Our posts about Trusts

Sentimental assets and your will or trust: when can someone challenge your wishes?

Many people believe that a simple statement in their will or trust such as, “tangible personal property should be divided as my heirs see fit” is enough to ensure their assets are properly or equitably dispersed after they pass. However, vague statements such as this can often lead to a host of potential conflicts.

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Tug of war, two businessman pulling a rope in opposite directions

Trustee document waiting for a notary public sign on desk.

What Happens if I Need to Resign as Trustee?

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, so your circumstances may look completely different today than they did when you originally agreed to serve as a trustee. And perhaps your life has changed so much that you think the time has come for you to resign as trustee.

But how do you resign?

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$23 Million win upheld for disabled siblings defrauded by contractor & attorney

– Con Man Took Advantage of Disabled Man, Sister to Defraud Them of WWII-Era Santa Monica Family Home – LOS ANGELES (March 15, 2017) – This month California’s Second Appellate District, Division Two, Court of Appeal upheld an award of $21 million in punitive damages and $2.2 million in compensatory damages against building contractor Noam Bouzaglou, his shell corporation, Ness Adam, Inc. and attorney Andrew J. Stern who perpetrated a fraud against Kathleen and Tim McGinty, in order to obtain their modest family home in Santa Monica. Kathleen suffers from autism. Her brother suffered throughout his life from bipolar disorder, depression and substance addiction, and was getting by on his small monthly disability payment. Joseph Girard, principal at LA Elder Law, represented Kathleen McGinty and Jeanne Haworth, the current trustee for the McGinty estate, in the original case decided in favor of the plaintiffs in 2014. “Nationwide we know many elderly are the victims of financial fraud, and we know people with disabilities are victimized by crime at rates higher than the rest of the population, often the target of crime because of their disabilities,” said Girard. “This appellate decision affirmed the 2014 judgment that sent a very strong message with the $23 million award to would-be fraudsters looking to prey upon the disadvantaged and the elderly.” In 2006, Delores McGinty, Kathleen’s mother, set up a special needs trust for Kathleen’s benefit. The main asset of the trust was the 1,477 square foot single family home in Santa Monica, built by their father, a returning WWII veteran, for a few thousand dollars from a Sears Roebuck and Co. pre-cut home kit. Owned free and clear, the home was the residence for Delores and her daughter. Son Tim became the trustee after the death of his mother Delores in 2009 and moved […]

Client Spotlight – The Blantons

Eloise and Dr. Carlton Blanton — both graduates of Los Angeles’ USC — learned and recognized the value if having a great School Principal at early ages.

Knowing that a great principal is an important key to having a worthwhile school and motivated students, they have taken action to help find and build such principals.

The newly created Dr. Carlton and Eloise Blanton Endowed Scholarship at USC Rossier will specifically support students who aspire to be school principals. Their endowment of $160,000 to USC Rossier will support the studies of students who, as the Blantons put it, “€œhave resiliency, bounce back from adversity, are good listeners, and are highly motivated.”€

The Law Offices of Joe Girard is proud to be the legal counsel and trust advisors for these fine philanthropists for ten years now. Having helped them to plan their estate and build their wealth we continue as consultants on most of their legal and estate planning matters.

We invite you to read the entire article at

Law Offices of Joseph C. Girard Wins $23 Million Verdict in Elder Abuse Case & Fraud Against Contractor & Attorney Who Enforced Sale of Family Home

Disabled son deeded property built by his parents in 1948 to unscrupulous contractor

The Los Angeles-based Law Offices of Joseph C. Girard and LA Elder Law, specializing in elder financial abuse legal matters, obtained a $23 million jury verdict on behalf of their clients Jeanne Haworth and Kathleen McGinty against a contractor who maliciously entered into an agreement to renovate a family home. He and his attorney manipulated the owner into deeding the property to raise funds for work that was never needed.

The jury found that the contractor, Noam Bouzaglou, acted with recklessness, oppression and malice toward the McGinty family, and awarded the trust $23 million in punitive damages for the contractor’s abusive conduct. The Court also returned the family home back to the trust. The jury also found that the attorney, Andrew Stern, acted in concert with the contractor, was professionally negligent and engaged in fraudulent conduct.

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Trusts to protect and pass on artwork, antiques, and other valuable assets

Some assets — such as real property, stocks and savings — are fairly straightforward when it comes to bequeathal to heirs. Other assets — such as valuable artwork or antiques — are not so easy.

How do you will an asset to a loved one when there is no deed of ownership? And just as importantly, how do these paperless assets figure into the size and administration of your “taxable estate”?

According to this article by Bonnie Kraham — Protecting Your Future: Knowing the value of artwork is a must — how you dispose of these assets can be extremely important to the administration and taxation of your Estate. One particularly dangerous method is referred to as “the empty hook” method, wherein “When the collector dies, the beneficiaries simply remove the artwork (from the hooks) in accordance with name tags on the items for the intended recipients. Thus, the Estate is left with “empty hooks” of what may be part of a sizable taxable estate for estate tax purposes.”

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