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Recent Blog Posts

What Kinds of Trusts Can Exist in California?

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS A TRUST? In the law, a “trust” is a legal relationship that relates to  property. People think of a trust as a “thing,” but in reality, a trust is a set of relationships, defined with respect to property. The property that is held in a trust is called the trust estate or trust corpus…. Read More »

What is the “Business Judgment Rule”?

By Robert Ross |

THE BUSINESS JUDGMENT RULE WAS DESIGNED TO PROTECT CORPORATE OFFICERS  The “Business Judgment Rule” is a legal principle that protects the officers and directors of corporate entities (for example, a corporation or LLC) from liability for certain kinds of actions (when acting in their official roles, on behalf of the entity). In simplified terms,… Read More »

When Has a California Trustee Breached His or Her Fiduciary Duty?

By Robert Ross |

FIDUCIARIES MUST ACT WITH “UTMOST GOOD FAITH” A fiduciary, like the trustee of a trust, must act with the highest degree of good faith, and for the benefit of the person or entity to whom the fiduciary owes the duty. In the case of a trustee, this means managing the trust, and the trust… Read More »

Who Has a Fiduciary Duty Under California Law?

By Robert Ross |

WHEN DOES A FIDUCIARY DUTY ARISE? Fiduciary relationships arise in several situations, including attorney-client relationships and the relationship between a trustee and a trust/beneficiaries. Generally speaking, fiduciary relationships involve confidentiality, trust, integrity, and a situation where a beneficiary is relying on the expertise, special skills, and/or integrity of someone else. However, a fiduciary duty… Read More »

Who Can be Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty?

By Robert Ross |

Someone who owes, and breaches, a fiduciary duty in a manner that causes injury to the beneficiary.* *As long as the legal elements of the claim are met. BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY IS A TORT IN CALIFORNIA Under California law, breach of a fiduciary duty is a tort (a civil wrong). When the required… Read More »

Can I Sue Someone for Interfering With My Inheritance?

By Robert Ross |

If your situation meets the required elements for a legal claim, you absolutely can. INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH EXPECTED INHERITANCE In California, intentionally interfering with another person’s expected inheritance is a tort (a civil wrong, which allows a person to sue another person in court, assuming the elements are met). Essentially, a claim arises when… Read More »

What is a Trust, and How Are Trusts Created in California?

By Robert Ross |

WHAT IS A TRUST? In California (as in other U.S. states), the law establishes various ways in which the property of a deceased person (a “decedent”) passes to his or her heirs. When the decedent leaves only a will, or dies without any valid estate planning documents, the decedent’s property (called the “estate”) usually… Read More »

When Must a Lawyer Check for Conflicts of Interest?

By Robert Ross |

LAWYERS MUST RUN A CONFLICT CHECK BEFORE AGREEING TO REPRESENT A CLIENT Where a conflict of interest exists, a lawyer must: Obtain proper consents and clearances, if the conflict can be waived Refuse to represent the potential client, if the conflict cannot be waived or addressed in a way that permits representation Since this… Read More »

When Can a Lawyer NOT Represent a Client?

By Robert Ross |

DISQUALIFICATION OF LAWYERS A lawyer may be disqualified from representing a client in a variety of situations. If the situation exists before an attorney-client relationship is formed, the lawyer may be (and often is) prohibited from representing the potential client. If the situation arises after an attorney-client relationship is formed, the lawyer may (and usually must) resign… Read More »

What Happens if a Lawyer Violates Conflict of Interest Rules?

By Robert Ross |

WHAT HAPPENS IF A LAWYER BREAKS THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST RULES? Lawyers have a duty to identify conflicts of interest and handle them properly. If a California lawyer breaks the conflict of interest rules, (s)he may be subject to: disqualification/an order to recuse himself or herself from representing the relevant client in some cases,… Read More »

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