When a dispute arose about internet domain names in Africa, with a South African nonprofit and 55 nations locked into a decade-long legal battle with a Walnut Creek, California, entrepreneur, where did it end up in court? In Los Angeles, of course.

For countless businesses across the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting shutdowns, restrictions, and mandates aimed at slowing the spread of the disease, created more economic damage than any hurricane, earthquake, or other disasters they had experienced.

Judges typically use a restrained, neutral style when writing their opinions. So Duane Farrant may have realized things were not going well with his appeal when he read the very first words of the appellate court’s decision: “This case serves as a textbook example of how a fiduciary should not proceed.”

When a married couple in California purchases a home or other asset, a provision of the Family Code says it is presumed to be community property. But what if the home is purchased with only one spouse’s funds and title is not jointly held? A different law may come into play – and sometimes the two statutes are in direct conflict.

It’s common for estate planning strategies to include making gifts to children or other heirs of partial interests in real property or other assets. This can be an effective way to help beneficiaries and reduce estate taxes. But it can also have a serious downside if a gift or bequest inadvertently triggers “change in ownership” or "change of control" rules.

The truth of the old saying that “there is nothing certain in life but death and taxes” was underscored by the frightening reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted many Americans to stop procrastinating and have their wills and trusts drafted.