• Unintended Consequences | Preventing Probate, Trust & Estate Litigation
    Articles,  Blog

    Unintended Consequences | Preventing Probate, Trust & Estate Litigation

    As a beneficiary, you have every right to protect family assets from estate hijackers. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true in many areas of life. In estate litigation, it rings particularly spot-on. Estate litigation is expensive and given the choice between prevention and cure most intelligent people would choose prevention. While estate disputes span the gamut from false documents and financial elder abuse to fraudulent transfers, there are a number of common scenarios that repeat themselves. Among them: Joint Tenancy: A parent may freely choose or by undue influence transfer personal assets into joint tenancy with a child or third party. Joint tenancy properties…

  • Top 5 Probate Litigation Battles in California Estate Law
    Articles,  Blog

    Top 5 Probate Litigation Battles in California Estate Law

    Over years of litigating probate, trust and estate battles in California Superior Courts, our clients frequently ask the question: Do many families go through estate battles like the one we are experiencing? Estate litigation battles, often outgrowths of disputes within families, have their own distinctive troubles. That said, the more estate fights we see, the more certain prevalent patterns become evident. We’ve identified five of the most common court petitions in probate, trust and estate battles. We hope that this list helps those who may be facing trust or estate battles. 1) Petitions against Former Trustees Alleging Wrongful Acquisition and Misappropriation of Trust Assets 2) Petition For Order Removing Co-Trustee…

  • Do I Have a Real Case? | Probate, Estates & Trusts Litigation
    Articles,  Blog

    Do I Have a Real Case? | Probate, Estates & Trusts Litigation

    I’m Mike Hackard. I lead Hackard Law, 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. We are not magicians – we know that we can’t magically turn a fact pattern into a viable legal case. Fact patterns are only part of the picture – if we delve deeper, they’re stories of real family traumas and strained personal relationships. Being spurned by a parent – even a parent with Alzheimer’s – or taken advantage of by a stepparent or sibling is not something generally shrugged off.…

  • Probate vs Nonprobate Transfers | How Assets Transfer at Death
    Articles,  Blog

    Probate vs Nonprobate Transfers | How Assets Transfer at Death

    Hello, I’m Mike Hackard. I am a California estate and trust litigation lawyer. I began the practice of law in 1976, and I’ve been very active to this day. I want to discuss how assets pass on after we pass on. We begin by recognizing how different is the part played by our probate courts from that of automatic transfers on death. We can see these differences by telling some stories. We in the United States have the gift of owning property. We have certain property rights and responsibilities associated with the ownership. For example, if we own a home, we have the responsibility of paying property taxes. We may…