• Contingency Fee Agreements in CA Estate, Trust & Probate Litigation
    Articles,  Blog

    Contingency Fee Agreements in CA Estate, Trust & Probate Litigation

    People with probate, estate and trust feuds often ask us to discuss how a contingency fee arrangement might work in their cases. I first know that California has both statutory and ethical rules that govern attorney-client fee arrangements. All of our attorney-client fee arrangements must conform to these statutory and ethical requirements. The nature of a contingency fee is that the client pays fees to a lawyer only if the lawyer handles the case successfully. This arrangement only works where money or valuable assets are being claimed. In an estate-related contingency fee arrangement, the attorney agrees to accept a fixed percentage – often forty percent of the total recovery. If…

  • Three Major Estate & Probate Litigation Mistakes
    Articles,  Blog

    Three Major Estate & Probate Litigation Mistakes

    I’m attorney Michael Hackard of Hackard Law, and my work is representing clients in estate and probate litigation here in Northern California, from Sacramento to the foothills of Placerville and El Dorado, and from the Central Valley to the Bay. I’ve seen a lot in my 40 years as a lawyer, from great victories for clients to a few very dysfunctional situations where basic mistakes led to an unfavorable outcome. Whatever the area of life, it’s best to treat mistakes and failure as a learning opportunity. How can you do this better next time? So let’s look at the basic mistakes of estate and probate litigation. Number one: no plan.…

  • Prosecuting Estate Theft & Fraud
    Articles,  Blog

    Prosecuting Estate Theft & Fraud

    Litigated estate cases run hot. They’re like hard-fought, name-calling political campaigns. Allegations and counter- allegations abound. Much that is said in the heat of the moment is later softened or withdrawn altogether. This is not about the heat of the moment. It is not about estate differences, however cantankerous, between personal administrators, executors, trustees, heirs, beneficiaries or estate creditors. It is about out-and-out theft from an estate. We handle a good deal of estate litigation. I’m happy to report that estate embezzlement is rare, but disheartened to report that still exists. When estate theft is discovered, there is near universal surprise and consternation: “How could this happen?” Well, it does…