Category: Accounting

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Free Rider No More — When Can a California Trust Beneficiary Shift Legal Fees to Other Beneficiaries?

American courts (including our California state courts), in contrast to courts in England, do not typically award attorneys’ fees to a lawsuit’s “victor.”  There are, of course, exceptions to this so-called “American Rule.”  Among them is the “common fund” exception, which provides that one who incurs fees winning a lawsuit that creates a fund for … Continue Reading

Stepmother Prevails on Accounting Issues at Court of Appeal

Sometimes stepmothers are just misunderstood. Babbitt v. Superior Court (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 1135, recently decided by the California Court of Appeal, involves one of the fact patterns that we often see in California trust litigation: children from a decedent’s prior marriage have conflict with their biological parent’s surviving spouse. In other words, after dad passes away, … Continue Reading

An Accountant and a Lawyer Walk Into a Bar…

At the Sacramento Estate Planning Council’s 2016 Technical Forum on Tuesday an elderly gentleman sitting next to me said “old accountants never die, they just lose their balance” and “old attorneys just lose their appeal(s).”  Sometimes both happen when an unbalanced accounting results in a lost appeal.  The California Court of Appeal issued a rare … Continue Reading
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