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Orange County Litigation Law Blog

Sibling disputes and the inheritance of the family home

Of all the assets a parent leaves to his or her heirs, few spark more disputes among the children of the deceased than real property, especially the family home.

Family arguments may start because bequests are not defined clearly or because the estate is more complicated to administer than the executor anticipated. It is not uncommon for sibling disputes over real property to result in lawsuits.

4 different types of contract breaches

Breach of contract occurs in numerous different industries. A professor from San Francisco State University is currently in a lawsuit with the college for not supporting AMED studies. 

It is paramount for individuals to know when a business or individual did not hold up their end of the bargain. Occasionally, breach of contract is hard to identify, but it can take different forms. It is vital to be aware of those forms, so you know when you can pursue legal action.

Avoid Trust Disputes: Common Problems in Living Trust Draftsmanship

Buffington Law Firm's Trust dispute attorneys have more than two decades of experience in living trust litigation.  As many people know, revocable or "living" trusts have become extremely popular in California and have to a significant degree replaced wills as the preferred means of transferring family wealth to the next generation.  As most people know, trusts are designed to "avoid probate."  Put simply, this means that one or more successor trustees of a trust are responsible for interpreting the trust and implementing its written instructions without supervision by a court.  This contrasts with a probate of a will whereby a probate court supervises the implementation of the will.

Trust Disputes: The Problem of Problem Living Trust Beneficiaries

Revocable or "Living" Trusts have become wildly popular in California as an alternate mechanism to wills for transferring a family's wealth to the next generation.  Lawyers who practice estate planning often tout trusts as a simpler and cheaper way to handle an estate.  However, trusts are not without problems of their own and trusts are far from a panacea.  Trusts are designed so that one or more "successor-trustees" can administer the trust and carry out its provisions without the need for court involvement.  In this way the trust "avoids probate" which is the main advantage of a trust as opposed to a will.

As a small business owner, are you prepared for a lawsuit?

You may have owned your business for decades or only for a year or two. Do you know what to do if a lawsuit arises? People in the know say that anyone who operates a small business may expect to face a lawsuit at least once in his or her career, and litigation can be more damaging to a small business than to a large company.

However, if you have a plan in place to confront the unexpected, you will be able to deal with a lawsuit from a position of strength and keep your business up and running. Here are four tips that will help you prepare for the possibility of litigation.

Why Can't I Get This Frivolous Lawsuit Thrown Out Before Trial? Part 3

In earlier Blog articles we discussed the difficulty in causing the Court to throw out meritless lawsuits before trial.  Procedurally, the deck is stacked against the Defense when it comes to forcing the dismissal of meritless lawsuits.  A Plaintiff can survive Demurrer merely by alleging facts, even improbable "facts" of dubious veracity.  Motions for Summary Judgment are easy to defeat and hard for the moving party to win as a matter of law because defeating the motion requires only a slight controversy concerning key facts.   These Motions, particularly Summary Judgment motions, are expensive to bring.  So the question becomes: what can best be done to force the earliest feasible and successful conclusion to a meritless, frivolous, or extremely weak lawsuit.

Living Trust Problem Trustees and Trust Accountings

Buffington Law Firm's trust dispute attorneys have been asked to solve many problems relating to misbehaving problem successor-trustees of revocable or "living" trusts.  One of the most common problems with trusts once the trustors die and a successor-trustee takes over is the way successor-trustees sometimes handle trust money.  Since living trusts "avoid probate," they are ordinarily not under the supervision of the Superior Court.  While avoiding probate is often touted as a benefit of living trusts, it can also lead to problems with successor-trustees and the way they handle the trust money and assets.

Testamentary Capacity to Make a Trust under California Law

Buffington Law Firm's Trust and Elder Law litigation attorneys are sometimes faced with situations that deal with the issue as to whether a person has the mental capacity to make a contract or, alternatively, whether that person posesses testamentary capacity -- the ability to make a will or trust. To the layperson this may seem straightforward -- it may seem as though a person either has mental capacity or he or she does not. However, under the law, generally, the required mental capacity to make testamentary decisions is lower than the mental capacity required to make contracts.

Why Dynasty Trusts are Usually a Bad Idea -- Dissolve that Trust!

Buffington Law Firm's California Trust Litigation attorneys have handled numerous cases involving so-called "Dynasty Trusts" as well as alternative forms of estate plans similar to these.  A "Dynasty Trust" is an estate plan in which the trust does not simply distribute assets, wind up, and dissolve when the trustors pass away --the way wills usually work.  Instead, the trust is set up to live on for an indefinite period after its creators die, retaining most assets of the estate in the trust, and usually paying mainly income only to the beneficiaries.  This type of trust is designed to control the beneficiaries even after the trustor passes away.  Perhaps the trustors believed that their children are irresponsible with money.  Lawyers sometimes call this type of scheme "dead hand control" as the "dead hand of the past" is controlling the trust, its assets and income, and thereby the beneficiaries.

Why Can't I Get This Frivolous Lawsuit Thrown Out? -- Part 2

In Part 1 of this Blog article we discussed two common procedures for forcing pretrial dismissal of a lawsuit: the Demurrer and the Motion for Summary Judgment.  We saw that the way the law operates plainly "stacks the deck" in favor of the Plaintiff with respect to early dismissal of a lawsuit.  This is because of the law as enacted by the California legislature.  These laws  reflect a strong public policy of allowing plaintiffs, under most circumstances, to have their day in court.

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Buffington Law Firm, PC
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Fountain Valley, CA 92708

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