In the Media

  • Southern California Super Lawyers Profiles Terry Franklin in "Last Will, New Testament"

    Partner Terry Franklin was featured in Southern California Super Lawyers magazine discussing his search for the story behind the relationship between his fourth great-grandfather and his "mulatto" slave Lucy, and the will that set his ancestors free. Mr. Franklin describes his journey to obtain a digital copy of the handwritten will, including an inventory, an appraisal, court documents and proof that it was in fact, a contested will. During this process, Mr. Franklin began writing the novel The Last Will of Lucy Sutton and is also collaborating on a script for a proposed three-part miniseries about Lucy.

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  • Partner Meg Lodise Acknowledged as Influential Attorney in Law360 Article

  • In the Law360 Q&A "Trial Pros: Haynes & Boone's M.C. Sungaila," Sungaila acknowledged Meg Lodise as a trial attorney whose knowledge and skill impressed her in court. "I have had the good fortune to work with many trial lawyers at the top of their game. Meg Lodise, with whom I worked on a California Supreme Court will interpretation case, is very good at presenting and preserving legal arguments at trial," said Sungaila.

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    • With more than 20 years' experience representing beneficiaries and trustees, Ms. Lodise handles a range of matters pertaining to estate, trust and conservatorship litigation.

  • Partner Robert Sacks Interviewed in Daily Journal article on Baby Boomers Causing an Increase in Trust and Estate Planning and Litigation

    As the parents of baby boomers pass away, their children are often left fighting over their estates, with many attorneys seeing an increase in litigation. In a recent Daily Journal article titled, "More Older People Increases Trust, Estate Cases," Partner Robert Sacks confirmed that the changing demographics and "the enormous generation of wealth" in California has spawned an increase in cases. The aging population is generating a vast transfer in wealth that is causing rifts in families, often leading to the courtroom.

  • California Supreme Court Rules that Wills May be Amended After Death

    On Monday, July 27, the California Supreme Court ruled that a will may be reformed after one's death if there is clear and convincing extrinsic evidence that the will does not accurately reflect the testator's wishes and what the wishes were at the time the will was drafted. Historically, such evidence was considered inadmissible to change an unambiguous will.

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    • The testator, Irving Duke, wrote in his 1984 will that his estate, valued at more than $5 million, go to his wife if he predeceased her. It set forth that if he and his wife were to "die at the same moment", the entire estate would be split between two charities. The will did not provide for what would happen in the event that he survived his wife, which is what happened.

      Applying 50 years of precedent, the trial and appellate court found that the will unambiguously created an intestacy and the estate was to be distributed to Irving Duke's heirs at law. The charities, however, disputed this conclusion and appealed to the Supreme Court. Ultimately, the California Supreme Court overturned established precedent as to whether evidence of mistake can be admitted to challenge a will clear on its face.

      Margaret Lodise of Sacks, Glazier, Franklin & Lodise and Mary-Christine Sungaila of Haynes and Boone represented several of the heirs in the matter. The case will now go back to the trial court where Ms. Lodise will represent the family members in applying the newly created law to the facts of this case.

      Ms. Lodise stated that, "Although we are disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to reverse a long-standing precedent, we believe the facts of this case are unlikely to support actual reformation of this will at the trial court level."

      The case is Estate of Duke, 2015 S.O.S. 3800.

  • Law360 Features Terrence Franklin in Minority Powerbrokers Q & A

    Partner Terrence Franklin is featured in Law360's Minority Powerbrokers Q&A focusing on diverse senior level attorneys and the tremendous impact they are having on the legal industry. With a quarter century of experience, Mr. Franklin notes that he is one of the very few African Americans practicing in the trusts and estates litigation field and advises how minorities can move up the ranks in their firms.

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    • As a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), and the only African-American fellow, Mr. Franklin is working to develop programs to widen the pipeline for prospective fellows, acting as an ambassador for the trusts and estates practice area, especially to diverse attorneys, and assisting in improving opportunities for diversity and inclusion.

