For many of us, our expectations of fairness arise from an early childhood experience that struck us as “unfair.” We may have seen an action affecting us or others that dashed our expectations – expectations often grounded in childhood innocence. These events may stay with us and influence our desire for fairness in our lives and in the lives of others.
We often hear that “life is unfair.” Even Ecclesiastes notes that “the race is not always won by the swiftest, the battle is not always won by the strongest; prosperity does not always belong to those who are the wisest, wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning, nor does success always come to those with the most knowledge – for time and chance may overcome them all.”
While we readily acknowledge the truth of Ecclesiastes, other Scriptural passages provide some guideposts for fairness. In Isaiah those “who will dwell on high” are those “who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, (and) who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong…” Proverbs teaches, “The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights. Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.”
So how do we apply this to our everyday lives – and in this case to trust litigation? I’ll start with the ready acknowledgment that we’re all imperfect. It’s part of our makeup. We’re not perfect parents, spouses, children, brothers or sisters. Even with our imperfections, seen or unseen, we can still aspire to do our best. And so when it comes to trusts and trust challenges, what should our best be?
We are often engaged to fight unfair trust amendments made while the maker is vulnerable to the undue influence of a wrongdoer. Such wrongdoing is treacherous – the deathbed or near-deathbed changes of long established estate plans into major asset transfers to the undue influencer. Taking advantage of a vulnerable elder impaired by incapacity, age, diminished cognitive abilities, or isolation, epitomizes a dishonest scale.
At Hackard Law we fight for abused beneficiaries and victims of elder financial abuse. Ancient concepts of fairness coupled with very recent laws protecting seniors from elder financial abuse weigh heavily in these cases. We represent out-of-state clients as well as many California residents in major estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation in most of our state’s major urban areas, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. If you’re a beneficiary who’s been treated unfairly and needs a fighting chance, call us at Hackard Law: 916-313-3030. We’ll be glad to hear your story and see how we can best help you.