Grandma and Grandpa have a trust. Their trust provides that at their first death, the trust assets will remain in trust for the benefit of the survivor. At the survivor's death, all trust assets are to be distributed in equal shares to their three children, Steve, Frank and Eve.
The median value for a house in California is currently $548,000. When it comes to median home values for Los Angeles, the figures keep climbing.
It's not easy to be a trustee - for a lot of reasons. Some particularly challenging aspects of the job involve trust beneficiary distribution decisions - decisions inherent to trust administration.
Recently Michael Hackard joined Pamela D. Wilson, a caregiving expert and advocate for protecting the well-being of seniors. Pamela is the host of The Caring Generation, and we were honored to speak with her about how to counter elder financial abuse and undue influence. Thank you for the great talk, Pamela!
At Hackard Law, we do California estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation. Our practice experience includes circumstances where it seems that estate planning lawyers haven't really done their job. The few examples below are collected from real world experience and changed to protect the privacy of the parties involved.
We've all heard or said something like: "How would you like it if someone did the same thing to you?" It's a heartfelt question. It calls to mind our willingness to consider another viewpoint - to empathize.
I'm Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. I feel fortunate to represent abused beneficiaries seeking justice against trustees who appear to put their own financial interest over the beneficiaries they are duty bound to serve.
Image Credit: -JvL- on Flickr
An unexpectedly large number of people open safe deposit boxes, leave them alone for several years, and forget the box ever existed. According to the Sacramento Bee, the California State Controller's Office had the contents of more than 138,000 safe deposit boxes under its control in 2017, including more than 75,000 US Savings Bonds worth more than $30 Million. Sometimes banks move, and sometimes box holders move, but the usual way in which boxes get forgotten is when someone dies.
It seems like administration of an estate should be relatively simple: the trustee or the administrator simply proceeds as directed by the estate documents and distributes the property of the estate accordingly. Unfortunately, estate administration can get complicated with frustration boiling over into disputes. There are a number of claims that can arise, from arguments over how the trust documents should be interpreted, to whether the documents are legally valid.
I listen to hundreds of stories every year. There are dozens of cases for every element of vulnerability. The stories surrounding each element often provide a foundation for the failure of an estate plan that someone tried to make bulletproof.