I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We represent clients in California estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation.
I’m often asked: “what is it that you do?” The short answer is “we litigate estate, trust, and elder financial abuse cases.” The answer raises another question: “What’s that?”
So, in explaining what we do, I’ll start with the famous Dragnet opening: “The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Even better, let’s use a Dragnet parody opening: “The story you are about to see is fiction. The names are made up, but the problems are real.”
That’s really it. The problems are real. Let’s look at a common one: “The Entrepreneur’s Wi[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate California estate and trust disputes.
More often than not, the asset in question is a house. Other common assets are bank accounts and securities.
It’s our job to keep up with the law and with changing trends. The ownership of crypto-assets is a changing trend.
Crypto-assets are going mainstream. Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange, estimates that 14% of American adults, roughly 21 million people, own cryptocurrency. This ownership rate is moving upward.
The asset-management industry is working to cash in on cryptocurrencies by launching new products. While progress is slow, there is progress. Cryptocurrency ownership will become more widespread.
This will be a challenge for th[...]
Over 200 million Americans are staying home – sheltering in place. Covid-19, the culprit behind our need to take cover, is capturing the world’s headlines.
And, we Americans, overwhelmed by minute-by-minute breaking news, want our questions answered. Headlines are not enough.
And, the first question is how does the Coronavirus impact our bodies. The answer to the question is better shown, than told.
So, thanks to the generosity of High Impact, a leading team of animators, forensic experts and physicians, this most important question is answered. High Impact is nationally known for assisting firms like Hackard Law in telling stories in ways that mere words cannot describe.
The leaders of High Impact freely share this video wi[...]
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’[...]
My law firm, Hackard Law, litigates estate and trust disputes in most of California’s major urban areas.
A deposition of the drafting attorney is part and parcel of these disputes. I’ve never heard a drafting attorney admit that he prepared an unduly influenced or incapacitated client’s will or trust. Never.
Is this any surprise? How often would a mechanic disclose that he destroyed your car’s engine? A dentist divulge that he filled the wrong tooth? A barber concede that intentionally cut your hair to look like Moe, the leader of The Three Stooges? Well, you get the idea.
Given the number of drafting attorney depositions that we take, we’re often thinking but don’t express: “What were you thinking?” or “Say Wha[...]
You’ve probably heard that “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.” Public opinion guru Dr. Frank Luntz is making a career from this truth – he explains that he is “testing language and find(ing) words that will help his clients” explain their products or public issues.
So, we now have a new word when talking about California trust law, issues, modifications and transfers. It’s a word that we might say, but not necessarily hear or understand. The word is “decanting.”
The word’s general usage is associated with wine – pouring wine from one bottle into a carafe to remove sediment and allow it to breathe. California now gives new meaning to the word in its recently enacted Uniform Trust Decanting Act.
Does your entire estate - property, funds and all - automatically go into probate in the State of California? Despite some popular misconceptions, that's not actually the case. The California probate process does not encompass all of the assets owned by a decedent prior to his or her death. Asset ownership, whether done with long-term estate planning or by happenstance, will determine whether assets are subject to the probate process.
There are various legal forms of ownership within an estate or trust, and these different types of vehicles for securing estate assets help to regulate what will fall under probate and what will stay immune to those proceedings. Let's take a look at the several exceptions to the California probate rule:
We are sometimes asked “what happens to the funds in my 401(k) if I die without a will?” Will the named beneficiary of my 401(k) have difficulty in securing the proceeds of my 401(k)?
Let’s start with who is the beneficiary of a 401(k). Federal law mandates that if you are married, your spouse is automatically the beneficiary of your 401(k) or other pension plan. If you want to have someone other than your spouse the named beneficiary then your spouse must sign a waiver.
Such waivers generally include the following factors:
Identification as the spouse of the 401(k) participant.
Consent to the participating spouse’s designation of beneficiaries.
Acknowledgement that the participating spouse’s designation of any other bene[...]
Today, just six days after the death of Prince, a number of news outlets report that Prince’s sister is filing legal documents requesting that she be appointed the special administrator of her brother’s estate. What does this really mean?
If Prince died without a Will then his assets that are not otherwise disposed will pass by way of Minnesota’s laws on intestate succession. Since Prince did not have a child, spouse or surviving parents Prince’s estate will be divided between his surviving siblings.
News stories suggest that Prince had sophisticated legal and financial advisors over his professional life span. Given this level of advice, it is extremely unlikely that Prince did not have a Trust that held or would hold his ass[...]