Estate of Denial: Call us jaded, but suggestions of how to avoid “unforeseen” estate issues never seem to take into account the real ugliness at work in today’s world whereby individuals – both inside and outside the legal profession – often contrive probate disputes. All the “proper estate planning” in the world can’t stop an estate from being targeted by any combination of determined disgruntled family members, wannabe heirs and unscrupulous legal professionals.
Here at Estate of Denial®, we term such acts an Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) defined simply as the use of probate venues and/or probate instruments (wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney) to divert assets from intended heirs or beneficiaries. IRA cases certainly involve a looting of assets – often of the dead, disabled, incapacitated and/or their heirs or beneficiaries, but with guardianships, it can also involve a hijacking of basic civil liberties.
And a fight within any of these scenarios often becomes an eye-opening experience that exposes the self-interested, protectionist nature of the legal industry which comprises lawyers, judges, court-related personnel and other officials (elected officials, law enforcement, etc.) or professionals utilizing our legal system to pursue goals counterproductive to the general public’s interests in their individual or collective capacities or both. Rarely does one walk away from these experiences with increased respect for the law or confidence in the “rights” alleged to protect Americans from an assortment of harms.