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Please forgive the blasphemous implications of my jokes, but everything negative regarding the evils of lawyers seems appropriate here. Why did God create snakes before lawyers? He needed the practice. Why do lawyers exist? So death doesn't come as such a disappointment. My personal favorite: The difference between lawyers and whores is that whores stop fucking you after you are dead.

One might get the impression that I dislike lawyers based on these jokes. One might be right, but I have my reasons. My dislike doesn’t include all lawyers. Some of my closest friends of over forty years are lawyers. One of these friends got out of the private sector as a prosecuting attorney and moved to corporate law because he claims, “all lawyers are slimy assholes who lie and misrepresent the truth.”

My problems with lawyers resulted from In-laws and relatives using unethical estate lawyers to steal from family members. That is the basis behind the formation of the W Smith foundation. We want to create a foundation with the goal of protecting families from unethical estate lawyers who seek to rob the estate beneficiaries from their inheritance by running up their unreasonable billable hours (fees) under the guise of estate work the beneficiaries themselves can perform.

My initial problems with estate lawyers began with my Sister-in-law, Mary, in Hartford City, Indiana. I was attending my Mother-in law’s funeral while suffering from a bout of diarrhea in the very church where I’d been married. I didn’t know where the restroom was located, or how long I’d have to be excused. I decided it was better for all that I return to my In-laws’ home to take care of business, possibly sneak in a beer. I arrived at the old farm house to discover my Sister-in-law’s, Mary’s, Jeep still in the drive. This surprised me, but not as much as the fact that Mary had refused to attend her mother’s funeral, saying she couldn’t “handle it.” I went into the house to relieve myself. Mary wasn’t in sight.

My Mother-in-law, Wilberta Smith, had lived through the Depression of the 1930s. She didn’t trust banks, and kept large sums of cash under her mattress. As Wilberta got older, and slipped into dementia, she often got out her cash and counted it. At last check, my Brother-in-law Van, knew his mother had in excess of $6, 0000.00 under her mattress. When I finished, and exited the bathroom. I walked into Mary leaving her mother’s bedroom, scarring us both. Mary left in a hurry. I returned to the church, skipping the beer.

Van returned after the funeral to discover his mother’s cash was gone. I told my story, suspecting Mary. Van wasn’t surprised. Mary and her family had been supported by her parents all their lives, even allowing them to live rent free in a neighboring house owned by the Smiths.

Van was surprised to learn that following the death of his father, Mary had hired an estate lawyer who was a friend of her husband. Mary and her lawyer had talked Wilberta into signing her estate property over to Mary with Mary as the trustee. Van and his reaming eight siblings were primarily excluded, even though Van was the one who cared for his mother during her final years. Mary and her unethical lawyer had total control of the Smith estate. Van attempted to fight this through the Blackford County Court system, but has yet to receive his inheritance.

I have gone through a very similar experience following the death of my mother. Her estate remains in court with her trustee running up unreasonable fees while we contest his errors and my sibling’s thefts.

So it is that Van and I are considering a foundation that can assist the children of ailing, possibly demented, parents find ethical attorneys to write their parents’ trusts as their parents wish, and in which a trusted lawyer or the beneficiaries themselves are the trustee. I’m willing to use what inheritance I eventually receive, with the addition of book royalties, to finance this foundation. The foundation may also assist with the fees associated with civil cases against thieving siblings.