The Ultimate in Protection to STOP Bad Actors...
While California remains the most litigious place on planet earth, the California legislature and courts have successfully eroded people's ability to protect themselves and their families in the recent past. Indeed, in the 2017 California Supreme Court Case, Carmack v. Reynolds, the high court set a dangerous precedent by opening the door for creditors to attack spendthrift trusts. Similarly, in a 2017 9th Circuit Case (which is the federal appellate court that rules over California - along with the entire U.S. West Coast), United States v. Harris, the court held that creditors could invade discretionary trusts.
These rulings were pretty big blows to parents hoping to protect their children from wrongdoers. But even before these cases, California Senate Bill 1264 decreased trust protection (as of January 1, 2010) by making reliance on "No Contest Clauses" dicey. That's because under this bill, declaratory relief is no longer available with such and also since 2010, "No Contest Clauses" only provide protection in three narrow types of situations.
From our perspective, there is hope however. Despite the direction California has been heading for some time now, we've created ways to protect beneficiaries from themselves and from others as well as to prevent someone in the family from trying to overturn mom and/or dad's specific intentions as evidenced in their Will and Trust, especially when parents want one or more children to receive little or nothing. But the strategies we created are not universal.
That is, because our firm not only engages in pre-planning but also litigates cases after mom and/or dad are gone, we're aware of the bogus arguments and strategies that bad actors use to try and "steal" inheritances. To prevent bad actors from prevailing, over the years we developed proprietary legal strategies to stop frivolous legal actions before they even begin. Because of our belt and suspenders approach to estate planning and litigation avoidance, to date, no supposed beneficiary has ever been successful in overturning one of our estate plans.
It's worth highlighting that many people believe they have the "Wally Cleaver" family, but in our experience once mom and dad are gone, oftentimes the gloves come off and siblings sue one another, ripping families apart forever. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of blended families. Indeed, when we are creating a plan for couples in their second or third marriage, we preemptively assume there will be a lawsuit later and utilize our proprietary litigation avoidance strategies and tools 100% of the time.
Since it is better to be safe than sorry, if a litigation avoidance trust sounds like something you or your family needs, you should strongly consider making an appointment with Kaiden Elder Law Group to set up a litigation avoidance trust so that you know you've done everything you can to prevent bad actors from unravelling your estate plan.