Santa Clara County has become a major battleground for estate and trust litigation in California. When trust beneficiary rights are violated, it’s important to take quick action to safeguard assets and hold wrongdoers accountable.
A trustee has fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries of the trust. This means that, among other things, the trustee should always act in the best interest of the beneficiaries, use reasonable care when managing trust assets, and not commingle personal and trust assets. In some cases, however, trustees breach these duties by engaging in self-interest or other improper behavior. There is a particular risk for this misconduct in cases in which a trustee is also a beneficiary of a trust. Common examples of behavio[...]
Petitions to suspend the powers of a California trustee are part and parcel of trust litigation. They’re often filed with the Probate Division of the Superior Court in which the trust is administered or the trustee resides.
California Probate Code Section 15642 provides in part “If it appears to the court that trust property or the interests of a beneficiary may suffer loss or injury pending a decision on a petition for removal of a trustee. . . the court may, on its own motion or on petition of a cotrustee or beneficiary, compel the trustee whose removal is sought to surrender trust property to a cotrustee or to a receiver or temporary trustee. The court may also suspend the powers of the trustee to the extent the court deems necessar[...]
The Wall Street Journal’s article “The Secrets of Resilience” is full of observations worth sharing. The article explores the patterns that shed light on how some people’s struggles to overcome life’s adversities presage their later success. The article captures the resilient spirit in stories of some notable Americans, among them Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah Winfrey and Louis Armstrong.
Resilience exists across cultures and societies. Its stories animate us in times of great challenge. Winston Churchill, depicted in the Darkest Hour, epitomizes the resilient spirit. The movie ends with a quote attributed to Churchill. Whether Churchill said the words or not they capture the virtue’s potent meaning: “Success is not final; failure[...]
Let me start with this – I am not a psychologist. I am a lawyer – a lawyer who at this stage of my career is heavily focused on estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation. So much so that I wrote a book focusing on estate and trust wrongdoing – The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse.
Writing a book is a terrific learning experience – it causes you to focus on what you know, what you hear and what you probably don’t know. So, I’ll start with what I know, in this case, about the issue of codependency. I know that it is generally defined as a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility or un[...]
Under California law, Los Angeles beneficiaries have fundamental rights that are integral to a fair, timely and equitable distribution of trust assets. While the terms of a trust should be inviolable, there are still unfortunate cases when trustees abuse their authority and commit breach of fiduciary duty. This can result in serious damage to the trust and put a family’s economic future in jeopardy.
When a bad trustee is in charge, all bets are off – they could delay or withhold trust distributions to beneficiaries, conceal or lie about the true state of trust assets, and even drain the trust of all its funds. In instances like these, it’s important for beneficiaries to move quickly to prevent further harm and protect their inheritan[...]
William Shakespeare’s observation that “What’s past is prologue” is a ready reference when we’re thinking about the future. We often see that what has happened until now sets the stage for what will happen in the future. When it comes to California trust, probate and estate litigation the past year – 2017 – is likely a preface to what will take place in 2018.
Hackard Law’s 2017 efforts reflect a period of intense litigation focusing on the protection of elders and/or their beneficiaries against estate and trust wrongdoers. Our firm filed trust or elder financial abuse cases in the probate and civil courts of more than twenty California counties. Our team of lawyers continues to grow in order to handle the influx of cases [...]
For many of us, our expectations of fairness arise from an early childhood experience that struck us as “unfair.” We may have seen an action affecting us or others that dashed our expectations – expectations often grounded in childhood innocence. These events may stay with us and influence our desire for fairness in our lives and in the lives of others.
We often hear that “life is unfair.” Even Ecclesiastes notes that “the race is not always won by the swiftest, the battle is not always won by the strongest; prosperity does not always belong to those who are the wisest, wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning, nor does success always come to those with the most knowledge – for time and chance may ov[...]
Prospective clients often ask whether I’ve ever seen an estate or trust dispute like theirs. Case facts and wrongdoers’ actions seem so outrageous that aggrieved family members may think that their case is a “one in a million.” Of course, given the geographic and litigation scope of our practice, most cases don’t feel like “one in a million.”
An estate and trust litigation practice at times feels like an emergency room. While non-emergency physicians have little opportunity to treat high-energy trauma cases endemic to car accident injuries, emergency room physician see such cases with regularity since nearly 10 percent of all injury-related visits to the emergency room are due to vehicle collisions. So when people come to s[...]
Every year in Los Angeles, elder financial abuse defrauds our senior citizens, stealing away hard-earned retirement income and decades of savings. Families, communities, and the local economy all suffer from this form of financial exploitation. There's plenty more than money involved, though - the well-being of our elderly loved ones and neighbors is on the line. As estate and trust litigation attorneys, we represent beneficiaries and heirs whose rights have been violated, and if necessary we hold perpetrators of elder financial abuse accountable in a court of law.
As the largest and most populous county in California, Los Angeles also has a growing number of senior citizens. In order to prevent elder financial abuse, LA residents have to [...]
We learn by stories. Given our law firm’s position and commitment to LA estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation, we hear lots of stories – stories that many times develop new chapters in Los Angeles County Superior Court. While I can’t reveal attorney client communications, I can take literary license to depict issues of estate theft and wrongdoing that we regularly litigate. In this spirit, let’s go back to June 2016.
My client, “Pamela,” calls me to tell me her 93-year-old “Aunt Martha” died earlier that day in Pasadena. Pamela is the closest living female relative to her aunt. Pamela drives to her Aunt Martha’s house later the same day. Aunt Martha’s caretaker is in the house and at first objects to havi[...]