August 2016 Archives

BUDGET CRISIS A GOOD THING?

Because of the court budget crisis which has pushed the courts to cut back important services to attorneys and the public in general, many courts including Probate Court have adopted procedures to help alleviate court congestion by having qualified attorneys serve as pro tem judges and discovery facilitators without pay or "pro-tem". These are good programs. Our firm participates in these programs. It is hoped that attorneys will not attempt to "game" the system and abuse these services in an attempt to delay a case from moving forward in the system. An example of this would be to object to discovery such as a subpoena knowing that the issues would not be handled by the judge but referred to a pro-bono attorney to handle initially before it gets to a judge if needed and simply cause delay. 

ALZHEIMERS?

The average survival rate is eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's - some live as few as three years after diagnosis, while others live as long as 20. Most people with Alzheimer's don't die from the disease itself, but from pneumonia, a urinary tract infection or complications from a fall.

REAL ESTATE SOARS

Recently one of our clients prevailed in a Will contest and as a result the Will she fought for was decided by the court to be the one to be probated. One of the assets in the probate estate was a piece of real estate in an impoverished part of Contra Costa County worth very little. We were able to find a realtor who was quite sharp and this realtor found a buyer for the property at a price we thought was more than reasonable. There were only two beneficiaries of the estate and of course, our client the executor felt that the price was right, but the other beneficiary who had lost the Will contest objected, indicating that he felt that the price was too low. Because of his objections, we had to go to get court approval for the sale which was already to close and in escrow and obviously it was inconvenient to postpone the sale to get court approval. Were we wrong. Real estate is so hot now in the Bay Area that even junk real estate value has exploded. At the sale the original purchaser finally prevailed but he had to ward off 9 overbids in Probate Department 14, Contra Costa County Superior Court. The Judge was like an auctioneer on that particular morning. The final sales value was almost 30% higher than the original sales figure. The extra work was more than compensated for and everybody went home happy, which is nice for a change.

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Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP | Est. 1995

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Lafayette, CA 94549

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