Probate & Estate Planning

Are six sibling co-trustees too many cooks in the kitchen? Many California trust disputes arise from disagreements among sibling co-trustees over how to administer Mom and Dad’s trust after the parents have passed. They all have a strong sense of what Mom and Dad wanted, but they don’t agree on what it was.  Thus, trust and estate litigators can be described as “sibling lawyers.” A recent appellate opinion illustrates such co-trustee conflict and shows the…
https://youtu.be/0dWwMLg8zQs The Following is a Transcript of this Video. For More Information, CLICK HERE Hi, this is Keith Davidson at Albertson & Davidson.  In this video, we’re discussing trustee surcharge.  How do you hold your trustee liable for the damages that they have caused to your trust estate? The number one way that you hold a trustee liable is you have to go to court on a petition asking the court to order the trustee…
As a probate attorney for 25 years I have dealt with countless ancillary probates in my personal practice. These typically involve a person who has property in two, or more, US states. However, on occasion we run into international probate situations. That might be a citizen of the world who dies owning property in California or a California resident who dies owning property around the world somewhere. As background California Probate Code section 12501 defines…
For fans of Shakespeare, our blog is taking a literary bent again. Our first Shakespeare post related the lessons from King Lear. Now we turn to Hamlet. We all know that one of the biggest struggles of a family business is surviving succession. According to Lloyd Steier, Professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Organization at the University of Alberta School of Business and Director of the Alberta Business Family Institute, William Shakespeare’s writings…
Under Florida’s Trust Code there are two classes of beneficiaries, and which class you fall in is a big deal. As defined in F.S. 736.0103(4), the term “beneficiary” refers to the entire universe of persons who have a beneficial interest in a trust, as well as to any person who has a power of appointment over trust property in a capacity other than as trustee. For purposes of this definition it’s immaterial whether the beneficial…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wOIm-BAg4w&t=1s The Following is a Transcript of this Video. For More Information, CLICK HERE Hi, this is Keith Davidson from Albertson & Davidson.  In this video, I want to talk about remedies that the court can use to fix your trust problem.  Under Probate Code section 16420, the court has a right to take certain actions against trustees in order to fix whatever problem you’re having with your trust. Number one on that list is…
American courts (including our California state courts), in contrast to courts in England, do not typically award attorneys’ fees to a lawsuit’s “victor.”  There are, of course, exceptions to this so-called “American Rule.”  Among them is the “common fund” exception, which provides that one who incurs fees winning a lawsuit that creates a fund for others may require those passive beneficiaries to bear a fair share of the litigation costs.  As the word “fund” suggests,…
Recently, the Alaska Supreme Court in Toni 1 v. Wacker put a nail in the coffin of domestic asset protection trusts as effective creditor protection for out of state donors.   After a Montana state court issued a series of judgments against Donald Tangwall and his family, the family members transferred two pieces of property to the “Toni 1 Trust,” a trust allegedly created under Alaska law. A Montana state court and an Alaska bankruptcy court…
A few weeks have passed since the beginning of the New Year, and we suggest that it is time to check-in on your family business’ New Year’s resolutions. One resolution that should be on every family business’ list in 2019 is succession planning. According to the Conway Center for Family Business, each year around 70 percent of family businesses fail to successfully navigate the rough waters of succession because owners are putting off having important…
https://youtu.be/aFnpYo1Grj8 The Following is a Transcript of this Video. For More Information, CLICK HERE  Hi, this is Stewart Albertson of Albertson & Davidson and I want to talk to you briefly about the meet and confer requirement that is imposed on us by many statutes in California law. A meet and confer is where we are required as lawyers to meet with one another, whether it is in writing or on the phone, or at…