Attorney

Los Angeles Trust Estate Theft Attorney | Probate LitigationWe learn by stories. Given our law firm's position and commitment to LA estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation, we hear lots of stories - stories that many times develop new chapters in Los Angeles County Superior Court. While I can't reveal attorney client communications, I can take literary license to depict issues of estate theft and wrongdoing that we regularly litigate. In this spirit, let's go back to June 2016.

It Starts Here Podcast: Ep. 8 | Dan Collins on Receivership

It Starts Here Podcast: Ep. 8 | Dan Collins on ReceivershipMH: 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 October 2017 podcast featuring Dan Collins, a well-experienced California receiver. We're going to discuss how a receiver can help clean up very messy family business situations both inside and outside of an estate. Dan has stories to tell and lessons for all of us to learn. I first want to compliment him on his outfit, you know, the blue, and it's just standing out... I don't know how you came up with it. But in any event, thanks for being here, Dan.

Joint Accounts | Do They Belong to the Estate or Co-Signer?

Estate Litigation Joint Accounts.jpgWhen "an elderly person with a joint bank account dies, do the funds belong to the decedent's estate or do they belong to the additional signer as a co-owner of the account?" A recent California Court of Appeal case held that "[s]ums remaining on deposit at the death of a party to a joint account belong to the surviving party . . . as against the estate of the decedent unless there is clear and convincing evidence of a different intent."[1] This is a basic or black-letter rule, a clear statement of the law. It is also a trap for those inclined to seize upon a seemingly clear explanation of the law that leaves no room for interpretation or nuance.

Safe Deposit Boxes in Estate Disputes | Trust Litigation

Safe Deposit Estate Trust Litigation.jpgAnxiety fueled by grief is a part of the inventory process of a decedent's property. A family member is tasked by practicality, family consensus, or an estate document to gather a decedent's assets. Some assets are obvious - a house, documented bank accounts and securities and onsite personal property. Other assets are more opaque - physically separated in a financial institution safe deposit box or a house or office safe.

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