Don’t look for confessions or apologies

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. - James A. Garfield

Having studied people as a lawyer for almost 20 years, I can tell you that almost every person who steals an inheritance, exploits an elderly person, or commits some other type of fraud or breach against a family member feels entirely justified for having committed the act.

For example, the caregiver who exploits their elderly client and steals an inheritance away from the client’s family does not think that they are stealing!  They convince themselves that they are more entitled to the inheritance than the family.

A brother who is upset over how much “gifts” were given to his sister during their parent’s lifetime, feels entirely justified for having his elderly mother’s will changed to disinherit his sister.

The reality is that for most people, it is hard to:

  • Steal something;
  • Be dishonest; and/or
  • Be deceptive.

Therefore, inheritance abusers will come up with rationalizations, justifications, and reasons for their actions.  To the point, where they truly believe that they are “in the right”, and you are  “in the wrong”.

The problem comes, however, is that when they are caught red-handed- they put up a terrible fight.

Because the last thing that these abusers can admit is- the truth.

They cannot face the fact that they “stole” an inheritance, or “exploited” the elderly, or “abused” their position of trust.   That would be too painful to admit.  So, they fight back… and they fight back hard.

That’s a shame.  Because often, especially, in family-on-family “crimes”… the family might not be initially looking to take the abusing family member to court.  What they might really be looking for is a confession and an apology.  Getting a confession and an apology might be the difference-maker between a peaceful resolution, and hundreds and thousands of dollars spent in agony fighting in court.

But, unfortunately, that rarely happens.  Why?  Because the truth, while it will set you free… hurts.  

No one wants to look in the mirror at their own weakness.  No one wants to see themselves as having given into temptation or greed.  It is too painful.

That’s too bad.

Remember all of this.  Think about the psychology of the person who has just caught stealing part of an inheritance.   Don’t be looking for confessions and apologies from them. They are hard to obtain.

A person might rather spend thousands of dollars fighting in court just so that they don’t have to admit their failings.

Inheritance is poison… plain and simple.