CA Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation

CA Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation

Category Archives: Probate Court Litigation

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How Do I Get What’s Rightfully Mine? California Trust and Will Lawsuits Can be a Real MESS

Posted in Litigation, Podcasts, Probate Court Litigation, Trust & Will Contests
That’s a loaded question.  It all depends on how the asset you are seeking to recover was titled.  Even though you, and probably your parent, thought that all assets were in one basket and you can simply file one document to get what is rightfully yours, you are mistaken (welcome to Trust and Will law—be… Continue Reading

Broken Promises: Are Oral Promises to Make a California Trust or Will Enforceable?

Posted in Beneficiary, Litigation, Probate, Probate Court Litigation, Trust Creation, Trustees & Beneficiaries, Will Creation, Wills
Is an oral promise to make a will or trust enforceable under California law? Contrary to what many believe, California law provides for the enforcement of oral promises to make a will or trust. How does the promise to make a will or trust arise? Generally, a parent orally promises a child, a friend, or… Continue Reading

A Better Way to Letter.

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
Does a letter from a lawyer work to resolve disputes?  Not usually.  And having opposing lawyers write letters back and forth is a great way to incur legal fees, but not so great in getting anything resolved. The inherent problem with letters is that there is no penalty for ignoring them.  A lawyer can threaten… Continue Reading

The Tools of War Part Three: Evidence Rules…the shield and the sword

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
In our first Tools of War post we set out three general categories of information you need to know to be successful in trust and will litigation.  They were: Civil procedure—things like motions and demurrers Civil discovery—written discovery, depositions, and expert designations Rules of evidence—including foundation, hearsay, and relevance. Civil procedure and civil discovery we… Continue Reading

Clear and Convincing–The Higher Standard for Dislodging Joint Bank Accounts After Death

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
Joint accounts—the most confusing asset in the estate planning word.  Especially joint bank accounts.  They start off relatively harmless with a parent naming one of their children as a joint account holder to help pay bills and manage finances.  But rather than add a child only as an agent over the account (which would expire… Continue Reading

Pay to Play is the American Way: Why Your Attorneys’ Fees May Not Get Reimbursed Even if you Win

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
Every party to a lawsuit would like to have their attorneys’ fees paid by the other side, especially if the other side loses.  That rarely happens in the U.S. because we have the “American System” of attorneys’ fees—that is each party pays their own. There are a few exceptions, such as when parties enter into… Continue Reading

Beware of the Greedy Heir

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
Want to know why beneficiaries lose Trust and Will cases?  They fall prey to the “greedy heir” defense.  The greedy heir defense goes like this: a beneficiary challenges the wrongful acts of a Trustee and the Trustee responds by saying the beneficiary is just greedy.  Or an heir who has been disinherited challenges a Trust… Continue Reading

The Tools of War Part Two: How to gather the ammunition necessary for a battle in Probate Court

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
In our last post we set out three general categories of information you need to know to be successful in trust and will litigation.  They were: Civil procedure—things like motions and demurrers Civil discovery—written discovery, depositions, and expert designations Rules of evidence—including foundation, hearsay, relevance, etc. Civil procedure we discussed.  Now let’s tackle civil discovery. … Continue Reading

Being a Beneficiary Can Cost You: How the “American Rule” for attorneys’ fees can feel Un-American.

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
Beneficiaries have all the legal rights, and none of the legal obligations, when it comes to California Trusts and Wills.  But beneficiaries, at times, have one very practical obligation—paying to enforce their rights. For beneficiaries of California Trusts, it’s every beneficiary for him or herself.  That means there is no governmental oversight of  Trustees until… Continue Reading

Passing (Assets) Interference…10 Yard Penalty: California Recognizes New Claim in Trust and Will Law!

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
It’s not everyday that the California Court of Appeals hands down new law in the area of trusts and wills.  Most of our laws and rules in this area have been in place for centuries.  This month, however, the Fourth Appellate District recognized a new claim for California beneficiaries called “Intentional Interference with Expected Inheritance” (referred… Continue Reading

A Practical Postmortem: Convincing Opposing Counsel to Dissect a California Lawsuit

Posted in Litigation, Probate Court Litigation
At the end of every case—whether it’s settled or by way of judgment after a trial—I ask the opposing attorney to sit down with me to do a full review of the case. All issues in the case are open for discussion, except for attorney-client communications or any other privileged matters. The purpose of the… Continue Reading

Justice Isn’t Fair

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
My law firm strongly believes in fighting for justice and fairness—so much so that we put it right on the first page of our website. But these two concepts, “justice” and “fairness”, are confusing at times, which makes it difficult for clients when attempting to understand how to obtain justice or fairness in a lawsuit.  Let… Continue Reading

Starting With “Why?” Can End With Yes: How a focused purpose can help in business and the law.

Posted in Probate Court Litigation
I enjoy reading books about many different subjects, not just law.  And occassionally I come across an idea or concept that originates outside law but applies well to the practice of law.  I did just that recently after reading a book called Start With Why–How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action written by Simon Sinek.  Simon… Continue Reading
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