When Karl Lagerfeld passed away in February of 2019 in France, many speculated that his cat, Choupette, was well provided for as part of his estimated $150 million estate. This pampered feline was much loved by Mr. Lagerfeld during his life, and appeared in photoshoots and featured in many high-end fashion magazines. However, over a year after Mr. Lagerfeld’s death, certain media outlets have reported that the administrator of Mr. Lagerfeld’s estate has “disappeared.” Based on these reports, many question whether Choupette will ever be able to dig her claws into her alleged inheritance.

Continue Reading The Tale of Choupette the Cat and Other Common Issues in Trust and Estate Litigation

Last month, my Weintraub colleagues and I had the pleasure of speaking at the Professional Fiduciary Association of California annual conference on the topic of the attorney-client privilege and its application to clients serving in a fiduciary capacity (trustee, executor, conservator, agent, etc.).

Most people have a cursory understanding of what the attorney-client privilege does – it keeps communications between clients and their attorneys confidential and free from discovery, which fosters honest and complete communication between client and lawyer – but many individuals don’t realize that there are important limitations and exceptions to the privilege, particularly for those serving as fiduciaries. These crucial limitations and exceptions apply regardless of whether the fiduciary is a professional fiduciary or simply an individual who is administering a trust or estate or serving as a conservator for a loved one or friend.


Continue Reading Focus on Fiduciaries: What Fiduciaries Need to Know About the Attorney-Client Privilege

BrendanBIn most California civil cases, a party generally must wait until a trial court issues a final judgment before he or she can get through the doors of the Court of Appeal.  While there are a few exceptions, this rule (sometimes called the one-final-judgment rule) prevents litigants from complaining to the appellate court about every ruling in a given case in piecemeal fashion.  Even when they receive an appealable judgment, parties to an appeal often find that getting a decision from the reviewing court takes endurance and patience; e.g., the time from the notice of appeal to the decision frequently takes over a year.

Things work a bit differently in probate court.  In that forum, parties can appeal from a multitude of rulings that a trial court may issue well before any final judgment.  And litigants who feel like they are growing old dealing with other types of appeals may find less waiting when it comes to probate appeals.  That is because probate appeals are subject to statutory preference (i.e., hurry-up-and-get-it-over-with rules) under section 44 of the California Code of Civil Procedure.  Still, it is a good idea to file an application for calendar preference (to remind the appellate court that yours is one of those cases) in order to speed things along.


Continue Reading Don’t Make the Grave Mistake of Killing Your Appeal from an Order of the Probate Court