Persuasion "starts with a look in the mirror. If you do not know your own goals, biases, emotions and preferences, you cannot hope to see your audience clearly." These words from Richard Shell and Mario Moussa's book, The Art of the Woo, ring true for me. This principle is also well stated in Matthew Chapter 7, where we are admonished that it is hypocrisy to be concerned with the faults of another while we ignore our own more serious offenses.
As an attorney who has spent many decades working in the area of trusts and estates, I wish I could say that it's possible to create an iron-clad trust document that will do precisely what the maker intended. Sadly, even when the best attorneys draft such documents for intelligent, practical, and thoughtful clients, there will always be unintended and unforeseen circumstances. That is especially true when there are blended families that may include ex-spouses, step-children, half-children, and unmarried partners. In such cases, Murphy's Law is almost certain to prevail.
Conflicts between stepmothers and biological children over estate and trust assets have become a familiar feature of litigation in California superior courts. Only a certain proportion of these disputes make it to the legal arena, but they're part of a continuing trend that's worth noticing.
The year 2018 has been a busy one for Hackard Law - we've been heavily engaged in California estate and trust battles on behalf of our clients, we continue to fight elder exploitation, and every week we respond to the inquiries of dozens of callers from across the state and the country. They contact us because they've seen our videos, they need help, and maybe they just to be pointed in the right direction.
It's estimated that 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer's dementia in 2018. The Alzheimer's Association identifies a number of early signs and symptoms. They are worth reviewing. Now, for every one of these signs, there are typical age-related changes not attributable to Alzheimer's. It might be a matter of degree.
This weekend I was a presenter at San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu's Family Wealth Workshop. The title of my presentation was "Protecting Against Elder Financial Abuse." I was able to share stories with the community and they in turn shared stories with me. I find this the most gratifying part of these events.
Estate sales can be an emotionally wrenching, but sometimes necessary, step in moving forward after a loved one's passing. It's an unfortunate reality, however, that estate liquidation is also an opportunity for fraud and even elder financial abuse by wrongdoers.
The world lost a great talent last month when Aretha Franklin, known as "The Queen of Soul" passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. In a remarkable career that spanned nearly 6 decades, Franklin was acclaimed for her hit songs, "Chain of Fools," "A Natural Woman," and "Respect."
Alzheimer's disease affects Californians on an ever greater scale, and Baby Boomers are now at risk. According to the Alzheimer's Assocation, one in eight will develop Alzheimer's disease, while one in six will develop dementia. Stunningly, only half of Alzheimer's cases in America are diagnosed. That means half of all seniors suffering from Alzheimer's aren't getting the care and protection they deserve. Non-diagnosis multiplies the dangers a patient faces, from lack of proper medical treatment to vulnerability to elder financial abuse.