Representing Clients in Trust, Estate, and Probate matters
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Experience

If you find yourself embroiled in a trust or estate dispute, qualified counsel at Estate Law California APC has the expertise and resources to help you efficiently navigate the law and protect your rights.

Estate Law California APC’s founding partner, Hannah Elisha, Esq. helped clients advocate for their rights in the following matters:

Recovery of Real Property

Hannah represented clients whose elderly mother was unduly influenced by a family member to sign over title to her home. Hannah helped the clients initiate a conservatorship for their mother and file a petition to recover the property under Probate Code Section 850 and the financial elder abuse protections afforded by Welfare & Institutions Code Section 15610.30. Hannah’s clients successfully recovered the lost interest in their mother’s home.

Civil and Probate Litigation to Set Aside a Trust Amendment Due to Lack of Capacity and Undue Influence

Hannah represented a court appointed attorney tasked with the responsibility of administering a trust for the benefit of multiple nationally recognized charitable organizations. Unfortunately, while the creators of the trust had very clearly expressed their intention that their trust estate be divided equally among these charitable organizations, after the husband’s death, the surviving widow was unduly influenced to amend the trust so that the couple’s assets were left to a third party as sole beneficiary. Through a series of lawsuits contesting the trust amendment and seeking remedies for financial elder abuse Hannah and co-counsel were successful not only in setting aside the trust amendment but also in recovering monies for distribution to the charitable beneficiaries.

Probate Litigation to Set Aside Trust Amendment Due to Lack of Capacity and Undue Influence

Hannah represented a client who was disinherited from her mother’s trust after a series of suspicious events. After obtaining medical records and engaging in extensive discovery, Hannah helped the client develop a case to set aside the contested trust amendment on grounds of lack of capacity and undue influence. In light of the evidence, the disinherited daughter was successful establishing that her deceased mother’s siblings had improperly procured the contested amendment and she was able to recover her trust share.

Defense of Trust Amendment in Case Alleging Lack of Capacity and Undue Influence

Hannah represented a client whose estranged siblings filed a civil and a probate action alleging that their deceased father’s estate planning should be set aside on grounds of lack of capacity and undue influence. Hannah helped the client defend the two lawsuits and the case was successfully resolved.

Disinherited Children Fight Back Against Stepmothers in Multiple Cases - Lack of Capacity and Undue Influence

Hannah has helped multiple clients defend their inheritance after their parent married a new spouse who tried to coopt the family’s assets for their own personal benefit, disinheriting, or significantly deceasing the assets available for the parent’s original children. In these cases conservatorships, temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, and/or cases for financial elder abuse were litigated.

Defense of Trust Amendment Against Lack of Capacity and Undue Influence Allegations

Hannah helped a client defend her mother’s trust from a misguided petition filed by the client’s uncle to set aside an amendment to the client’s deceased mother’s trust on grounds of alleged undue influence and lack of capacity. The uncle, who was living in the deceased mother’s house rent free did not want to honor the amendment’s instructions that the house be sold, and the proceeds distributed, in part, to decedent’s daughter. Hannah helped the client defend the lack of capacity and undue influence allegations and filed a petition demanding that the uncle comply with the trust amendment’s instructions, not only selling the property but retroactively paying for rent as of the date of decedent’s death. The case was successfully resolved to the benefit of the client.

Trust Administration Litigation

Hannah represented clients whose father passed away shortly after marrying a new wife and amending his trust to make the new wife trustee. Following their father’s death, the clients’ stepmother discontinued beneficiary distributions to decedent’s children and started spending the down the trust’s assets for her own benefit. Hannah petitioned the court and through intense pressure and litigation was successful negotiating a settlement allowing decedent’s children to permanently separate their trust shares from their stepmother’s control.

Petition to Modify

Hannah represented the trustee of a trust wherein the trust creators intentionally included stringent controls in their trust limiting access to assets for two of their spendthrift children. These two spendthrift beneficiaries filed a petition attempting to modify the trust under Probate Code Sections 15409 and 17200 to obtain unfettered assets to their parent’s assets. Hannah was successful defending against the beneficiaries’ petition to modify the trust and the wayward beneficiaries’ petition was dismissed by the court.

Enforcement of No Contest Clause

Hannah represented a client whose sister challenged the validity of documents executed in conjunction with their parents’ trust. Hannah was able to successfully use the trust’s no contest clause to terminate the errant sister’s challenges.

Defense in No Contest Clause Action

Hannah represented a client whose sister-in-law attempted to disinherit the client by filing a petition claiming that the trust’s no contest clause had been triggered. Hannah filed a demurrer to the petition, identifying the deficiencies in the no contest clause petition. Thereafter, the sister-in-law withdrew the no contest petition.

Forged Holograph Will

Hannah represented the parents of a deceased child whose romantic partner alleged that the decedent executed a holographic (a handwritten) will leaving all of the son’s assets to her. Hannah filed an objection to the girlfriend’s probate of the holographic will on grounds of forgery, and/or undue influence and helped the parents file their own petition to open an intestate estate for their son.

Conservatorship Partition Action

Hannah represented a client who was acting as conservator for an elderly family member with dementia. The conservatee’s ex-husband filed a civil partition lawsuit claiming that the conservatee was required to sell the family home and reimburse him for expenses related to the property. Hannah defended against the civil partition action and helped the conservator file the necessary pleadings in the probate court to sell the real property. The case was successfully resolved and after the conservatee’s death the conservatorship closed.

Trust Interpretation Action

Hannah represented two trustees who were responsible for administering decedent’s trust. Beneficiaries of the trust filed a petition asking that the trust be terminated under a provision of the trust allowing termination based on a majority vote of the beneficiaries. Hannah filed multiple pleadings on behalf of the trustees and engaged in vigorous law and motion, including a motion for summary judgment, on the trust language and proper interpretation.

Probate and Civil Litigation Over Historic Deed of Trust

Decades ago, as part of a divorce settlement, decedent obtained a deed of trust, providing that decedent’s ex-husband would pay a sum of money with interest. Years later after decedent died her daughter, who was appointed administrator of the decedent’s estate, learned that the deed of trust had not been paid. Hannah helped the client uphold the estate’s rights under the deed of trust. After civil, probate, and appellate litigation the case was successfully resolved.

Successful Probate Litigation Over Survivorship Rights in Real Property Held in Joint Tenancy

During their marriage, husband and wife took title to multiple pieces of real property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. The couple separated but elected not to divorce. Years later the husband died, and members of the husband’s family attempted to claim an ownership interest over the real property. Hannah helped the client defend against the family’s inappropriate lawsuits. The probate court sustained (granted) two separate demurrers which Hannah filed on behalf of the client and the court of appeal affirmed a related family court ruling denying the husband’s family to retroactively terminate the couple’s marriage for the purposes of gaining title to the property.
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