Meet Byran Hartnell, his California Law practice and some of the more unique situations he has encountered over the years. Early on, Bryan realized that general practice was neither practical nor rewarding and has since focused on estate accounting and probate law, with a side specialty in mental health law. What kind of stories do you hear from the bench? Bryan’s two most memorable comments came from the same judge and he relates how Judge Victor would have no problem calling someone out in the middle of a monologue during a session in court. When you encounter a problem, you will often discover the solution seemingly at random in the middle of the night. Bryan tells a story where a woman going through a divorce wrote a cheque to her granddaughter and then committed suicide. The bank initially refused to honor the cheque. Bryan was able to get the court to find the cheque as, at worst a constructive trust and was able to solve the problem. Sometimes you have to step back and not force the answer. It can be important to keep in mind whether there will be someone who loses on the other side of the case or not and adjust your strategy accordingly. Can you elaborate on property and trusts? If you have a property that you describe in your attachment to the trust showing a piece of property is a part of the estate, you may not have to record it according to precedent. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important to make sure your I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed when it comes to creating the trust correctly in the first place. As long as the trust is in writing, it won’t be best practice but it won’t be fatal either. Bryan feels probate is basically another form of general practice, it can cover a variety of scenarios and life events. Probate attorneys encounter all areas of law while specializing in a distinct form. What do you wish you knew as a young attorney that you know now? Bryan wished he would have balanced his caseload when he was younger. You have limited time and some cases can last forever. You have to prioritize your time effectively and share the load. Realize that you are not the only probate attorney in town and it’s okay to send some referrals out to someone else with more capacity. Don’t just take on a client because you know how to fix them. What is your biggest strength that surprises your clients? As long as you’re not so old that you’re getting soggy, you will build up a lot of experience that will surprise people. You will learn which tools to use and when, but you’ll also learn which tools not to pick up. Some tools should be a last resort. What are the kinds of things that energize you? For Bryan, the best news to find out on a Monday morning is that it’s a holiday and no one is going to be in to bug him. The worst is when he has had tough cases in the morning and hard clients in the afternoon. The days that energize Bryan are light days that are a bit easier to get through. Links To Resources Mentioned Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5-star rating and review in iTunes!

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