Hi, I’m Mike Hackard. I’m a trial advocate. I love what I do.
It involves people. Lives rich in humanity. In stories that touch us. That reach across generations. These stories have characters, plots and motives – and mysteries.
Trust beneficiary litigation often involves, in the eyes of objective observers, innocent people. People that did no wrong. We’re tasked to speak for them - to do so with respect and humility.
To take facts and work them into a compelling narrative. Not to exaggerate. To admit mistakes. To not promise that which we can’t deliver.
It’s so important that I listen. That we listen. People make mistakes. Our clients make mistakes. Serious trust beneficiary litigation involves more than mistakes.
Hi, I’m Mike Hackard. I want to tell you about a son, we’ll call him Jacob, who had to sue his sister, Charlotte, to receive his inheritance. Their mom died earlier this year. Their mom’s California home, worth about a million dollars, is titled in a trust.
Jacob’s mom told him many times that the home would be sold after her death and the proceeds would be split equally between Charlotte and him. Charlotte has been living in the home over the past five years. Charlotte has difficulty in keeping jobs and was unemployed even before moving to their mom’s home. She continued to be unemployed. She lived off of her mom.
Charlotte will not let Jacob into the home. She’s prevented him from entering since mom’s February 2020 dea[...]
You are the beneficiary of your father’s trust. You’re also the successor trustee. Your father created the trust. This makes him the settlor.
He is also the trustee. He manages the trust. He names himself as the trust’s primary beneficiary of the trust during his lifetime.
You become the successor trustee at his death. You now have the duties of management and administration. You and your three siblings are beneficiaries of the trust. You are not trained for this.
Trust assets include rental properties, the family home, and stocks and bonds. You have the duty to marshal the assets. This means you are to organize and ultimately distribute assets to creditors and beneficiaries.
Contractual or legal claims are also assets of [...]
Scott and Ascher on Trusts is widely regarded as the leading American authority on the law of trusts. That’s why I keep its set of eight volumes on my desk and within easy reach.
It’s full of practical advice on protecting the rights of beneficiaries and would-be beneficiaries. I read it regularly and search for insights that might have eluded me.
Trust challenges, for the most part, arise from the actions of an existing trustee or prior actions of beneficiaries that unduly influenced the trustor – the maker of the trust. Most of these trusts have more than one beneficiary or would-be beneficiary who can sue to overturn, enforce or otherwise affect the trust and the distribution of trust assets.
My early conversations with a [...]
An accused’s right to a speedy trial is one of our most basic Constitutional rights. It starts when a criminal prosecution begins. It serves both the interests of defendants and society alike.
There is no constitutional right to a speedy jury trial in civil proceedings. That said, as a former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice observed:
“The right to trial by jury in civil cases at common law is fundamental to our history and jurisprudence. A right so fundamental and sacred to the citizens should be jealously guarded.”
COVID-19 shutdowns have forced lawyers and their clients to confront the contradiction between protecting this fundamental right and its loss or severe limitation occasioned by widespread governmental orders. Ord[...]
You’re concerned – frustrated – baffled.
Your mom or dad is in failing health. Maybe they’ve been taken in a senior scam. Maybe their bills are piling up. They don’t remember how to pay them. Or they’ve left the stove on hours after cooking. You can fill in the blanks.
I saw this with my own mom. My friends have seen it with theirs. But you have not faced this before.
You talk with your mom or dad about your concerns. To them everything is fine. You have few people that you can talk to about this. So, you go online.
You see they’re lots of lawyers describing themselves as conservatorship attorneys. In California there are licensed fiduciaries. They advertise themselves as compassionate. You want to read the fine pr[...]
Hi, I’m Mike Hackard. Our lawyers at Hackard Law litigate estate, trust and elder financial abuse cases for seniors and their families.
This summer we’re seeing an increase in elder exploitation – specifically the abuse of powers of attorney. It’s now been four months since Governor Gavin Newsom called for the isolation at home of all residents 65 years and older.
The Governor’s orders later expanded to affect all age groups. There have been unexpected drawbacks to the order and to similar orders throughout the world.
Experts say there is a “horrifying surge” in domestic violence around the world since COVID-19 lockdown policies went into effect. Growing numbers of domestic violence victims have been reported througho[...]
Rightful life insurance beneficiaries assume that their beneficial interest will not be changed by fraud, undue influence or mistake. They expect that their claim will be properly evaluated and paid to them by their loved one’s insurance companies.
Yet, many times rightful beneficiaries find that this is not the case.
The reason is simple. Insurance companies are for-profit enterprises. They don’t want to pay twice.
Most of the time they will deposit the policy proceeds into an account controlled by the court.
If you believe that your claim has been underpaid or denied, or you just want us to review your case, call us at 916-313-3030 or visit hackardlaw.com.
Hackard Law: for Abused Beneficiaries and Heirs.
I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. California is my home and has been for all of my life.
I went to college and law school here. We’ve raised our family here in Sacramento. It’s a privilege for me to serve the California community from our office right here in Sacramento County.
I have an AV Preeminent Rating granted by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™. This rating is limited to an elite group of approximately 10 percent of all attorneys. And, I’ve earned this rating for decades.
If you have a trust, estate, or financial elder abuse dispute, call us at 916 313-3030 or visit hackardlaw.com. You’ll get the understanding and experience of a local team and the power of a law firm that litigates for clients through[...]
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.