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 Cheated Out of Your Inheritance?

Inheritance theft destroys lives. Maybe you were cheated out of your beneficial interest in a trust or your property rights as a legatee in a will;  Perhaps you asked your trustee or personal representative for financial documents and other information, and they're acting like they have something to hide. That person may be your brother or sister, and it's tearing your family apart. You've probably got a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach; You don’t know whom to turn to or what to do.

 

You may have to hire an attorney, and fight for your rights in court. Make no mistake; The legal process is anything but easy; It’s a daunting, uphill battle, but justice can and often does prevail.

I know from personal experience what it feels like to be cheated out of an inheritance. That's why I decided to specialize in this area of the law. I can't promise to solve your problems; No lawyer can. But I will give you an honest assessment of  your rights and options; I won't take your case (or your money), unless I think we have a reasonable chance of succeeding on the merits.

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Legal Research Levels the Playing Field.

It’s true that experienced attorneys in expensive law firms, generally have an advantage over solo practitioners like me. Nonetheless,  logically sound arguments, supported by thorough legal research are what persuades judges, not how much a lawyer bills per hour, nor how long they've practiced.  No one can guaranty a particular outcome for any legal proceeding; But I do promise to work as hard as I can to research every fact, statute and case, to support  the legitmate claims of my clients.

 

Why is legal research so important? Trial court decisions are governed by statutes and a doctrine called “Stare Decisis”, a Latin phrase meaning “to stand on things decided”; When laws are passed,  lawmakers can’t possibly foresee or specify how a law should be applied under every possible circumstance. Therefore, the way laws are interpreted and applied in situations which were not specified in the statute itself, are decided by judges. Appellate courts' interpretations of  how to apply statutes to certain fact-patterns, become “legal precedent” and must be followed by trial courts; These interpretations literally become part of the law. The goal of legal research is to find appellate court decisions with fact patterns that are similar to a client's case, to support each and every point of law and argument. Thoroughly researching a matter is hard work and time-consuming. But that's how to level the playing field with high-priced lawyers with more experience. 

Negotiate Before You Litigate.

I fight hard for my clients. I also believe a strong offense is a good defense. But litigation is expensive; Taking a complex trust case all the way to trial can cost $100,000 or more. Although your anger may be justified, don't let it interfere with rational decision-making. Legal matters are risky; No one can promise a positive outcome, and losing a case at trial means you'll be worse off than you were at the beginning. Attorneys therefore have a duty to help their clients negotiate a settlement, before embarking on a full-blown adversarial proceeding. Mediation and other methods of resolving disputes should be embraced, and are often ordered by the courts.

 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, prior to a settlement conference or mediation, I try, (although it's not always possible), to fully research the merits of my clients' cases as if I'm preparing for a trialbecause I'll have far more negotiating power if the opposing parties know we have a good chance of winning at trial.

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