Ubiquitous, boorish and monstrous behavior, for years unchecked, is suddenly in the spotlight. Powerful and ordinary men alike are being called to account for the sexual harassment of women. Women long lacking effective routes to counter widespread abuse are now being heard. Decadence long ignored is now getting attention.
Hello, I'm Mike Hackard. I'm the chair of Hackard Law, a law firm focusing on estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation in California's major urban areas. I'm the author of The Wolf at The Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse. The book is now available for order on Amazon. This is episode 25, where I outline some sobering statistics on the financial exploitation of seniors.
Michael Hackard was recently a guest in a KGO-810 interview with radio host and journalist Mike Finney, a tireless consumer advocate who has consistently stood for ordinary citizens against scams and financial predation. They discussed The Wolf at the Door: Undue Influence and Elder Financial Abuse, Michael's new book on countering exploitation of vulnerable elders.
In a new article on the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Financial Advisor magazine interviewed Michael Hackard for his analysis of its safeguards against elder financial abuse. Financial Advisor is the premiere publication in America for wealth advisors, financial planners, independent broker-dealers, and investment professionals, and it reaches a monthly audience of 110,000 qualified readers.
When most of us hear the term "breaking bad," we think of the crime drama Breaking Bad. The drama ended in 2013 after a five-year run. Breaking bad is not confined to an award-winning TV series. The idiom of "break bad" means "to go bad." You don't have to read too many newspapers to see that many of America's banks and bankers are "breaking bad" in cases of elder financial abuse.
The roots of 21st Century inheritance laws run deep into the cradle of Western Civilization. The ancient Greek Athenian leader Solon made great efforts to devise a law code that ultimately became one of the foundations of democracy. This code helped establish rules for a civilized society. Part of the code addressed inheritance rights. Prior to the code an Athenian could not make a will. At death the wealth and assets of the decedent simply belonged to his family.
We want the professionals serving us to aspire to and act consistent with the highest ethics and standards of their profession. Doctors should "first do no harm," lawyers need to be honest with their clients, themselves, courts and juries, and trustees who manage trust assets must be honest and loyal in their administration.
Prospective clients often ask whether I've ever seen an estate or trust dispute like theirs. Case facts and wrongdoers' actions seem so outrageous that aggrieved family members may think that their case is a "one in a million." Of course, given the geographic and litigation scope of our practice, most cases don't feel like "one in a million."
Now this happens all the time. Uncle Buster tells you that you're going to inherit his house. Now you love Uncle Buster, and you want him to live to a ripe old age. But you know in your heart that when Uncle Buster dies you are going to inherit his house. Uncle Buster let a few other relatives and neighbors know that he was eventually going to give you the house.