Trust Meltdowns | The “Drinkin’ Problem”
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We work at being one of California’s leading estate and trust litigation law firms. I work at sharing knowledge that I’ve gained over the years in representing beneficiaries, heirs and personal representatives in estate and trust disputes.
Psychologists tell us that when we see unstructured messes that we instinctively look to find patterns and order. The patterns and order that we find may be meaningful. Maybe then again, not.
Nonetheless, most will agree that estate and trust disputes look like shapeless muddles. Being hardwired to look for patterns, I do. Long experience brings lots of opportunities to look and find patterns in seemingly unrelated events.
A common pattern in estate disputes is the “Drinkin’ Problem.” Studies show that 44% of male parent abusers were dependent on alcohol or drugs. Experts tell us that honesty is the first thing to go in the course of alcohol use disorder.
It’s said that alcohol use disorders damage the brain. This worsens the denial. This limits insight. Lies become part of denial behavior. Blame comes easy. “He makes me so upset that I had to have a drink.” Hiding. Mouthwash is used to overcome an alcohol smell. Dismissals.
“Some people say I drink too much.” “Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it under control.” Justification. “I only have a drink or two.” “I don’t drink in the morning.”
We’ve litigated many estate and elder abuse cases where an adult child or caregiver with substance abuse issues exploited an elder. They used an elder’s resources for their own personal gain. They might have had a “drinkin’ problem.”
They likely won’t admit it. The elder may have even covered for them. “They’re not feeling well.” “I don’t want to get him into trouble.” “It’s my fault, I failed him.”
The elder and others may have enabled this. I’m not judging this. Alcoholism is a disease. It is a tragic, damaging, and at times a catastrophic disease. Its first victim is the addicted person. It spreads from there.
We’re usually retained after the catastrophe. The elder’s bank accounts are taken while they’re alive. Their house is transferred to the substance abuser. Or the transfers don’t occur until after the elder’s death.
We’re hired by heirs and beneficiaries to overturn estate plans based on elder abuse, fraud or undue influence. We’ve seen the patterns. We’ve litigated them.
We’re not looking to punish people. We’re looking to help those who have been abused or their survivors.
If this pattern sounds familiar to you and you want us to hear your story, call us at Hackard Law – 916 313-3030.
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