I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We’ve been sharing our videos on YouTube for over seven years now. It’s been a fun, challenging, and invigorating process.
It’s also a reminder that talk is different than experience. Some of the subjects that we address are new to us. They might be our initial forays into a niche. Or they just might be something that I thought would be fun to write and talk about.
That said, we have made a concentrated effort to share the lessons from experience in our field of litigation – in particular, estate and trust litigation. There are many aphorisms about the benefits of experience and the detriment of its counterpart - inexperience. Here’s one:
“Good judgment comes from experience; experie[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate estate and trust disputes in California’s Superior Courts. We do this on a contingency fee basis.
Our Northern California practice covers Sacramento and the Bay Area. Our Southern California practice extends from Los Angeles/Ventura Counties to Orange and San Diego Counties.
Estate and trust disputes span a wide spectrum of wrongdoing, assets, and legal complexities. Experience counts. So does loving what we do. At Hackard Law, we love what we do.
Our clients are interesting, our cases challenging, and our quest for good results energizing. Our cases are grounded in storytelling. Stories of families, their life’s work, and often interference with long held expectations.
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate estate and trust cases on a contingency fee basis in most of California’s large urban areas. These cases involve wealth and wealth transfers.
Clients seeking recourse for wrongful exclusion from parents’ or other family members’ estates and trusts have a choice of hourly fee or contingency fee arrangements. There is a distinction.
An attorney takes a significant risk in taking a case on a contingent-fee basis. The contingency fee agreement generally allocates a certain percentage of the recovery to the lawyer. As the California Supreme Court explained in Rader v. Thrasher, a 1962 case:
“A contingent fee contract, since it involves a gamble on the result, may properly provide [...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We represent wronged heirs and beneficiaries of estates and trusts in California’s largest urban courts.
I first represented clients in a probate proceeding over four decades ago. I’ve long believed our probate courts have difficulty in fully addressing the wrongdoing caused by thieves of estate and trust assets.
Remedies are limited while the wrongdoings are limitless.
The California Legislature has gradually expanded remedies for estate wrongdoing. Elders and dependent adults now have more protection against financial elder abusers.
Still, taking action can be expensive, time intensive, and even impacted by secret wrongdoing. Litigators for aggrieved heirs and beneficiaries seek new way[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. I handled my first will challenge over 45 years ago.
Much has changed in the world of law. That said, will challenges, unlike trust challenges, are similar to what they were back then.
Wills can present unexpected windfalls or the transfer of treasured possessions. They can bring families together or split families apart. Getting disinherited can feel like abandonment or expulsion from the family. It hurts. Heirs want to look behind it. So, let’s talk about the bases for California will challenges.
Lack of Formalities
In California, oral wills that are not in writing are invalid. A will can be typed or handwritten. The maker of the will, called the testator, does not need to type the will h[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate contingency fee trust and estate disputes.
Hundreds of things can go wrong in trust formation and trust administration. Some preventive measures can help to make some things go right.
Safe deposit boxes and home safes are common in family estates. Safe deposit boxes cannot be accessed by anybody. In California, co-renters can access the box without other co-renters present. If the renter is deceased, the person accessing the box must provide a death certificate, driver’s license or other valid ID, and the key to the box.
It is my experience, at least as to litigated cases, I’ve never seen it where a decedent provided anyone with a safety deposit box inventory - or for that matte[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate California estate, trust, and elder financial abuse cases.
Our cases enfold classic human dramas. Dislocation from families. Lives changed. Secrets revealed. Chaos.
Stepfamilies present particular dramas. Intestacy and stepchildren issues are one of them.
The characters and events depicted in this story are entirely fictional. The referenced law is real.
Ron and Sandy met in 2005. Ron had never been married. Sandy had been married. She and her first husband had three children. The first marriage ended soon after the third child was born.
Ron and Sandy married in 2006. They had little in the way of separate property. They worked hard and secured high paying Silicon Valley jobs[...]
I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. One thing at Hackard Law I’m proud of is our estate and trust litigation videos on YouTube.
We’ve made over 700 videos, with seven thousand subscribers and over four and a half million views. Our videos focus on issues that families care about – trusts, estates, and elder financial abuse.
There are at least ten things that strike us, consciously or unconsciously, when we first answer a new client’s phone call.
One: The area code. You know how this goes. You see an area code displayed on your phone. I can recognize a number of them. Other times they seem peculiar.
This is not unusual. While we only practice law in California, we get calls from all over the country. I’ve also advised pe[...]
I’m Mike Hackard. I’m an estate and trust beneficiary rights litigator with Hackard Law.
I became an attorney when Gerald Ford was President. Now, eight Presidents later, I’m still practicing law, and I still like it.
We represent clients in both Northern and Southern California’s largest trial courts. Our case load reflects real-world issues that Californians face.
It’s estimated that about 17% of people remarry after the first marriage ends. Stepmoms and stepdads’ relationships with their biological children and stepchildren are different. It can be challenging for a biological child to accept a second marriage. Difficulties can persist despite the good faith best efforts of all.
Some aspects of these difficulties [...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. Our YouTube videos deal with the challenges of elder abuse, estate litigation, and trust disputes.
We address inquiries from over twelve hundred people per year – many of whom have seen one or more of our videos. Most inquiries don’t turn into cases. But they do allow us to share useful information and help people who wonder if they have a case.
How do we make decisions as to whether we take a case? Effective decision making is a four-part process: We gather facts; apply our intuition; make a reasonable judgment; and see how what we know generally fits within legal authority.
For now, I’m only going to focus on intuition. Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, witho[...]