At times I think that we at Hackard Law have
a bird’s-eye view of California trust litigation. Our perspective is gained from both the cases
that we take and don’t take. Our communications with clients and potential
clients are, of course, privileged. That said, given our law firm’s high volume
of calls and emails regarding trusts, estates and elder financial abuse we have a take on
what issues are commonplace and what issues are rare. A commonplace California trust issue is the
failure of a trustee administering a decedent’s trust to sell the family home and distribute
the proceeds to the named beneficiaries. This comes about for a variety of reasons
– among them sheer procrastination, confusion as to duties, mistaken trust interpretation,
and conflict of interest. So, let’s start with procrastination. Some trustees just won’t “get off the
dime” – so to speak. They miss disclosure and notice deadlines. They fail to separate accounts and secure
employer identification numbers. They keep beneficiaries in the dark. The list, of course, can go on and on. Confusion as to duties is fairly common. The trustee is not confident in his or her
duties. This lack of confidence shows in the inability
to make decisions and to stand by them. Some trustees think that whoever was living
in the family residence at the time of the decedent’s death should continue to live
there. Other trustees want to evict the residents
immediately after the death. Still others waive rent while others demand
exorbitant rent. Confusion may reign. Mistaken trust interpretations are another
variable. There can be mistakes as to when the house
needs to be sold, how the personal property in the house is to be distributed, or whether
beneficiaries need to consent to the sale of the house. And finally – conflict of interest in the
sale of the family home is fairly common. When the trustee or the trustee’s favorite
sibling is a resident in the home the trustee may simply ignore their duty to collect rents
and to ready the home for sale. This is such a regular occurrence that I really
felt the need to do this video – if for no other reason than to let beneficiaries
faced with a delayed or nonexistent sale of a family residence know that they are not
alone. Hackard Law takes substantial cases where
we think that we can make a significant difference and there is a wrongdoer who can be made financially
accountable for their wrongdoing. We represent clients in most of California’s
major urban areas including San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Los Angeles and Sacramento. If you would like us to hear your story and
consider your case, call us at 916 313-3030. Thank you.