This is Sacramento, CA in June 2020. After the death of George Floyd on May 25, waves of protests erupted worldwide. Many businesses boarded their windows when violence broke out alongside protests. Some were forced to close because of looting. Others had to shut down due to COVID-19. We don’t know how many were boarded up because of looting or over the lockdown. The city is in shock. Many businesses cautiously reopen next to permanently-closed neighbors. Will Sacramento return to normal soon?
Estate planning meltdowns touch many families. – small and large. Celebrity estate fights spotlight the mishaps of the rich and famous. But, far more common misfires hit the local probate court docket with little fanfare.
Little fanfare does not mean little pain. Family members fighting to reverse unexpected transfers of a deceased family member’s assets feel deep wounds. These wounds may flow from betrayal, duplicity, even treachery.
These are strong words. Do case facts mirror such words? Let’s look at one common scenario and see.
Second-family disputes occupy their share of court dockets. We know that divorce is an American constant. Some 50% of marriages end in divorce. And, many divorced men and women remarry.
Today I was honored to speak to the West Sacramento Rotary Club on how to spot and prevent elder financial abuse. With our economy and society in an especially vulnerable state, the challenge of elder exploitation isn’t going away – and we need to be ready to tackle it head-on.
With its large population of senior citizens, California is a major flashpoint in this ongoing fight to protect our elderly loved ones. In my presentation I showcased ways to detect and stop wrongdoing drawn from my two books, The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse and Alzheimer’s, Widowed Stepmothers & Estate Crimes. The facts they share are more relevant than ever.
It was a pleasure speaking with West Sacramento’s Rotary C[...]
Do you have to do probate when someone dies?
When someone in your family dies in California, you do not have to do probate unless they die without a will. This is called dying “intestate.” A Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney can help you draft a will and/or create an estate plan to prevent your family from going through probate.
People sometimes believe that they do not need a will unless they are wealthy or own significant assets. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating a will or estate plan not only provides a roadmap for the distribution of your possessions after you die – even if they are modest assets – but also spares surviving family members from having to endure the time-consuming and[...]
“Nothing gained, much lost” describes lost opportunity. In our field of estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation, it can describe lawsuits gone wild.
Most estate and trust litigants have not experienced the rigors of litigation. Once experienced, few would describe it as fun. They might describe it as a necessary choice.
Undue influence on elders that results in estate, trust or elder financial abuse is often the lawsuit’s catalyst. Once started, lawsuits should not take on a life of their own. Civil litigation is designed to gain civil ends. Not to become life’s sole focus.
The common end is the recovery of money or real property. And, the recovery is often following a pretrial settlement. Some 97% of all civil [...]
Robin Hood is a legendary outlaw lionized in English folklore, literature and movies. While a fictional character, folklore identifies Robin as a former soldier of the crusades. When he returns to England from battle, he finds his family dead, his lands confiscated, and England’s royalty rife with corruption.
Robin changes his life and his attitudes. He steals from the rich and gives to the poor. He is a criminal.
The people see this in a different light. Robin treats women, the poor, and common people with courtesy and respect. The people view his actions as a revolt against the existing authority. An authority drunk on power and privilege.
Historians identify the literary origins of Robin Hood as poetic expressions of popular a[...]
It’s easy to love a winner. And, in its own way it’s easy for a lawyer to represent a winner - the rich - the powerful.
They pay well. They bring prestige - credibility. They may have some powerful allies. That said, our heart is often with the underdog.
Films capture this well. Rudy, thought too small to play college football, overcomes the odds and fulfills his dream of playing for Notre Dame. Rocky, a poor South Philly small-time boxer, gets a chance to fight a heavy-weight champion. Dr. Richard Kimble, “The Fugitive,” unjustly accused of killing his wife, fights against all odds to find the real killer while escaping a nationwide manhunt.
Some of our estate and trust litigation cases might well be title “Against All O[...]
We’re in our 10th week of the Coronavirus lockdown rules. Civil dissent is growing over the length and breadth of the lockdown.
At their worst, the lockdowns “forcefully reduce the income of people at low risk, while simultaneously increasing virus exposure for those at high risk.” Those states that forced the discharge of hospital patients to nursing homes resulted in widespread deaths
Everyday life restrictions have impoverished millions of people, while America’s rich are at little risk of poverty. In the words of Peggy Noonan,
“Our news professionals the past three months have made plenty of room for medical and professionals warning of the illness. Good, we needed it, it was news. They are not now paying an equal degre[...]