Burden of Proof | Trust & Estate Litigation
- September 30, 2021 - Trust Litigation,
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We do trust & estate litigation in some of California’s largest urban areas.
We respond to dozens of inquiries every month from family members of deceased or cognitively impaired elders. These inquiries often focus on prevention, prosecution, and recovery for financial abuse.
The financial abuse may be the result of undue influence, outright theft, or a combination thereof. Every case has its own character.
One characteristic, commonly shared, is the litigation burden of introducing evidence, to make a prima facie case – meaning there’s enough evidence to proceed to trial or judgment. California courts have long used the phrase “burden of going forward with the evidence.”
This is the burden on the party bringing the case to prove particular facts essential to the claim. The law determines the burden.
In jury trials, the judge instructs the jury as to which party bears the burden. The obligation often rests on showing what is more likely true than not true.
Whether fielding inquiries, taking cases, or preparing for trial, we must keep in mind the burden of proof. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” may not get us to where we need to go.
When there are significant estate planning changes, the more remote the change, the less likely it will be found as satisfactory proof of undue influence. When a lifetime of a relative’s care and hard work is snatched away near the hour of death, the existence of undue influence may be more compelling.
If you would like to speak with us about your case, call us at Hackard Law.
916-313-3030. We’ll be happy to hear from you.
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