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Trust Litigation
What happens when one beneficiary wants to buyout another beneficiary’s interest in an inherited property? You might think this is a simple and straightforward process – one beneficiary compensates the other(s) for their share of the property and voila – takes the property. But here’s where you have to watch out. If everything isn’t done...
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What is a no-contest clause and why is it added to a will or trust? In Latin it is known as an “in terrorem” clause, which means that the clause is inserted as a threat or warning to those beneficiaries of a will or trust who would seek to challenge the estate plan after death....
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After nearly a year in litigation, former Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson’s wife filed papers relinquishing all money and personal property left to her in her husband’s estate. Just who is Ken Thompson, and what went wrong after his death last October? Attorney Ken Thompson was Brooklyn’s first African American District Attorney. Last October he passed...
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The trust battle between the Buss siblings over control of the L.A. Lakers has ended. Jeannie Buss and her brothers, Jim and Johnny, reached with an agreement for Jeannie to remain as controlling owner for as long as the family owns the famed basketball team. On February 21  Jeannie Buss, the L.A. Lakers president and...
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For most families, setting up a trust to hold one’s property or bank accounts is a prudent step. But when your assets are in the hundreds of millions, setting up a trust (or trusts) is seldom simply an item on your to-do list – it’s a must.  As many of you already know, Fox News...
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What is the role of a Professional Fiduciary in the context of California probate law? And just what is a Professional Fiduciary?  Let’s first define Professional Fiduciary, as it’s not a profession that is particularly well known. A professional fiduciary has two primary roles within probate law. The first is as someone whose job is to...
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WHITNEY HOUSTON, FLORENCE GRIFFITH JOYNER, HEATH LEDGER Earlier this year I wrote about the Celebrity Estate Planning Tragedies of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Marlon Brando, Howard Hughes, James Brown, and James Gandolfini. Recent events and a few discoveries on my part have compelled me to add to that list of Celebrity Estate Planning Tragedies – and...
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Simpson’s co-creator Sam Simon died on March 8th, 2015 of colon cancer. When the 59 year old Hollywood legacy passed away, his net worth was estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite the fact that Mr. Simon diligently set up a complete estate plan, he made several promises before his death...
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First off, a quick congratulations to the Denver Broncos for winning the 2016 Superbowl. I’m certain Denverites are grateful for the local victory, and are hopefully reveling in their teams’ success as I write this. The people of New Orleans were blessed with no such victory this year, either with their football team, the Saints,...
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Last year my family and I went on vacation to the east coast. Despite the fact that I was out of my beloved home state for practicing law (California), a friend of a friend pulled me aside for legal advice. Here’s what I was asked: Is it legal to use your child’s trust fund for...
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For those of you who followed the Donald Sterling saga last year, you may be satisfied to hear that Mr. Sterling recently lost his appeal to the 2nd District Court of Appeals in November of this year. The court’s ruling confirmed that Mr. Sterling will never again have rights to the Clippers basketball team. Before...
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Has media mogul Sumner Redstone become mentally incapacitated? This was the question put before the Los Angeles Probate courts this past week, when former girlfriend Manuela Herzer filed a lawsuit claiming he did not have the mental capacity to remove her as agent on his Power of Attorney.  Mr. Redstone is now 92 and owns...
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In March I wrote a post about the estate litigation involving Robin Williams’ children with his 3rd wife, Susan Schneider Williams. The lawsuit was initially filed by Susan just a few months after Williams committed suicide in August of 2014 in his Tiburon, CA home. According to the NY Times, Susan claimed she was not...
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On September 23rd, Governor Brown signed AB 139, a bill introduced by assemblyman Mike Gatto. The bill will effectively transform the probate system in California by creating a “Revocable Transfer on Death Deed.” This deed allows Californians to sign a document that transfers real property to another individual upon their death. “Real property assets” refer...
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Celebrity author Tom Clancy was widely known for his bestselling novels, which include popular titles such as “Patriot Games,” “The Hunt for Red October,”  and “Clear and Present Danger.” Unfortunately, his skills in crafting and meticulously planning espionage tales did not transfer over when it came to planning his Estate. When Clancy passed away in 2013, his...
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Undue Influence is a term often heard in the Elder Law field. For those not up on their legal jargon, “undue influence” essentially means one person taking advantage of another, typically for financial gain. When it comes to trust and estate litigation (or probate law), California defines undue influence as “excessive persuasion that causes another...
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Proper estate planning will generally involve setting up at least one trust. A trust is a separate legal entity that is created to hold the assets and funds of an individual (or individuals). A trust allows those assets and funds to be passed on to heirs, or beneficiaries in a specific and timely manner. Most...
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Anna Nicole Smith was both famous and infamous. Not only was she known for being a playboy bunny, she was also know for her marriage to much (much) older millionaire J. Howard Marshall II,  and the estate battle that ensued following his death. The fight began in the mid 90’s, continued until 2007 when Anna Nicole abruptly died...
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In this post series, we’ll take a look at Estate & Trust Litigation Battles and Elder Law issues occurring around the world. We’ll explore how the laws regarding Estate, Trust, and Elder Law differ between countries.  Our first case takes place in Australia. This is a case that has it all – murder, betrayal, a...
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Executing a Trust can be one of the most important estate planning decisions any person or family can make.  Funding a Trust changes ownership of assets in ways that allows for ease of management and transfer upon the passing of the people involved in the Trust.   When most people open bank accounts or purchase...
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