Last week I was honored to deliver a presentation to the Sacramento chapter of the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI). The topic was an important and timely one - how to spot elder financial abuse.
When a household name speaks out on an issue of public interest, people tend to listen a little more attentively. Maybe a celebrity or famous athlete shares their fight against a serious disease, a struggle with mental illness or depression, or blows the whistle on crimes like sexual assault. So if a big name engages the media to raise awareness on elder financial abuse, I consider it a win for victims and their families.
Imagine taking a call one morning from your recently widowed mother to learn of her professed love for a Florida man whom she has never met in person.
California estate and trust litigation is expensive. A common question from non-clients of law firms like Hackard Law that accept contingency cases is, "How much are you [the attorney] making in this case?" It's a good question and the response must be measured in both protecting the client's attorney-client privilege as well as providing a meaningful response if appropriate within the context of the question.
Deathbed transfers of estate or trust assets can look suspicious, and there's good reasons why. The timing is off, to put it lightly, and the ailing maker of an estate or trust can be subject to undue influence. The tragic story of a professional football player's terminal illness and deathbed transfer shares key features I've seen in other litigation battles over a decedent's inheritance.
California heirs and beneficiaries expect that trustees, estate representatives and executors will act as good and prudent fiduciaries. When these fiduciaries fail and take money belonging to trust beneficiaries, they may be subject to civil and even criminal penalties. There are several cases in point.