• Los Angeles | Contested Estate, Trust & Probate Litigation Attorneys
    Articles,  Blog

    Los Angeles | Contested Estate, Trust & Probate Litigation Attorneys

    The California probate, estate & trust litigation attorneys of Hackard Law utilize a wide range of skills to civilly prosecute estate, financial elder abuse and undue influence wrongdoers in the Superior Courts of the State of California. For law firms like Hackard Law, a vigorous estate litigation practice includes a large number of financial elder abuse lawsuits processing through the state’s civil courts as well as a large litigation caseload in California’s probate court system. A major area where clients turn to us for help is Los Angeles. California is a large state and the ability to practice throughout the state is enhanced by the CourtCall® Remote Appearance Platform, a…

  • 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.…

  • 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…

  • Probate Litigation in San Diego | Jurisdiction Questions Answered
    Articles,  Blog

    Probate Litigation in San Diego | Jurisdiction Questions Answered

    California state budget cuts have forced Superior Courts throughout the state to cut customer service due the shortage of operational funds. Court administrators have been forced to cut staff, close courtrooms and reduce business hours. The Judicial Council of California estimates that more than 52 courthouses and more than 200 courtrooms have been shuttered throughout the state. San Diego has also suffered. Civil, trust and probate filings don’t cease simply because there is less court time to address them. The location of your court filings depends upon your jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is the determination of the question, “Which Court Will Hear This Matter?” Probate, trust and estate litigators need to establish…

  • What Assets are Excluded from California Probate? | Sacramento
    Articles,  Blog

    What Assets are Excluded from California Probate? | Sacramento

    There are various legal forms of ownership within an estate or trust, and these different types of vehicles for securing estate assets help to regulate what will fall under probate and what will stay immune to those proceedings. Let’s take a look at the several exceptions to the California probate rule: • Joint Tenancy: Assets held in joint tenancy ownership are not subject to probate because the decedent’s joint tenancy property interest ceases at death – essentially there is no asset remaining to probate. • Living Trust: Assets held in a living trust are not subject to probate. This is sometimes easier said than done because actual title transfers into…

  • A Short Lesson on Choosing Probate or Civil Court | California Trust Litigation
    Articles,  Blog

    A Short Lesson on Choosing Probate or Civil Court | California Trust Litigation

    California Superior Courts house both probate departments and civil departments. There are cases like elder financial abuse or disputes over an inheritance that may be filed in either the civil department or the probate department. The probate department exercises jurisdiction over proceedings brought under the California Probate Code. Abused beneficiaries generally have no right to a jury trial in probate proceedings. On the other hand, a plaintiff in a civil case has the right to try issues before a jury. This right is enshrined in our California Constitution that states “Trial by jury is an inviolate right and shall be secured by all …” We file and try elder financial…

  • LA Probate & Trust Litigation | Contingency Fees
    Articles,  Blog

    LA Probate & Trust Litigation | Contingency Fees

    Los Angeles probate litigation is a tug of war between risk and reward. If you are facing an estate fight in the Los Angeles area, you hire an experienced lawyer to solve problems. You deserve to know what it might take to succeed. What are the risks? What are the rewards? Attorney’s fees are part of the risks in reaching for the rewards. If you need to fight the unjust actions of an estate wrongdoer but don’t have the money to hire a qualified attorney, where do you turn? Beneficiaries in an LA trust dispute or will contest may already be frozen out from their rightful inheritance – this freeze-out…

  • Disputed Trust & Estate Bank Accounts | CA Probate Litigation
    Articles,  Blog

    Disputed Trust & Estate Bank Accounts | CA Probate Litigation

    Determining actual ownership of bank accounts after the death of a loved one can be challenging. There can be real differences in what the parties to the accounts, the beneficiaries of a trust, and the heirs of an estate believe and what they want. It is difficult at times to find a blueprint in which to operate. A 2017 California Court of Appeal decision (Higgins v. Higgins) helps to identify some basic guideposts for ownership determination. The case arose from a lawsuit brought by the personal representative of an estate against a wife who agreed to hold funds in trust for her husband’s stepmother. After her husband’s death she changed…

  • Probate Guardianship Abuse | Stopping Elder Financial Exploitation
    Articles,  Blog

    Probate Guardianship Abuse | Stopping Elder Financial Exploitation

    Imagine you have an elderly loved one – maybe a parent or grandparent. How would you feel if someone took them from their home against their will, isolated them from you and looted their estate? What would you do? Believe it or not, this is big business – and the adult probate guardianship industry operates under color of law. Guardianship abuse poses a real threat to the well-being of seniors and their families. Lives are irreparably damaged and fortunes disappear, all because of the greed of skilled manipulators who use legal mechanisms to commit what amounts to elder financial abuse. The duty to protect is turned on its head when…