Some 2600 years ago the Hebrew prophet Zechariah wrote, "These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace." (Zechariah 8:16). Some 500 years later, the Apostle Paul picks up the same theme "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one another." [Ephesians 4:25]. So how does this apply in California estate and trust litigation?
Well let's start with acknowledging that the "truth counts" in our families, relationships, and in court. The oath of a witness in a California deposition or trial is: "You do solemnly state that the testimony you may give in the cause now pending before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God." [California Code, Code of Civil Procedure Section 2094]. I emphasize the importance of truth in any trust, estate or probate dispute. This starts with our first client interview. I often share and a personal observation that our lives exhibit our own strengths and weaknesses. Legal cases also have strengths and weaknesses. That's ok. That's life. That's real. So I want to hear the real story - "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." We'll sort out the law and the appropriate case strategy later - first, let's hear the truth.
One great advantage of telling the real story is that "you don't have to memorize the truth." You don't have to make up something that you will soon forget. Authenticity counts. We like to get out the bad facts in our case early - it will show that we're not trying to hide or pull one over on the trier of fact - a judge or a jury. People respect truth and the acknowledgment of our own vulnerabilities. Few cases are the battleground between completely perfect people and their opposite. On the other hand, there are lots of cases where the litigation battle is between those who "speak the truth to one another" and those who spread falsehood.
In any event we represent real people in real trust, estate, and elder financial abuse disputes in Los Angeles, Sacramento, the Bay Area, and many contiguous counties. If you're facing a fight over an estate or you're looking to file a trust lawsuit and you want to share what you've experienced with us, call Hackard Law at (916) 313-3030. We'd like to hear your side of the story.