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    • Monetary Damages Do Not Necessarily Achieve An Emotional Win

      In California, over the years, I have handled many cases involving disputes between family members over the estates of a deceased relative. Brothers against sisters, sisters against brothers, uncles ...

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    • Litigation is Like Lawyer Shows on Television (NOT)

      By California Trust Litigation Attorney – Ted Hankin Over the years I have watched many attorney-themed television programs. I understand, given the time allotted, one must take the case and try it to ...

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    • You Cannot Divide A Single Family Residence; Partition By Sale Is The Remedy

      So here was the situation; my client and her brother owned their mother’s residence as tenants in common ( California Civil Code §686 ). My client’s brother did not agree with the appraisal that was ...

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    • California Living Trust Trustee Must Respond to Petition for Accounting

      Previously, I described sending a demand letter to the father of my clients, beneficiaries of their grandparents’ living trust. I demanded that the father, as trustee of their trusts, account to them ...

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    • California Living Trust Beneficiary Compels Accounting to Obtain Distribution from Trust

      In my Orange County, California estate planning practice, I am constantly amazed at the greed shown by family members towards each other. Although I have been in practicing thirty years now with ...

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    • I Found DNA in a Hospital in California

      Recall that my client’s half-sister now claims that they are not related … and counsel and I agreed to use a DNA laboratory to determine the likelihood of relationship. Problem: the presumed natural ...

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    • DNA ... Who Has My Father's DNA? Fun in California.

      So here is my client, fighting her half-sister in Superior Court of Los Angeles County North East District, over whether she qualifies an heir of her natural father’s estate under California Probate ...

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    • To Inherit From A Natural Parent, An Adopted Away Child Must Satisfy Specific Requirements

      So here is my client; her natural father died without a will and her half-sister claims the entire estate, alleging that my client did not satisfy the special circumstances required under California ...

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    • California Living Trust Beneficiary Compels Accounting to Obtain Distribution from Trust

      In my Orange County, California estate planning practice, I am constantly amazed at the greed shown by family members towards each other. Although I have been in practicing thirty years now with ...

      Read More
    • California Living Trust Beneficiary Compels Accounting to Obtain Distribution from Trust

      In my Orange County, California estate planning practice, I am constantly amazed at the greed shown by family members towards each other. Although I have been in practicing thirty years now with ...

      Read More
    • Proof of Undue Influence at Trial in the Orange County, California, Superior Court

      In my last post, the person who I had accused of Undue Influence ( California Civil Code §1575 ), had taken the witness stand during the trial of the case. Recall that I had alleged that my client’s ...

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    • Orange County Superior Court Procedure

      As I described in my prior post, my client’s cousin, an elderly gentleman, appeared to have been taken in by his caregiver and was demanding that my client give up the checkbook and account that she ...

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    • When Co-Tenants Are Fighting A California Court Can Order That The Property Be Sold

      In my last post, I described how my client and her brother came to own, as tenants in common ( California Civil Code §686 ), the single family residence of their mother. My client wanted her mother’s ...

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    • Resolution of Litigation in California

      As I stated in my last post, my client’s half-sister disputed whether my client and the half-sister were even related; DNA tissue was found at a hospital where my client’s natural father had been ...

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    • California Discovery Statutes Apply in Trust Litigation

      The trust accounting had been filed with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County , Central Judicial District, but I had many questions concerning the entries on the accounting. What to do? Under ...

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    • Proof of Undue Influence at Trial in the Orange County, California, Superior Court

      In my last post, the person who I had accused of Undue Influence ( California Civil Code §1575 ), had taken the witness stand during the trial of the case. Recall that I had alleged that my client’s ...

      Read More
    • Trial In the Orange County Supeior Court, Santa Ana, California

      I have been describing in my prior two posts how it was that my client’s complaint, alleging Undue Influence California Civil Code §1575 (and, if brought today, Elder Abuse), came to trial in the ...

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    • Orange County Superior Court Procedure

      As I described in my prior post, my client’s cousin, an elderly gentleman, appeared to have been taken in by his caregiver and was demanding that my client give up the checkbook and account that she ...

      Read More
    • Did You Know That You Can Include Your Pets in Your Estate Plan in California?

      It’s true. Sometimes referred to as “companion animals”, California Probate Code §15212 specifically provides for the creation of a trust to care for your beloved dog, cat or other companion animal ...

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    • My Loved One Died; How Do I Know if a Probate is Necessary in California?

      Virtually every decision regarding probate is based on title to or value of assets owned by the decedent. Title is important because ownership can transfer as a matter of law (e.g. joint tenancy with ...

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    • If a Parcel of Land Owned by a Decedent Was Not Titled to the Trust in California, is All Lost?

      In other words, must there be a full-on probate in California because the real property asset (assuming a value in excess of $20,000.00, no joint tenancy or transfer on death provision in the deed) ...

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    • Attorney John A. Messina, Jr. Recognized for Professional Excellence

      All of us at Messina & Hankin, LLP are pleased to congratulate attorney John A. Messina, Jr. for being included in Marquis Who's Who. Marquis Who's Who is a collection of biographical volumes that ...

