When billionaire Douglas Tompkins, the co-founder of two major brands, North Face and Espirit, died in a kayak accident in Chile in December 2015, he left everything in his estate to his second wife, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, as well as to foundations the couple created to preserve land in Chile and Argentina. His two daughters, including Summer Tompkins Walker, and his five grandchildren who live in the Bay Area, were all disinherited. This is yet another case of the widowed stepmother getting almost everything.
As we’ve seen over and over, in instances of blended families, especially when wealthy individuals re-marry and the father and stepmother become estranged from children of earlier marriages, inheritance problems invariably h[...]
The Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE) is now available online. The guide is a national web module designed to support enforcement officers in identifying, intervening, and resolving cases of elder abuse.”
“EAGLE funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and was led by the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, host of the National Center on Elder Abuse.”
Given Hackard Law’s efforts in applying elder financial abuse law to civil wrongdoers, this video will pay general attention to EAGLE’s section on Financial Elder Abuse and specific attention to Recognizing Abusers.
EAGLE defines Financial Elder Abuse as “Using an older adult’s money or assets (pension, home, socia[...]
This weekend I was a presenter at San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu’s Family Wealth Workshop. The title of my presentation was Protecting Against Elder Financial Abuse. I was able to share stories with the community and they in turn shared stories with me. I find this the most gratifying part of these events.
One particular story touched my heart. Details of the story have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. I hope that the spirit of the story stays intact in my telling.
I’ll call him Sam. He is approaching 80. He is retired. He is widowed. He has no children. Other members of his family are also elderly. He shares with me his fear – a fear that he cannot shake. While he has financial assets his ties to his lo[...]
What options does a beneficiary have against a bad trustee?
Let’s say a trustee is abusing their position and not distributing funds to the beneficiary. Maybe they’ve frozen them out of the trust completely and are using other people’s money to enrich themselves: trips to Hawaii, new cars, the whole nine yards. I’ve seen it before.
Let’s start by taking stock of trustee advantages. Trustees usually possess the financial and legal power to defend against trust challenges. This is altogether suitable for trusts that are appropriately formed or amended. But what’s suitable for good conduct doesn’t work in defending bad conduct.
Challenges to trusts formed or amended by bad conduct present many hurdles to challengers – [...]
We take our safety for granted – at home, at leisure and in the workplace. We shouldn’t.
There are men and women sworn to protect us – everyday they go to work knowing that they are at risk – and knowing better than others of the sacrifices that their own brothers and sisters in law enforcement make each day.
Yesterday our community lost one of its sworn protectors – a young man, recently married, strong in spirit and unwavering in commitment. Deputy Mark Stasyuk, just 27, serving the people of Sacramento in its Rancho Cordova community was struck down by a killer’s bullet.
Our governor has ordered our Capitol flags to fly at half-staff in the Deputy’s honor. It seems normal that we go about our everyday lives without[...]
He was one of the greatest spy fiction writers of our era, and his movies and characters will certainly live on for decades, but for all his brilliance as a novelist, Tom Clancy was not good at plotting a satisfying end to his own estate.
When he died on October 1, 2013, at the age of 66, Clancy left behind five children from two marriages, the indelible character, Jack Ryan, and an estate worth $86 million. Unfortunately for his heirs, he also left behind a complicated and expensive problem with the estate planning documents he signed a few weeks before he died.
Like many wealthy people, Clancy had access to excellent attorneys and estate planning professionals, and they advised him to divide his assets into three trusts – one for [...]
He was a war hero, an assistant district attorney, a public defender and later a judge. He was also politically incorrect – far before there was a name for it.
I first met the “judge” when I was 17. I was working at the local gas station pumping gas, cleaning windows and checking oil. In those days it was illegal for motorists to pump their own gas.
The effects of this law were to provide unskilled jobs for high school kids at $1.05 an hour – a time when the cost of a first-class stamp was a nickel.
The judge’s visits to the gas station would put a smile on our faces. He always had a story, asked us questions and listened to our answers. He was unlike most customers – even courteous customers – he showed humor and had[...]
California law provides that punitive damages may be recovered when the defendant is guilty of malice, fraud or malice.
Since the code section uses the word “or,” the allegations need only establish one type of conduct.
California law defines malice as “conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.”
Imagine that you are on a jury and you hear the following case:
It is early July 2017. John is 78 years old. John is retired. John has memory problems. John’s only income, his retirement, is $400 per month. John owns his home in a San Jose neighborhood. There is n[...]