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Sample Cases & Results - Law Offices of Ernest J. Kim

Problem:  Wife of 20+ yrs was about lose all of her deceased husband’s property to her stepchildren in probate court.  Wife received incorrect legal advice from her nephew - who was an attorney (but the well meaning nephew did not specialize in estate planning). Wife was about to "walk away" with nothing.

Result:   We searched for and obtained key financial documents which were favorable to the Wife, established her rights, and obtained a settlement of a substantial share of the estate for her without trial. (Even her nephew was very pleased with this result).

Problem:  Heirs of a deceased brother were shocked to receive a claim of heirship from the decedent's "child" that no one had ever heard of.  The "child" presented documents from a foreign government overseas,  that showed her family relationship to the deceased.  The siblings of the deceased were about to lose their brother's life's savings to a complete stranger but with their brother dead and unable to answer questions, they had no way of being sure she was really their niece.

Result:   We searched for and obtained the decedent's true family history from US government records and established at trial that the "child" was not an heir,  and that the documents she had submitted to the court from the foreign country were not authentic.  The "child's" false claim of heirship was rejected by the court.

Problem:  Elderly wife of deceased husband was told that she had signed away all her rights to inherit any property and she was evicted from the home she and her husband had lived in for many years.  Without a home and unable to pay rent for a new home, she said she had no recollection of signing any such documents, but no one believed her and she could not afford a court trial.

Result:   We obtained an expert review of the questioned documents by a forensic document examiner who concluded that the wife's "signatures" on key documents were forgeries.   Using the information to  establish her rights, we obtained a settlement without trial. 

Problem: Brother of our client was the Trustee of their parents' trust.  Upon the death of both parents, Brother would not provide information about trust assets, would not pay our client's share of the trust assets to her, and repeatedly asked for her signatures on "waiver" forms if she wanted to speed up the process.  Brother's attorney blamed the delays on "difficulties" of trust administration and offered "partial" payments IF she signed the waivers.   Month after month passed with no information and no distributions of assets, so the Client finally came to us.  

Result:  We advised her not to sign any waivers.  We notified the Trustee's attorney of the breaches and problems with their position, reminding him of the requirements of certain California laws the trustee was violating, and reviewing our client's avenues of recourse. Within 48 hours, the Trustee paid our client the whole distribution due to our client without holding back any portions - and our client waived none of her rights.

Problem:  Father suffered a stroke and was comatose in intensive care for weeks. As a result, the father's business was about to fail, with many problems including pending eviction for failure to pay rent, loss of business assets to competitors and loss of key employees, etc.. Father did not have a Power of Attorney in place, or a business employee or Agent designated with the legal authority to intervene to protect the Father's business.

Result:  We obtained emergency authorization from the Superior Court authorizing his daughter to immediately intervene at the business.   Within a few days of retaining us, the daughter was able to recover business assets, fire the bad employees, and run the business until Father recovered.

Problem:  Brother was tricked by Sister into signing away important rights to receive his share of the inheritance from his parents' trust.  Brother's signature on the document allowed Sister to control everything, and Brother thought he had no recourse other than to take whatever Sister was willing to give him.

Result:  We obtained a court order in favor of the Brother, awarding him his rightful share of the inheritance, as was intended by his parents all along. 

Problem: Child A and Child B were beneficiaries of their parent’s trust.  A family member who favored their own children took charge of the trust.  Child A and Child B could not receive any of the funds due to them from the trust, for several years.

Result:  We helped Child A and B receive all of the funds due to them.  In addition, Child A and B received all of the attorneys' fees they had expended.

Problem: Client loaned money to a friend.  The friend died before repaying the loan. Due to statute of limitations issues, the client was about to lose the right to collect any of the money owed. 

Result: We helped client take action in time, and he received the money owed from the friend’s estate in probate court.

Problem: Mother owned a successful specialty business which her two children could not operate.  If the Mother became unable to work or if she died, the business would close down resulting in almost $2M loss to the family, a waste of her life's work.

Result: We helped Mother create a complete estate plan including a business succession plan, ensuring that the business passes to third parties of her choosing - who have the experience to keep the business operating.  The third parties will pay the full fair market value of the business to the children if the Mother dies or becomes unable to work, and the agreement is backed by an insurance policy to ensure 100% payment.

Problem:  Daughters of a deceased parent tried for over three years to collect the parent's account from an out-of-state company.  The daughters had an attorney.  But the company was unfamiliar with California law and would not release the account.  The daughters were about to give up.  
Result:  Within a few months of retaining our office, the daughters had a check for the full value of the account in their hands from the out-of-state company.  This result was obtained after a series of detailed communications between our office and the company, without filing a lawsuit.

Problem:  Parents with a business, business property, a home, and life insurance would have incurred over $100,000 in probate fees and over $1M in estate taxes upon death, which would mean that their children would be forced to liquidate important family assets within 9 months of their parents' death. 

Result: We helped Parents create a COMPLETE estate plan - so clients will be able to pass ALL their property to their heirs with no probate fees and no estate taxes.