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    • In California, a Step-Parent Adoption May Cut-Off the Adopted Child’s Inheritance Rights From a Natural Parent

      As set forth previously, my client’s mother was not married to my client’s natural father. My client’s mother did marry however; and her new husband, the step-parent of my client, adopted her (a ...

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    • When is a Daughter Not an Heir of Her Natural Father’s Probate Estate in California?

      As I described in my prior post, my client’s natural father had died without a will (i.e. California Probate Code §88 ) and her half-sister from her father’s prior marriage had petitioned to be ...

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    • California Probate Petition is Filed by Half-Sister Seeking to be Declared the Sole Heir; The Fun Begins

      As I mentioned in my last post, my client was the daughter of a man who had recently died She had a half-sister, who was the child of her father and another woman. The difference was that the dead ...

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    • A Real Estate Auction Is Held In Los Angeles County Superior Court

      Previously I told how the court determined that the single family residence owned by my client and her brother would be sold, as it could not be divided, all in accordance with California Code of ...

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    • Is Probate in California always required when someone dies?

      Probate is the court supervision of the distribution of assets of a deceased person after payment of taxes and creditors. Probate can be in accordance with a will, whereby the deceased person leaves ...

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    • Dual Agency; Not in the Consumer's Best Interest

      “One cannot serve two masters. A broker, even through two agents, should not represent both buyer and seller.” First licensed as a real estate sales person in 1978, a real estate broker in 1984, and ...

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    • Proof of Undue Influence at Trial in the Orange County, California, Superior Court

      In my last post, the person who I had accused of Undue Influence ( California Civil Code §1575 ), had taken the witness stand during the trial of the case. Recall that I had alleged that my client’s ...

      Read More
    • Trial In the Orange County Supeior Court, Santa Ana, California

      I have been describing in my prior two posts how it was that my client’s complaint, alleging Undue Influence California Civil Code §1575 (and, if brought today, Elder Abuse), came to trial in the ...

      Read More
    • Orange County Superior Court Procedure

      As I described in my prior post, my client’s cousin, an elderly gentleman, appeared to have been taken in by his caregiver and was demanding that my client give up the checkbook and account that she ...

      Read More
    • Using Mediation in California to Settle a Case

      I had, as described in the prior post, all of the ammunition that I needed to go to hearing in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County , Central Judicial District. However, hearings can be costly, ...

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    • California Living Trust Beneficiary Compels Accounting to Obtain Distribution from Trust

      In my Orange County, California estate planning practice, I am constantly amazed at the greed shown by family members towards each other. Although I have been in practicing thirty years now with ...

      Read More
    • Explaining Dynasty Trusts and Philanthropy

      Dynasty Trusts ensure that wealth gets passed down to successive generations. In fact, the special tax provisions in this wealth-building vehicle can allow you to amass a fortune relatively quickly. ...

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    • Why a Trust and Not a Will in California?

      A frequent question that comes up when doing estate planning in my Newport Beach, California office is why should one pay for a trust, when a will is so much cheaper. My response is are you thinking ...

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    • My Loved One Died; How Do I Know if a Probate is Necessary in California?

      Virtually every decision regarding probate is based on title to or value of assets owned by the decedent. Title is important because ownership can transfer as a matter of law (e.g. joint tenancy with ...

      Read More
    • Orange County Superior Court Procedure

      As I described in my prior post, my client’s cousin, an elderly gentleman, appeared to have been taken in by his caregiver and was demanding that my client give up the checkbook and account that she ...

      Read More
    • California Protects Seniors from Abuse and Undue Influence

      Before I moved my office to Newport Beach, California, I was a partner in a law firm in Santa Ana, California. While there I tried a case that was decided in accordance with the statutes concerning ...

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    • Proof of Undue Influence at Trial in the Orange County, California, Superior Court

      In my last post, the person who I had accused of Undue Influence ( California Civil Code §1575 ), had taken the witness stand during the trial of the case. Recall that I had alleged that my client’s ...

      Read More
    • Trial In the Orange County Supeior Court, Santa Ana, California

      I have been describing in my prior two posts how it was that my client’s complaint, alleging Undue Influence California Civil Code §1575 (and, if brought today, Elder Abuse), came to trial in the ...

      Read More
    • Your Mother's California Will Disinherits You But You And Your Sisters Are Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship On The Deed To Your Mother's House; Who Wins?

      As I have said previously, greed is an incredible motivating factor in creating family discord; in this Orange County case, my client’s mother disinherited him in her will ( California Probate Code ...

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    • Monetary Damages Do Not Necessarily Achieve An Emotional Win

      In California, over the years, I have handled many cases involving disputes between family members over the estates of a deceased relative. Brothers against sisters, sisters against brothers, uncles ...

      Read More
    • Why a Trust and Not a Will in California?

      A frequent question that comes up when doing estate planning in my Newport Beach, California office is why should one pay for a trust, when a will is so much cheaper. My response is are you thinking ...

      Read More
    • Messina & Hankin LLP Earns Place on Top 40 Wrongful Death Settlements List

      Each year, TopVerdict™ strives to recognize law firms and attorneys who have achieved an outstanding result in personal injury and wrongful death cases in their state each year. These top verdicts are ...

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