Recently, we settled a case between two brothers and their stepfather. The brothers claimed that their stepfather unduly influenced their mother in the last weeks of her life, while she was on end-of-life pain medication, to change her trust in their stepfather’s favor. The mother’s prior trust said her house would go to her sons, but the new trust said the house will to their stepfather outright. We were able to facilitate a settlement between the brothers and their stepfather that accomplished their goal of receiving the property upon their stepfather’s death, resolving all issues between the parties, saving the brothers thousands of dollars by avoiding trial.
We petitioned the court for instructions on behalf of our client who was a one-third beneficiary of a Trust with her two siblings. Our client wanted to purchase the house from the Trust, and based on her appraisals and our calculations, we believed the buy-out was in the best interest of all Trust beneficiaries, resulting in the most amount of money to all three beneficiaries. The court agreed with us and granted our petition, which allowed our client to purchase the house from the Trust, effectively buying out her siblings’ interest in the Trust and real property.
We recently filed a petition against “bad brother” who unduly influenced his father who had been diagnosed with dementia to sign a new Trust, power of attorney and real estate deeds, effectively transferring dad’s entire estate to bad brother, and disinheriting our client, “good sister”. The petition has nine causes of action, including for orders determining that the Trust is invalid based on undue influence and lack of capacity; financial elder abuse under California Welfare and Institutes Code with imposition of double damages and disinheritance under Probate Code section 259, 850 and 859; to recover funds and property unlawfully taken by bad brother; quiet title to the properties in dad’s name rather than the invalid Trust; and other causes of action. Immediately upon filing the Petition, we personally served the Respondent and recorded three lis pendens against the three subject properties. Although this case is in its early stages, our diligent efforts likely saved our client’s inheritance.
We filed a petition seeking to modify a subtrust created by Decedent’s Trust, for the benefit of his son. The Trust states that son is to get his distributions out right, at certain intervals, for any purpose that he wants. However, he has alcohol issues and the trustee is concerned that outright distributions may result in harm to him. By modifying son’s subtrust into a Special Needs Trust, the Trustee will have discretion to withhold distributions, or make distributions to third parties for son’s benefit rather than to son directly. The modified Trust would also protect son from being at risk of losing any public assistance benefits, and protect his inheritance from being at risk of any creditors he may have.
Our client was the agent under a power of attorney for her mother, and the successor trustee of mom’s Trust. Her siblings accused her of mismanaging and misappropriating mom’s funds and demanded that she produce a formal probate code accounting within 60 days. Our firm was then retained and immediately started working. We analyze records and receipts to prepare the Accounting, a Report summarizing all activity, and a Petition for Approval of the Account. We were able to produce the Accounting well before the deadline.
We represented a young man who needed to obtain a conservatorship for his mother because she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia and was becoming a danger to herself living alone. She did not have a Trust, health care directive, or power of attorney nominating son or someone else so the conservatorship was his only option. We were able to get the Petition approved within months of filing, which gave our client the authority to find a safer living situation for his mother, and sell her house so he has money to pay for her ongoing care needs. We helped our client get through an incredibly difficult situation as efficiently as possible.
We recently finished a probate where we had six real properties to sell. The decedent did not have a Will or Trust. This case is an example of why every person who owns real property should hold title in a Trust – statutory attorneys fees on this size estate were close to $70,000. Planning an estate plan with a revocable trust costs about $2,500 to $4,500 for most estates, depending on the size the estate, how many real properties, what the other assets are, how many beneficiaries, whether the Trustors have minor children, whether Trustors own businesses, etc.
We recently settled a major wrongful termination case for the CEO of a major corporation.