The Parallels of Estate & Trust Litigation and Divorce and Custody Litigation
For the first 20 years of my law practice, a significant part of it involved contested divorce and custody work. Frequently, at the core of the disputes was information provided by a child to the parents. Generally, issues arose for three reasons: (1) the child was not old enough to appreciate the importance of providing accurate information and was biased because of immaturity; (2) the parents treated the information provided by the child as accurate and unbiased; and (3) the information provided by the child to the mother differed from that provided to the father. This situation is so common that it is now regular practice for a best interest attorney to be appointed by the Court to represent the child.
Now with 47 years experience handling estate and trust issues, I know that there is a clear parallel situation that arises with elderly parents – sometimes while they are alive and at other times after they have died.
In the estate and trust context, what is frequently at the core of the disputes is information provided by the parent to the children. Generally, these issues arise for three reasons: (1) the parent suffers from diminished capacity which affects his or her ability to appreciate the importance of providing accurate information; (2) the children treat the information provided by the parent as accurate and unbiased; and (3) the information provided by the parent to one child differs from that provided to the other child or children.
Often, the resolution to these disputes occurs as a result of at least one of the people involved recognizing just one of these 3 components and altering behavior accordingly.
We can assist you in breaking the cycle. Give us a call at 410-449-1647.