Meet Barry Adams. Barry’s practice mainly focuses on probate and trust law and over the course of the podcast, Rick and Barry talk about some of Barry’s more tricky cases and his thoughts on that area of law in general. They also discuss the impact of the fires in California and how it is affecting the people in the region.
What kind of cases do you typically encounter?
Barry has been doing almost exclusively probate and trust work since 1993 so he’s had quite a bit of experience in that area. Since he’s in the middle of two major regions he gets a wide variety of cases but he often gets a lot of litigation cases but prefers to avoid the litigation if he can.
Practicing in Northern California has a very different feel than the cases in Orange County. Most of Barry’s clients find him through existing clients and other attorneys, but he’s getting a lot more from the internet than he expected would be the case.
The California court system is the biggest in the world, it’s actually bigger than the Federal system. Each county also tends to do things a little differently which can create some difficulties for the practitioners.
Are the fires in Sonoma County causing a lot of issues?
Definitely, Barry has had a number of clients that have lost all their documents along with their house to the fire. Because of the number of homes that have been lost and the number of people that want to rebuild, there is a massive labor shortage in the area and the cost per square foot is going up.
The scale of the destruction is creating really complicated issues but at the end of the day, these people are just trying to put their lives back together.
How do you approach new cases that come through your doors?
Barry’s approach has changed over the years. He usually looks for beneficiaries that are being taken advantage of, he’s been in that kind of situation before a number of times and wants to prevent it if he can.
Elder abuse and elder fraud are also pretty common in Barry’s practice. Oftentimes, the abuser ends up being a failure to launch sort of situation but when it happens, Barry is happy to fight the good fight. Barry relates a story where the daughter of a widow took over the finances after the spouse died and ended up squandering the money while bouncing mom from old age home to old age home.
The abuser is those situations often have a sense of entitlement that causes a number of problems that you wouldn’t see with a stranger. The parents have to recognize the fact that there is going to be an issue in order to not leave a mess for the more responsible child.
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