I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We represent clients in estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation cases throughout California.
This year I’ve noticed an encouraging trend – there’s been increased media spotlight on the conservatorship industry and its record of elder exploitation. You’ve probably seen the ongoing drama of Britney Spears and her efforts to break free from what she says is an oppressive conservatorship, along with the popular hashtag #FreeBritney.
There’s also the hit Netflix film I Care a Lot, which portrays a predatory conservator and her cold-blooded schemes to make millions off suffering and loneliness. And Sacramento’s ABC10 recently ran a week-long investigative series, titled The Price o[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We litigate estate, trust, and financial elder abuse litigation in California’s largest urban areas. These cases often stem from acts against a vulnerable elder.
Dementia is often the source of the elder’s vulnerability. People with dementia are not always aware of their mental decline. Protective relatives and friends make their own denials. It’s hard to see a loved one going downhill.
Unfortunately, this can be a tragic cover for a person suffering the ravages of dementia. While not all dementia presents the same specific set of symptoms, there are common patterns.
The patient may say things like: “I can’t think properly.” “I can’t remember things.” “My head goes blank at t[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We work at being one of California’s leading law firms in estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation.
This aspiration is fueled in part by a collective quest for justice, tolerance, and fair play. Fair play means the equal and honest treatment of others. Adherence to fair play helps to ensure fundamental freedoms, family dignities, and historic rights.
When fair play is discounted, unnoticed, or ignored, people suffer. The discovery of wrongdoing can have far-reaching consequences. The terms of public argument can change. We are now seeing this in California with regard to abusive conservatorships.
The #FreeBritney movement, coupled with the Netflix movie, “I Care a Lot,” have weak[...]
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We work at being one of California’s leading law firms handling estate, trust, and elder financial abuse cases.
We litigate cases from Sacramento to San Diego. Our heaviest case concentrations are in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area.
I’ve written extensively about what we do. My book, The Wolf at the Door, has been widely reviewed in newspapers, magazines, and the electronic media.
Ben Franklin said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” I think that The Wolf at the Door is worth reading. I also think that the actions we take for families in estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation are worth doing.
Litigation is war. There are battle[...]
I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. I’ve recently recommended the excellent Netflix movie, I Care A Lot. The movie is, in one sense, two films.
The first – a story of betrayal. It starts with a court appointed conservator’s knock on a wealthy woman’s door. The woman, an elder, opens the door to what turns out to be a licensed predator.
A scheme unfolds, stage by stage, calculated and timed, that takes the elder’s freedom and money from her. She is soon far removed from the protection of law and justice.
The second part of the story evolves into a dark comedy. The film explores the murky side of the for-profit guardianship/conservatorship industry. A significant number of American families have suffered from the industry’[...]
I’m Mike Hackard. I represented my first clients in estate litigation 45 years ago. Many things have changed over the years. Among them – the emergence, power and ubiquity of the for-profit “professional” guardianship/conservatorship industry.
My review of the new Netflix movie I Care A Lot is from a litigator’s perspective. I like one movie reviewer, Helen Shaw’s, take on I Care A Lot. While the movie is one work, she sees it as two films in one. She calls the guardianship opening sequences the “first film.”
Her description: “a horror film about the way we exploit and ignore the elderly, particularly frightening because it’s true … demonstrating how (Rosamund) Pike’s corporate-speak pseudo-compassion makes the[...]
Elder abuse is a persistent threat to our seniors, and one of the most insidious forms is elder financial exploitation. The results can be disastrous, and they reverberate well beyond the pocketbook. Elder financial abuse can shatter a senior’s mental health.
Forensic neuropsychologist Dr. Stacey Wood is an expert on elder financial abuse, and she has devoted decades to advocacy for seniors who are victims of wrongdoing. She’s seen the effects of financial exploitation in hundreds of cases and has provided expert testimony in dozens of trials in court. She’s also been an expert witness for victims represented by Hackard Law, so I can speak to her experience and professionalism first-hand.
I was honored when Stacey quoted me in a[...]
Hello, I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. We’re a law firm that civilly prosecutes trust beneficiary and catastrophic injury claims in California’s Superior Courts.
Juries are empowered by our system to impose accountability and consequences for those who have broken the rules and caused injury to another. Juries ultimately determine the damages – that which was taken from seniors inflicted by financial elder abuse through no fault of their own.
California vests juries with great authority to calculate damage remedies against financial elder abusers. Our statute says that an elder financially abused by a defendant may recover compensatory damages as part of their lawsuit. Compensatory damages include both economic (what was phys[...]
Hello, I’m Mike Hackard. I lead a group of Hackard Law lawyers who civilly prosecute trust beneficiary and catastrophic injury claims in California’s Superior Courts. A significant part of our litigation involves the recovery of damages from defendants who’ve inflicted financial elder abuse on seniors. California, like many states, provides for strong damage remedies against financial elder abusers.
Our statute says that an elder financially abused by a defendant may recover compensatory damages as part of their lawsuit. Compensatory damages include both economic (what was physically taken or out of pocket losses) and noneconomic damages (widely referenced as physical pain, mental suffering and emotional distress).
Problem solving is often a function of experience. Tough cases test our ability to find the right solution. Dubious trust amendments present unique trials.
We litigate many California trust and estate contests. For us, many of these lawsuits are routine.
Sometimes the case circumstances are rare – seeming one-offs. More often, I feel like a surgeon removing his 400th appendix. I’ve been down this road before. I know the difference between the usual and the unusual.
Trust amendment challenges have some common beginnings. A parent makes a trust that is revocable during their lifetime. The parent is called the settlor.
The trust becomes irrevocable at the settlor’s death. There is some type of intervention after the formation[...]