      To create more diversity among partner ranks in law firms, he advises to "be broad-minded in considering how the varied experiences of minority candidates can help to contribute to the firm's success," as well as introduce associates to clients so they can build relationships that can generate business opportunities.

  • Daily Journal Profiles Sacks, Glazier, Franklin & Lodise's Flourishing Litigation Practice in Southern California

    In the Daily Journal article, "Emotional Rollercoaster", Sacks, Glazier, Franklin & Lodise attorneys discuss the thriving business for trusts, estates and conservatorship disputes in Southern California, which are at the heart of the firm's litigation practice. The firm represents both sides of the equation in trusts, estates and conservatorship disputes, counting major universities, charities and banks among its clients.

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    • "We're a litigation firm that specializes in trust and estates as opposed to trust and estate lawyers who do litigation," Partner Kenneth M. Glazier said. "That may seem like a distinction without a difference but we're litigators first and foremost."

      While involved with a number of high-profile affairs, the firm's attorneys remain a grounded team. One highly publicized matter involves the late Michael Jackson, where Partner Margaret Lodise was appointed by the court to represent the financial interest of Jackson's three children in his estate.

      While the firm advises clients about the financial and emotional costs of taking a case to court, "the firm will ultimately go to trial for clients if that's what they choose," said Partner Terrence Franklin. Furthermore, as society evolves, the firm stays apprised on "hot topics" in their practice including digital assets such as Facebook accounts, Yahoo accounts and bank accounts.

      Read profile

  • Lisa Wick Publish Interview with the Honorable Reva Goetz for the American Bar Association

    Sacks, Glazier, Franklin & Lodise Attorneys G. Lisa Wick recently interviewed the Honorable Reva Goetz of the Los Angeles Superior Court Central Division's Probate Department as part of a series of candid interviews with probate judges across the country for the American Bar Association's Trust and Estate Litigation Section. In the interview, Judge Goetz provided invaluable insight into her challenging, yet positive experience serving on the probate bench. "It is challenging intellectually and I like that," says Judge Goetz. "I like how it is collaborative and cooperative, and enjoy working with the probate bar."

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    • Additionally, Judge Goetz expanded on the intellectual challenges for probate practitioners as well as civil litigators who find themselves in probate, offered insider advice for all lawyers and discussed trending issues in the probate courts.

      Read full interview.

  • Los Angeles Times "Wrangling Over Michael Jackson Estate Could Revive Sales of Online Wills" July 14, 2009

    Michael Jackson's death will create more awareness of the importance of possessing a current will and trust, according to a recent Los Angeles Times article, "Wrangling Over Michael Jackson Estate Could Revive Sales of Online Wills." Partner Robert Sacks discussed the pros and cons to producing your own will using form documents found online versus drafting a will with an attorney's assistance. He explained that in straightforward situations, an online or handwritten will may be acceptable but generally, people with significant assets or who believe there may be possible challenges to their estate plan, should use a competent estate planning lawyer. An attorney overseeing your will is a helpful witness if there is a challenge and may reduce the probability of such a challenge.

  • BIG NEWS for Smaller Firms – State Bar of California "Bringing the Past to Trial" August/September 2008

    Sacks Glazier Franklin & Lodise was featured in BIG NEWS for Smaller Firms, the official publication of the Solo and Small Firm Section of the State Bar of California. Please click here to read the article.

  • "News Chase" July 16, 2008

    Partner Margaret Lodise was recently interviewed by the Korean investigative reporting show "News Chase" for a story about a Korean woman who is under conservatorship in California with properties in Korea. Ms. Lodise provided background information on the U.S. conservatorship system and described its advantages.

  • Newsweek "Controlling Britney" February 11, 2008

    In the context of Britney Spears parents taking control of her financial matters, Ms. Lodise discussed the legal wrangling involved and obstacles faced when a person seeks to take over another adults affairs. Ms. Lodise answered a series of questions examining the two types of conservatorships; steps to establish or defend against a conservatorship; and the legal rights a conservator has over a conservatee.