Category: Firm Post

Judicial Reformation of a Will – Like Running Through a Minefield!

By Hoge Fenton | 07.16.2019 | Firm Post

Our trust and estate litigation team recently took a will contest case to trial in which the decedent’s estate planning documents did not accurately reflect her intent. At issue was what, if anything, the court would do about it. The consequences of having a will which does not express what the decedent intended can be devastating to the heirs. Those contesting the will face the burden of proving the decedent’s intentions, and the evidentiary hurdle is high. There must be clear and convincing evidence. In California, the intent of the testator – and not merely words on a page – govern the disposition of one’s estate. In determining that intent the court gives great weight to what the testator originally communicated to the drafting attorney. In our case, the attorney who drafted the will testified at trial as to what the decedent said about how she wanted her community property controlled. Fortunately, that attorney had maintained detailed notes of the client meetings. Ultimately, we persuaded the court and prevailed at trial. Practice Pointer: Although this situation is rare, it underscores the importance of attorneys, financial advisors, and related professionals keeping good notes that reflect the intentions of their clients. Click here for the full article, authored by Denise E. Chambliss and Mallory L. Homewood, and reprinted with permission of the Eastern Alameda County Bar Association (EACBA Newsletter, Summer 2019). This article is provided as an educational service by Hoge Fenton for clients and friends of the firm. This communique is an overview […]

The 2019 Lavender Law® Conference & Career Fair – An Intersectional and Inclusive Approach to Workplace Trainings and Policies

By Hoge Fenton | 07.15.2019 | Firm Post

Jenn Protas, a Hoge Fenton shareholder and employment law attorney, will be speaking at the 2019 Lavender Law Conference on August 7, 2019 in Philadelphia. The program addresses an inclusive approach to workplace policies and training, demonstrating Jenn’s ongoing commitment to advancing inclusion and diversity in the legal profession.

Fraud Alert: LLC Identity Theft

By Hoge Fenton | 07.2.2019 | Firm Post

  A new type of identity theft is occurring in California: the hijacking of legitimate LLCs. Identity thieves are now masquerading as LLC real property owners to get hard money cash out loans. They then disappear with the money. How they do it: They file fraudulent annual Statements of Information (SI) with the Secretary of State (SOS) and modify the existing SI via the SOS website. The SOS does not verify identities or double-check the information, so this is easy to do from an overseas location. They apply for a hard money loan (usually on clear vacant land) by emailing a fraudulent operating agreement and impersonating a managing member. They get the money and disappear. Red flags for this fraud include: Free and clear property Vacant land Cash out hard money brokered loan Loan broker/lender never meets with principals Latest Secretary of State Statement of Information not executed by last managing member shown on the previous filing LLC operating agreement not executed at time of incorporation or purchase of property Loan documents emailed to borrower instead of delivered by title company-approved notary service Concerned? One option is to scrutinize the LLC carefully, including: A review of the entire SOS SI chain Comparison of the date of the operating agreement to dates of incorporation & property purchase Require [if practical] … the lender & escrow to deal with the principals in person and not from afar More Details: Thieves are exploiting the hard money space due to the space’s focus on […]

Record Number of Hoge Fenton Attorneys Recognized as Northern California Super Lawyers

By Hoge Fenton | 06.28.2019 | Firm Post

  Hoge Fenton is proud to announce that a record number of its attorneys have been named 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. This year’s selection of 15 attorneys is a record number of Super Lawyers for the firm. Only 5% of lawyers in California are selected to receive the Super Lawyers honor, and only 2.5% of the lawyers in California are selected to receive the Rising Stars honor. “We have 15 Super Lawyers this year – and it’s our 16th consecutive year of recognition! This is no accident,” said Daniel W. Ballesteros, Managing Shareholder at Hoge Fenton. “We hire and develop attorneys who are committed to legal and intellectual excellence. Our Super Lawyers are leaders in their areas of practice and value the community around them.” 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers Daniel W. Ballesteros, Real Estate Michael T. Bonetto, Family Law Alison P. Buchanan, Business Litigation John F. Cavin, Real Estate Denise E. Chambliss, Estate & Trust Litigation Shella Deen, Business Litigation Timothy Maximoff, Estate & Probate Sarju A. Naran, Employment & Labor Natasha M. Parrett, Family Law Jenn M. Protas, Employment & Labor Sblend A. Sblendorio, Real Estate Stephanie O. Sparks, Intellectual Property 2019 Northern California Rising Stars Heather L. Boshears, Estate & Probate Steven J. Kahn, Real Estate Crystal N. Riggins, Business Litigation Our attorneys have been identified by their peers for their outstanding work in the profession. Selections to Super Lawyers are made using a multi-phase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, […]

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