Trustees & Beneficiaries | Reflecting on Cain and Abel
I’m Mike Hackard with Hackard Law. We regularly litigate family estate and trust disputes.
At its best, a dispute settlement may help the parties find a path to family healing. At its worst, hearts are hardened, and petty jealousy and arrogance spread.
I need only to look at the trust cases that we’ve litigated and are litigating to see how impasse, standoff, deadlock and sibling greed can enflame inheritance disputes. We can look to one of our oldest stories to explore family tragedies – Cain and Abel.
Cain, a farmer, is jealous of his brother Abel, a shepherd. Cain murders Abel, a murder often assumed stem from Cain’s jealousy over God’s favoritism of Abel.
Cain is questioned by God after Abel’s death. The Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Are we responsible for the well-being of the people around us? It’s good to keep in mind that Scripture tells us “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Another way of saying – don’t get too self-righteous here.
That said, I want to stand up for some 21st Century Abels and give their brothers some advice. When you serve as a trustee, you are not to enrich yourself at the expense of another. You shouldn’t try to gain a personal advantage in distributions from the trust. You must keep trust beneficiaries reasonably informed of trust matters.
It’s bad faith when your actions are intended to perpetuate family disputes. It’s bad faith when you have complete control of trust and trust assets, and you hinder the process of dispute resolution and settlement. And for those of you who openly drag out litigation against a dying beneficiary, shame on you.
For all of us this Easter, in the words of Lincoln, may we all be touched by the better angels of our nature.
We protect heirs and beneficiaries and their interests in trusts and estates. If you’d like to speak with us about your case, call us at Hackard Law – 916 313-3030.
Hackard Law: Attorneys Making a Difference
Image Credit: The Philip Medhurst Collection
Attorney Michael Hackard
Michael Hackard is a top rated “AV” for over 20 years (“AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment- a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.”). Avvo also ranks him with their highest rating – “ 10.0 Rating – ‘Superb.’” Michael is also a “SuperLawyer” – an honor reserved for no more than five percent of attorneys in each state. [ Attorney Bio ]
- Abused Beneficiaries
- Catastrophic Injury
- Celebrity Estate Battles
- Coronavirus Liability
- Dependent Adult Financial Abuse
- Elder Financial Abuse
- Estate Litigation
- Estate Planning
- Firm News
- Legal Advocacy
- Life Insurance Beneficiary Litigation
- Trust Litigation
- Trusts Accounting
- Will Contests
- Wrongful Death