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[...]
Hackard Law is welcoming Heath Langle to our estate and trust litigation team. Heath is well known in Northern California for his legal work in protecting heirs and beneficiaries in estates and trusts. He’s a Professor of Wills and Trusts at Lincoln Law School in Sacramento and studied at San Francisco State University for his undergraduate degree as well as receiving his Juris Doctor from Lincoln Law School in 2005. Heath was admitted to the California State Bar in 2006, both practicing law and eventually teaching classes on estates and trusts at Lincoln Law School.
We, along with our clients, look forward to having him as part of our litigation team – a team that works to protect and their families from financial elder abuse and wr[...]
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 [...]
Problem solving is often a function of experience. Tough cases test our ability to find the right solution. Dubious trust amendments present unique trials.
We litigate many California trust and estate contests. For us, many of these lawsuits are routine.
Sometimes the case circumstances are rare – seeming one-offs. More often, I feel like a surgeon removing his 400th appendix. I’ve been down this road before. I know the difference between the usual and the unusual.
Trust amendment challenges have some common beginnings. A parent makes a trust that is revocable during their lifetime. The parent is called the settlor.
The trust becomes irrevocable at the settlor’s death. There is some type of intervention after the formation[...]
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 in my hometown of 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 [...]
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.
Do you have to do probate when someone dies?
When someone in your family dies in California, you do not have to do probate unless they die without a will. This is called dying “intestate.” A Sacramento, California, estate litigation attorney can help you draft a will and/or create an estate plan to prevent your family from going through probate.
People sometimes believe that they do not need a will unless they are wealthy or own significant assets. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating a will or estate plan not only provides a roadmap for the distribution of your possessions after you die – even if they are modest assets – but also spares surviving family members from having to endure the time-consuming and[...]
“Nothing gained, much lost” describes lost opportunity. In our field of estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation, it can describe lawsuits gone wild.
Most estate and trust litigants have not experienced the rigors of litigation. Once experienced, few would describe it as fun. They might describe it as a necessary choice.
Undue influence on elders that results in estate, trust or elder financial abuse is often the lawsuit’s catalyst. Once started, lawsuits should not take on a life of their own. Civil litigation is designed to gain civil ends. Not to become life’s sole focus.
The common end is the recovery of money or real property. And, the recovery is often following a pretrial settlement. Some 97% of all civil [...]