Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an integral part of virtually all California civil lawsuits. ADR encompasses mediation, arbitration, court settlement conferences and neutral case evaluation. Less than 3% of civil lawsuits proceed to an actual trial.
So, mediation of a civil lawsuit is common. The common mediation scenario starts at the mediator’s office. The parties to the lawsuit are assigned different meeting rooms. Some mediators start the mediation with an introduction that gathers the parties together in the same room.
Now, you see where we’re going.
Given the current heightened concerns over the high contagion factor of COVID-19, two leading California mediation groups have issued outbreak advisories for mediation[...]
Over years of litigating probate, trust and estate battles, our clients frequently ask the question: Do many families go through estate battles like the one we are experiencing?
What first comes to our mind, as a response to the inquiry is Leo Tolstoy’s observation from Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Estate litigation battles, often outgrowths of unhappy families, have their own distinctive troubles. That said, the more estate battles we see, the more certain prevalent patterns become evident.
We represent people who challenge the wrongdoing of others in estate-related matters. Familiar grounds of challenge often arise from undue influence and financial elder abuse a[...]
In the current age of digital information and global business, many estates present complicated issues involving international law. A testator may execute a will in one country and eventually die in another. Different countries across the world may harbor assets. Different tax regulations, probate laws, and administrative regulations may apply in each of these countries.
All of these complications can raise disputes among beneficiaries and increase the chances of probate litigation. The experienced Los Angeles estate litigation attorneys at Hackard Law also serve areas throughout California, including Sacramento, San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara. Here, they explain some of the complicated legal issues present within internatio[...]
For many people who make wills, the most important provision is identifying the beneficiaries who will inherit financial assets, real estate, and sentimental personal property. These generous testators often want to leave something for everyone. Unfortunately, when vast numbers of family, friends, and loved ones become involved, the chances of a will contest can increase.
Complicated legal issues and property disputes often require the assistance of a probate attorney. The experienced Los Angeles estate litigation attorneys at Hackard Law serve areas throughout California, including Sacramento, San Francisco, Alameda, and Santa Clara. Below, they explain the potential complications raised in situations involving multiple heirs.
California has incorporated scientific knowledge into statutes defining undue influence and financial exploitation of elders. These legislative efforts culminated back in 2014 with the effective application of the new California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. These statutes provide a powerful remedy against undue influence, including instances of deathbed transfers.
Undue influence is defined by California Probate Code Section 15610.70 as “excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in inequity.” It includes four elements:
Vulnerability of the victim
Apparent authority of the influencer
Even when a will is set in place, when a family member dies, disputes can arise as to the division of assets and settling the estate. The probate process must resolve all financial and property-related disputes caused by a person’s death. Because of this, probate courts are sometimes tasked with solving strange and unexpected problems.
This was the case after the recent death of notorious cult leader Charles Manson on November 19, 2017. Three months after his death, family members are still struggling to even get a hearing to resolve their conflicting claims to his remains.
Whatever common or uncommon problems you face, an experienced Santa Clara and Los Angeles probate attorney can protect your rights during the administrat[...]
A spouse or child who is omitted from a will may have the legal right to choose an elective share of the estate. California law provides for these family members to ensure that a will does not accidentally exclude them from important property rights. The experienced Los Angeles estate attorneys at Hackard Law focus on estate law. Their skills may protect omitted family members and enforce their legal rights.
What Is a Pretermitted Heir?
A pretermitted heir is one who was omitted from a will. Spouses and children, for example, have the right to inherit even when a will does not specifically mention them, because California—like other states—has adopted statutes that protect them. Section 21610 of the California Probate Code allows [...]
Vacation homes are about people and places. We have fond memories of friends and family in places often visited. So, when we speak of vacation homes, we know that they are more than just bricks and mortar. They are family history – a chronology of our lives.
When it comes to estate planning for these properties, we need to give more than passing attention. I know – we do estate and trust litigation, and we’ve seen the multiple ways that vacation homes can challenge estate and trust administration. I’ll give a few of them. Identifying facts have been changed to protect the privacy of the participants.
A loving dad’s Monterey-area vacation home was in his trust at the time of his death. The dad, the settlor of the trust, direc[...]
The California administration and distribution of estate assets can raise many questions. And, families faced with these questions seek answers. Wills, trusts, insurance policies, bank accounts and securities are subject to different laws.
This video is about intestate estates, those where the person has died without a will. I’ll use this fictionalized account to explain how intestate heirs may divide estate assets by agreement.
Mom, a widow, dies without a will. At the time of her death, Mom owns a Castro Valley house in Alameda County. The house is titled solely in her name. The house is free and clear of a mortgage. It is valued at $840,000.
Mom also has $700,000 in a Fremont Bank savings account. The bank account is in Mom’[...]
Respect for elders is a basic foundation of many cultures and religions. Its neglect or absence is traumatic and disheartening to both societies and families.
No doubt, aging brains bring many challenges to elders, their families, and caregivers.
Responding to the challenges can be awkward. Functional decline, dementia, and depression can make communication difficult. They can also make abuse, neglect and financial exploitation more likely.
I share these thoughts from experience in representing elders and their families who’ve suffered financial elder abuse. Sometimes it’s too late for us to do something about it. Sometimes we catch it just in time.
Whether the wrongful act is done, in process, or not yet started, we need to[...]