“To my family I leave nothing.” I wince at the words. I represent family members in estate battles. We focus on elder financial abuse, will contests and trust beneficiary abuse cases. And, I hear words like this all the time.
It’s one thing to hear them, another to feel them. My clients feel them. Hurt, devastation, and surprise are just some of the feelings. The quest for justice comes a little later.
Like in this case: I’ll call her Pam. Pam calls me. She shares her mother’s handwritten will. She also shares the story about the will. Sally, Pam’s elderly mother, penned the words in 2016.
Sally was not well. She was forgetful. Pam says her mom’s voice often drifted off in midsentence. And, Sally was isolated. Isolated from[...]
The battle against elder financial abuse in America starts with our own families, but it requires a much broader base. The combined efforts of our communities, public and private institutions, and law enforcement all play an essential role in a fight that will only intensify in the coming decades.
There are now 50 million Americans over the age of 65. Ten thousand baby boomers reach 65 each day. This age group is also a target class for predators and swindlers whose actions are often covered in silence. A 2016 study from the AARP’s Public Policy Institute revealed that one in five older Americans are victims of financial exploitation each year.
Some elders are particularly vulnerable to financial pillage. An estimated 5.8 million Am[...]
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 1.6 million people related that they had used meth in 2016. Experts report that only 1 in 10 people with addiction receives treatment.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore conveys that meth is destroying the West Coast. It is now big business for Mexican cartels and U.S. gangs. Brian Hurley, MD, an addiction physician and general psychiatrist at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, says that he often can’t tell whether someone is mentally ill, high on meth or both.
One of the major side effects of meth use is the induction of psychosis. Symptoms of meth psychosis include confusion, delusions, intense paranoia, and visual and auditory hallucinations. So, what [...]
Hubris.The word feels right in writing and talking about conservatorship drawbacks. Still, to be sure of its meaning I look it up in Webster’s Third International Dictionary. So, what does Webster’s say about hubris?
“(O)verweening pride or self-confidence: ARROGANCE…”
OK, that’s clear enough. What does it have to do with California conservatorships? It has to do with those who oppose conservatorship reform. To those who turn a blind eye to some of the glaring abuses in the system. And, the system is not unique to California; it is a national problem.
It’s worthwhile to see the work that some of our country’s leading guardianship and conservatorship critics and reformers are doing. So, let’s take a look at the advocacy [...]
Peter Max is a countercultural icon, a painter whose art defined an era of rebellion, freedom, youth, and nonconformity. Because his psychedelic style was so recognizable, he became a wealthy celebrity artist in the 1980s who earned the right to be compared to other pop cultural artists of our time including Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst. His work appeared on cereal boxes, airplanes, postage stamps, and cruise ships.
Even though Peter Max became an extremely successful and wealthy artist, in the late 1990’s he ran into financial troubles and pled guilty to tax evasion. Those troubles ultimately led Max to partner with a company called Park West Gallery which sells art at auctions held on cruise ships including Royal Caribbe[...]
Rick Black, Executive Director – CEAR, is one of America’s leading activists and commentators spotlighting the abusive practices in the conservatorship, guardianship and trust industries. Rick’s leadership at CEAR (Center for Estate Administration Reform) provides strong national advocacy for legal reformation of fiduciary abuse at the state and federal levels.
Rick’s efforts include strong support for the legislative reform set out in the proposed Guardianship Accountability Act in bills pending in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Among the bills’ initiatives are a requirement that the federal Elder Justice Coordinating Council create a National Online Resource Center on Guardianship for the publication o[...]
“Honor thy father and thy mother.” This commandment, deeply embedded in our Judeo-Christian heritage, is a fabric of our daily lives. A fabric that draws little reflection, that is until an event or circumstance occurs and unnerves us.
Millions of Americans are unnerved by the scourges of dementia and Alzheimer’s – both patients and their family members. Family members can be torn different ways – ways that are unsettled by uncertainty as to whether action or inaction is called for in the protection of a parent.
Children of Alzheimer’s patients are challenged in so many ways – these are just a few examples:
Dad is retired. Mom died five years ago. Dad owns his own home in Brentwood. He has a secure income in retirement and [...]
Imagine you have an elderly loved one – maybe a parent or grandparent. How would you feel if someone took them from their home against their will, isolated them from you and looted their estate? What would you do? Believe it or not, this is big business – and the adult probate guardianship industry operates under color of law.
Guardianship abuse poses a real threat to the well-being of seniors and their families. Lives are irreparably damaged and fortunes disappear, all because of the greed of skilled manipulators who use legal mechanisms to commit what amounts to elder financial abuse. The duty to protect is turned on its head when predators claim the right to plunder the innocent.
There are ways to fight back, both through litig[...]
We handle substantial trust, estate, probate and elder financial abuse litigation cases in California’s largest cities and counties. Frequent venues include Sacramento, Los Angeles and the major Bay Area Counties in between – including San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
While every case is different, there are often some common acts of fraud in trust, estate or probate litigation. I’ll talk about some of my own observations of these common acts of fraud in trust and probate disputes. Let’s start with the difference between actual and constructive fraud.
California law defines actual fraud as consisting “in any of the following acts, committed by a party to the contract, or with his connivance, with intent[...]
I’m Mike Hackard from Hackard Law. I speak, write about and litigate California financial elder abuse cases. Given California’s burgeoning elder population, it is little wonder that people want to hear more about this subject. Financial elder abuse is surely on the rise.
The legislature is gradually responding to provide greater remedies against those who commit financial elder abuse. The civil law concepts giving rise to financial recovery are fairly straightforward. We will look at a case of undue influence that results in financial elder abuse.
So, in an effort for all of us to better understand the nature of financial elder abuse cases, let’s assume a set of facts. The facts that we are assuming reflect common scenarios in this [...]