Estate litigation can be brutal: think Family Feud meets Gladiator. Families with dysfunctional histories may easily fall into estate fights that simmer for too long. Those with more benign backgrounds will usually - but not always - avoid the trauma of estate disputes. Estate battles, whether long-simmering or newly-formed, tend to repeat common themes - among them are:
- A Few Bad Apples: Family members with a history of troublemaking can be reliably disruptive in an estate dispute. A tendency toward family infighting can be energized by a wealthy relative's death.
- Amnesia: Alzheimer's and dementia bring a family unexpected challenges. The ill person is particularly susceptible to isolation through a wrongdoer's undue influence. Estate lawsuits spawned by undue influence on a parent can be particularly bitter. Long-held estate plans overturned by the greedy manipulation of a wrongdoer aggravate grief and loss with the shock of financial elder abuse.
- Gold-Diggers: It is more than unsettling when children learn that an unknown woman with dubious motives has befriended their widowed father. This phenomenon is, of course, not peculiar to widowers. Male gold-diggers of recently widowed women are equal-opportunity offenders.
- Groundhog Day: There are serial repeaters to estate misdeeds. Families can easily identify the cousin who shows up like clockwork on a sick relative's doorstep. Visits to the cousin's friendly attorney for a whole new estate plan are not uncommon. Family heirlooms may commonly disappear, only later discovered to have been taken by the Johnny-come-lately family member.
The above cases are unfortunately all too common. And finding a solution to counter wrongdoing isn't always quick and easy. Still, there are well-established legal processes for protection and recovery, should aggrieved family members choose to enforce their rights. If you need an experienced attorney to protect your estate and trust beneficiary rights, call us at Hackard Law: 916-313-3030. We'll be happy to speak with you.