Posts Categorized: Contested Wills

Due process

Top 10 Trust and Will Myths: Episode 4 Due Process

Why are lawsuits so time consuming and complicated?  Can't we just tell the Judge what the truth of the matter is, or just write the judge a letter? Well no, no you can't.  That's because of our Constitutional right to due process of law.  Due process is a fancy term that means everyone must be given an equal chance to ...

Read More

This is not what we expected…how to modify your California irrevocable trust

One of the great challenges in drafting any Trust is figuring out how it will work, and affect the beneficiaries, years from now. Trusts are always written today, but enforced in the future. The oldest still-operating Trust I have personally dealt with in my career was created in 1948! Circumstances can change over time, and sometimes drastically so. But once ...

Read More

Until Debts Do We Part: What happens to your debts at death in California?

  What happens to debts after you’re gone? There’s two ways to look at that question: (1) debts that are owed TO you, and (2) debts that are owed BY you. Are either type still enforceable after your death? Debts owed TO you Let’s start with debts that are owed to you, in other words, where you are the creditor ...

Read More
You Need Me

Trust and Will Lawsuits: Why do you need an expert witness If you are suing to overturn a Trust or Will, or taking any other action for that matter, on the basis of capacity or undue influence, then you need an expert witness.  In fact, in any case where there is information in medical records, you need an expert witness.  Why?  Because of a little thing called hearsay. Everyone seems ...

Read More

Trust and Will Interpretation: Give some effect to every expression Language the English tricky can be.  Many a Trust or Will has been litigated over the use of language.  While the words may seem perfectly clear when written, circumstances can change, unforeseen events can occur, and misunderstandings can arise that lead to ambiguity in how a Trust or Will should be interpreted and enforced. Luckily, the California Probate Code ...

Read More

Construction of California Trusts and Wills When Trust or Will terms cannot be discerned by the way in which they were written, the court must follow the interpretation rules set out in the California Probate Code.  One of those rules is found at Section 21121, which requires the Court to read the Trust or will document as a consistent whole.  What does that mean? ...

Read More