You meet with your lawyer before the mediation. You are the plaintiff in challenging a trust. Maybe the challenge is based on incapacity. Maybe vulnerability to undue influence. Maybe even fraud.
Hackard Law is a Northern California-based law firm that focuses on probate, estates & trusts litigation. I'm the one who is ultimately responsible for taking a new case. It's an interesting and an imperfect process.
At Hackard Law we focus on estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation. We generally litigate these cases on behalf heirs and beneficiaries who have been cut out of estate plans by fraud, accident, mistake, undue influence, the violation of a trust, or other wrongful acts.
Our California law firm, Hackard Law, regularly litigates probate and trust litigation disputes. A significant number of these disputes involve fights between a decedent's biological children from an earlier marriage and the decedent's second or third spouse. These cases end up in the California Superior Courts.
Hello, I'm Mike Hackard. I lead Hackard Law, a law firm that focuses on significant estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation in California.
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.
Persuasion "starts with a look in the mirror. If you do not know your own goals, biases, emotions and preferences, you cannot hope to see your audience clearly." These words from Richard Shell and Mario Moussa's book, The Art of the Woo, ring true for me. This principle is also well stated in Matthew Chapter 7, where we are admonished that it is hypocrisy to be concerned with the faults of another while we ignore our own more serious offenses.
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.
As an attorney who has spent many decades working in the area of trusts and estates, I wish I could say that it's possible to create an iron-clad trust document that will do precisely what the maker intended. Sadly, even when the best attorneys draft such documents for intelligent, practical, and thoughtful clients, there will always be unintended and unforeseen circumstances. That is especially true when there are blended families that may include ex-spouses, step-children, half-children, and unmarried partners. In such cases, Murphy's Law is almost certain to prevail.
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.