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

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

  • Stopping Undue Influence & Estate Theft | CA Probate and Trust Litigation Attorneys
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    Stopping Undue Influence & Estate Theft | CA Probate and Trust Litigation Attorneys

    Family members of elderly victims of undue influence – a phenomenon often connected with elder financial abuse – recoil in disbelief when learning of an elder’s coerced gift or bequest property transfers. This disbelief gives way to hurt and outrage as the estate thief makes brazen, insincere and false claims to the estate. It’s our job as probate and trust litigation attorneys to systematically gather supporting evidence to overcome the actions of estate thieves. Developing these cases often depends on claims of undue influence. “Undue influence” in California means excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will and results in…

  • ABCs of California Trust, Probate & Estate Disputes | 2018
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    ABCs of California Trust, Probate & Estate Disputes | 2018

    William Shakespeare’s observation that “What’s past is prologue” is a ready reference when we’re thinking about the future. We often see that what has happened until now sets the stage for what will happen in the future. When it comes to California trust, probate and estate litigation the past year – 2017 – is likely a preface to what will take place in 2018. Hackard Law’s 2017 efforts reflect a period of intense litigation focusing on the protection of elders and/or their beneficiaries against estate and trust wrongdoers. Our firm filed trust or elder financial abuse cases in the probate and civil courts of more than twenty California counties. Our…

  • What Can You Do If Estate Property is Wrongfully Taken? | CA Probate Litigation
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    What Can You Do If Estate Property is Wrongfully Taken? | CA Probate Litigation

    These things happen: a loved one dies. Their estate is unsecured. Relatives, neighbors and friends gather to honor the decedent. Somewhere there is conflict – maybe not open or glaring – but conflict nonetheless. The fight might be one against many, or a few against a few. Conflict may be particularly rife among stepchildren and stepparents. With the challenge you’re facing, you’re going to need a probate litigation attorney. Let’s continue our scenario: There is someone is in charge, or they appear to be in charge, of the estate. Important documents are secured, and estate or probate lawyer is hired. Amidst all of this mix of grief, uncertainty and anxiety,…

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

  • Thefts from Trusts & Estate Fraud | Los Angeles Probate Litigation
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    Thefts from Trusts & Estate Fraud | Los Angeles Probate Litigation

    As the largest city in California, Los Angeles is ground zero for theft from trusts and fraud against the elderly, also known as elder financial abuse. Los Angeles County is home to a large senior population, and by 2020 it’s set to increase by 43%. With this figure in mind, families must ensure that their elderly loved ones are safeguarded against exploitation and undue influence. All too often I’ve seen cases of vulnerable elders who were tricked or pressured into changing their will or trust to overwhelmingly benefit one family member or an estate interloper. I’ve also witnessed how wrongdoers have hidden or altered estate and trust documents in order…