"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.
This is the biggest mediation year in our law firm's history. The milestone is significant for our clients, their adversaries and all lawyers involved in the prosecution and defense of estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation.
Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia.
This is a busy year for estate and trust mediation - the alternative dispute process in which the parties to a lawsuit meet with a neutral third-party, often a retired judge, in an effort to settle the case. Our litigation practice includes California's largest urban areas and so, not coincidentally, does our presence at mediations. While mediations can be dramatically different there are some constants - including strong emotions.
I listen to hundreds of stories every year. There are dozens of cases for every element of vulnerability. The stories surrounding each element often provide a foundation for the failure of an estate plan that someone tried to make bulletproof.
California estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation involves fights - it's that simple. These cases are contested - the lawsuits are emotional and hard fought. Wrongdoers don't give up ill-gotten gains easily. I know this because the vast majority of our law practice involves the representation of aggrieved heirs, beneficiaries and victims of elder financial abuse. We're currently litigating in more than twenty California counties.
When it comes to estate planning, a settlor, the maker of a trust, or testator, the maker of a will, seek certainty over uncertainty. They take the time to make an estate plan to diminish risks. Once this is accomplished is the estate plan impervious to challenge? In more colloquial terms - is their will and trust bulletproof. And, if not bulletproof, what will it take to make it bulletproof?
A parent's dementia and attendant short-term memory loss can be heartbreaking. It is common for children to have feelings of loss and grief as they see their family life changed by Alzheimer's. Children may go through the grieving process while their parent is alive - a process that may be hard to describe to those who have not encountered it themselves.
We're nearing the end of the year and many thoughts come to mind of "all that has been." The press of year end business coupled with the magnificence of the Christmas season make December a very busy month. Whatever the press of business or the season's needs the most important part of our lives should not be forgotten. It is this sense of gratitude that we share.