It's early afternoon midweek in Northern California. My visitors check in at the front desk and soon make their way to our conference room. They're greeted by Amy, Kelly, Suzanne or Mara.
They're welcome here.
It will take a few minutes for me to make my way into the room. Our visitors have a chance to look around. White boards make up two walls of the room. Faded figures on the boards make it clear that they're used for explanation. Large posters focused on undue influence elements and trustee responsibilities occupy the other walls.
I arrive. I greet my guests. This is something that I love. That I appreciate. People come to us for help in matters that they never imagined that they would need help.
My guests begin to tell me about themselves. I like to hear about them before I hear about problems. In my mind I think about our similarities. How we share the human condition. We love our families. All of us at times suffer the indignities of life. We win and we lose. We share humor.
At some point my guests begin their story. Their stories are similar in some ways but dramatically different in others. The stories in this conference room nearly always involve elderly people - their lives, loves and losses.
Estates, trusts and elder financial abuse are the legal words of art that enfold these stories.
The legal terms fall short of the stories' true meanings and impacts on families' lives. Our conversations go on.
Family relationships are explained. The effects of aging have their role in the stories. I cover some broad outlines of the law in terms that I hope are clear. Legalese is a disease visited upon us lawyers. We know we're not immune. We try to overcome its infirmities.
We sometimes see the plan of action clearly at the beginning of the meeting. Sometimes the only real plan is to gather more information. Whatever the plan, we work to make our visitors' time with us mutually fruitful.
Meetings like this occur several times each week between our lawyers, staff, clients and potential clients. We always hope that our visitors, whether clients or not, leave with more understanding of the issues than they arrived with.
At Hackard Law we take substantial estate, trust and elder financial abuse cases where we think that we can make a significant difference and there is a wrongdoer who can be made financially accountable for their wrongdoing.
We litigate in California's largest urban areas, including Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Sacramento Counties. If you would like to tell us your story call us at 916 313-3030.