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May 2019 Archives

Actress' family argument highlights issues in conservatorship

It can be a great act of kindness when a person serves as a conservator for an elderly loved one, making important financial decisions for a person who no longer has the capacity to make these decision. However, California law gives conservators a lot of power over another person, and the potential for abuse is serious. The courts must be sure the conservator is acting in the elderly person's best interest.

Niece says she has found Aretha Franklin's handwritten will

Many disputes in trust and probate litigation concern the validity of a will, and for good reason. A will is a very powerful document. The person who created the will is no longer around to clear up any confusion or misunderstandings, and so the language must be very precise. The probate court examining the will needs to be certain that the will represents the person's wishes, and so it must find that the will meets strict formal requirements. Some of the most difficult cases involve handwritten wills.

When a trustee breaches their duty

As its name implies, a trust depends on trusting someone. A trustee is someone with an enormous amount of power over assets that are supposed to be managed on behalf of the beneficiaries. This is a big responsibility, and it can be a terrible problem if the trustee acts negligently.

How do you find out if you were left out of a will?

Many cases of trust and probate litigation arise when people who thought they might inherit something from a friend or relative find out only after that person's death that they were left out of the will. But if they aren't named in the will, how do they find out? The answer is in the California probate court's requirement of notice.

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