The Demiris Law Firm, P.C. and MattHew Toth, Esq Prevail at trial on Conservatorship To Keep Single Mother as Conservator

On May 10, 2018, in the Superior Court of California, County of Contra Costa, Dept. 15, The Demiris Law Firm, P.C. and court-appointed counsel Matthew Toth Esq., were able to prevail at trial to maintain the appointment of a single-mother as conservator of the person and estate of her son.  An action was brought to remove the duly court-appointed conservator by her ex-husband, who pursued the matter to trial.  Konstantine "Kosta" Demiris and Heather Maslowski represented the conservator.  Mr. Matthew Toth represented the conservatee.  The trial lasted two-days.

The Demiris Law Firm, P.C. Prevails in Will Contest

On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Contra Costa County Superior Court, in the case of Estate of Wong, The Demiris Law Firm, P.C. was able to successfully defend a settlement agreement and obtain orders to enforce the judgment admitting a contested will to probate.  The intensely litigated will contest involved multiple family members, law firms, churches, and a charitable organization.  Attorney Konstantine "Kosta" Demiris was able to prevail for his client in the inheritance dispute.

The Demiris Law Firm is Seeking an Associate Attorney

The Demiris Law, Firm, A Professional Corporation, is an up and coming Walnut Creek law firm specializing in probate, conservatorship, and elder law litigation. We are looking for a litigation attorney with 3-7 years of experience, preferably with a background in probate law. Opportunity to appear in court, handle trial matters, and develop a wide variety of skills including estate planning, probate and trust administration. 

Emphasis on well-developed writing and social skills. Candidates will be required to provide a resume and writing samples. This position is full-time.  Pay is competitive and includes benefits such as medical and 401k.

No-Contest Clauses may not be effective unless properly inserted in most recent trust or will instrument

A no-contest clause or in terrorem clause, should be carefully drafted and implemented in estate planning to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences.  Such a clause can punish a person from filing a pleading in any court and result in disinheritance.  

Some people and some estate planners may insert a no-contest clause in the initial trust or will instrument and then years later draft an amendment to a trust or a codicil to a will or even a new instrument.  However, if the subsequent instrument does not include a no-contest clause or is not drafted properly to reference a prior no-contest clause then it may not be protected.  Also, if the original instrument does not properly refer to subsequent instrument(s) then such instrument(s) may not be protected.  This can be very problematic as a no-contest clause only applies to "protected instruments" under Probate Code section 21310.  Again, many no-contest clauses do not apply to future instruments (as such are not contemplated) and many amendments or subsequent wills may revoke prior instruments in their entirety. 

Even in situations where prior instruments are referenced as being given full effect, no-contest clauses have generally been narrowly construed and found to be ineffective.  The recent Court of Appeals case in Aviles v. Swearingen (2017) 2d Civil No. B281420, provides a prime example.  In that case a restatement and amendment of a trust incorporated terms of a prior trust (which had a no-contest clause) but did not specifically include a new no-contest clause, nor did it cite specifically to incorporating the old no-contest clause.  

If you find yourself in a litigation situation or potential dispute, it is best to consult with experienced counsel in such matters, such as the attorneys at the Demiris Law Firm to help guide you.

The Demiris Law Firm, P.C. obtains Temporary Conservatorship After Evidentiary Hearing

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, Constance Figuers, attorney at the Demiris Law Firm was successful at an evidentiary hearing in the Superior Court of California, Alameda County in obtaining a temporary conservatorship of the person for an elderly lady in need.  After an all-day trial and after multiple witnesses were called to testify, the Court granted the temporary conservatorship of the person and appointed a private professional fiduciary.  The litigation was intense as it involved the suspension of powers of attorney involving the elderly lady's husband.

The Demiris Law Firm obtains Elder Abuse TRO with move-out orders and dog custody order

On September 1, 2017, the Demiris Law Firm successfully petitioned and obtained two temporary restraining orders involving the abuse of an elderly client.  The elderly client was threatened with bodily harm as well as the snatching of his dog by tenants at his own home.  The Demiris Law Firm was able to obtain immediate eviction orders as well as protective orders ensuring the custody of the client's pet dog.

Chris and Kosta move to the Demiris Law Firm P.C.

After many moons together, Chris Moore and Kosta Demiris are reorganizing the firm and moving offices.  They will now be part of the Demiris Law Firm PC and located at 700 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite 140, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.

Many thanks to our friends, family, clients, and colleagues for all of your support throughout the years.

Recent CA case confirms that a trustee's attorney-client correspondence generally stays with the office of trustee

In a recent case in the First Appellate District, Division Three, Court of Appeals, Fiduciary Trust International of California v. Conrad Lee Klein et. al (2017), the Court held that correspondence between an attorney and trustee-client is generally not privileged when it comes to being provided to a successor trustee.  In other words, the office of trustee generally holds the privilege and when a new trustee takes the office, then that person is entitled to all attorney-client correspondence by the predecessor trustee except in very limited circumstances.  Some of those limited situations could potentially exist when the trustee pays for his/her own separate counsel, out of personal funds (not trust funds), and takes steps to preserve the confidentiality of the communications.  

This ruling is in line with prior rulings by the California Court of Appeals.  This case directly cites the seminal case for trustee attorney-client privilege, Moeller v. Superior Court (1997) 16 Cal.4th 1124.