Probate Petitions | Guarding CA Beneficiary Rights
Our team of attorneys at Hackard Law serves trustees and beneficiaries in trust and probate litigation cases, including accountings, trustee removal and surcharge petitions, elder financial abuse, fraud, concealment and conversion actions in California Probate Courts.
The process of representation is initiated by a preliminary review of our prospective client’s case. A part of this review is securing an understanding of the terms of the decedent’s trust (including all amendments), identifying the property and cash inflows and outflows from the trust, and scrutinizing end of life inter vivos and testamentary gifts to new friends, suddenly interested family members and/or care custodians.
We are regularly asked to review cases rife with the badges of undue influence or fraud. While these reviews are often requested by trustees troubled by doubts as to the legitimacy of a decedent’s end of life trust changes, the reviews are also initiated by wronged beneficiaries. Probate Court petitions often seek a number of remedies that will likely be fully and vigorously litigated.
Newly minted beneficiaries don’t easily walk away even when their benefactor’s gift appears more likely than not to be the result of undue influence or fraud. California discovery rules for the most part apply in probate litigation. Both the benefits and burdens of these discovery processes have a major part in trial preparation, mediation and settlement proceedings – and if ultimately necessary – a trial on the merits.
Changes in California law have been trending toward a more expansive protection of legitimate beneficiaries’ rights. These protections are best implemented by timely vigilance. Estate wrongdoers often hide behind time delays and successive “dog ate my homework” type excuses. Timely discovery in probate litigation can help to overcome and quickly ferret out the falsehoods employed by perpetrators of elder financial abuse.
If you’ve witnessed wrongdoing in an estate or trust case involving your family, you can call us at Hackard Law – 916-313-3030. We’ll be happy to listen and see how we can help you.