I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. This is part four of our What if series.
We’ve posed a number of questions in each part of the series – or what ifs – common to estate and trust litigation. Here are a few more unusual ones.
What if trust beneficiaries know of questionable estate planning changes while the maker of the trust is alive, and they don’t try to challenge them?
What if a trustee is trying to profit from his own wrongdoing?
What if the decedent’s will doesn’t include a child who was born or adopted after the signing of the decedent’s testamentary instrument?
What if trustees do not have clear and accurate records for the time that they served as trustees of a trust?
What if a person i[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. This is part three of our “What If” series.
Each series has a number of questions – or "what ifs" – common to estate and trust litigation. Here are a few more.
What if family members and friends want to petition the court to obtain an anti-isolation restraining order against someone who is repeatedly preventing contact with an elder or dependent adult?
What if an agent under a financial power of attorney exploits an elder by using fraudulent, illegal, unauthorized, or improper acts that use the elder’s resources for the agent’s monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain?
What if property acquired by a married person during the marriage is titled only in the name of the other [...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. Recently we’ve spent some time addressing the common and maybe not so common what-if-scenarios that are part of the mosaic of estate and trust litigation.
So, let’s continue with our What If series – Part Two.
What if a person meddles with and assumes the management of trust property even if she is not the duly appointed trustee?
What if one without authority undertakes to administer entrusted property and incurs losses?
What if a document preparer prepares a trust that was never reviewed by an attorney?
What if a trustee who is also a beneficiary puts his interests above the other trust beneficiaries?
What if a trustee refuses to give beneficiaries, upon request, complete and a[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. Do you ever ask yourself about a particular situation, “What if things had gone differently?”
Strategists regularly use what-if-scenarios to ponder alternative results to wars and military campaigns. They can be used as a tool to better understand history. They can also be used to question long-held assumptions.
While we are not historians, we use our own what-if-scenarios in litigation. We maintain a heavy California caseload focused on estate and trust disputes. Each case has different facts, different jurisdictions, and different law.
Winston Churchill said that “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We make it a point to learn from history. And, if possible,[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We often represent beneficiaries in actions to compel distribution of trust assets.
The beneficiaries are usually family members. The trustee, the adverse party, is frequently a family member as well. The settlor, the maker of the trust, is normally a parent.
These cases rise from the failure of the trustee to distribute trust assets in a timely manner. Typical trust provisions require the trustee to terminate the trust upon the death of the settlor and distribute the assets outright and free of trust to the settlor’s beneficiaries – often the settlor’s children.
So, what happens? An example.
The settlor, the mother of three adult children, dies in 2016. The settlor’s son is named the[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate California trust and estate real-life dramas. At their best, they embody tense conflict followed by resolution.
Anecdotes about real people or incidents can teach more than volumes of facts and figures. These stories are about trustees who drop the ball, fumble funds, and louse up trustee reporting and beneficiary distributions.
It starts with a trusting and caring parent who names the loved ones they want to receive their estate or trust possessions. They hope that they’ve named a trustworthy estate or trust representative to fulfill their intent.
And, in the great majority of cases these designated fiduciaries prove to be trustworthy. We litigate the exceptions to the rule.
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We regularly litigate family estate and trust disputes.
At its best, a dispute settlement may help the parties find a path to family healing. At its worst, hearts are hardened, and petty jealousy and arrogance spread.
I need only to look at the trust cases that we’ve litigated and are litigating to see how impasse, standoff, deadlock and sibling greed can enflame inheritance disputes. We can look to one of our oldest stories to explore family tragedies - Cain and Abel.
Cain, a farmer, is jealous of his brother Abel, a shepherd. Cain murders Abel, a murder often assumed stem from Cain’s jealousy over God’s favoritism of Abel.
Cain is questioned by God after Abel’s death. The Lord asked[...]
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 from Hackard Law. Have you ever thought about your circle of competence?
The circle of competence is a formula for pursuing excellence popularized by billionaire businessman Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger.
The concept is simple: each one of us has useful knowledge we can channel into success. This knowledge comes from multiple sources, including natural aptitude, training and experience.
At Hackard Law, trust and estate litigation is our circle of competence. It comes from decades of law practice, a passion for advocacy, and constantly sharpening our professional skills.
Charlie Munger puts it this way:
"If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don’t, you’re going t[...]
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[...]