Humming in my head the other day was an old song –
What’s your name?
Who’s your daddy?
Is he rich like me?
Has he taken any time to show you what you need to live?
Tell it to me slowly.
Tell me what I really want to know.
It’s the time of the season for loving.
Not sure about “the season for loving” or “like me” – but otherwise the lyrics to the Zombies hit from 1969 (which, as far as I know, was their only hit) sounds a lot like a Readers Digest version of an initial consult in many of my probate litigation matters (although I would not typically be so direct).
Who’s your daddy and is he rich? Most probate litigation involves substantial estates, and almost all probate litigation involves screwed up families. I have posted before about the unique qualities of driven personalities, typically men, who create wealth (see for instance, Family Dysfunction Part V: The Wake of the High Achiever, March 3, 2013). The point is that people who create wealth are often difficult people.
“Has he taken any time to show you what you need to live?” AKA, did your overly controlling type-A personality judgmental father give you validation, or did he leave you always feeling like you could never measure up. In many of these cases, the answer is of course is that the high achiever parent left the offspring feeling inadequate.
Tell it to me slowly, because this is what really matters. The size of the estate, the specific documents involved, same old same old. What I really need to know is: Who are the players, What are their relationships really built on. Help me understand the particulars of your family’s dysfunction, so that I can start building the story line that will serve as the outline for how this case is presented.
OK – maybe a stretch to say everything you need to know about probate litigation is in a pop song from the sixties. But enough there, I hope, for a summer weekend blog post. Click here if you want to read an article I recently wrote about litigation in the “real world.”