Today, I was reading court documents that were filed in 1893 in Virginia by a widow. She was the sole support of her 10 minor children. Annie was asking the court for permission to sell property left to her children in order to provide for their support. The property was not generating enough income to pay the mortgage and provide support for the children. I was struck by the complexity this poor woman had to deal with in order to provide adequate support for her children.
The court documents that I read reveal that she was before the court from 1893 to 1896. Having recently been involved with the judicial system as a guardian of my brother and trustee of his trust, I was shocked that to learn that this poor woman at the end of the 19th century was dealing with similar issues that I faced.
We like to think that we have progressed and are an enlightened people, but one only need to look back in history to see that we do not learn from history.
Based on the number of depositions and petitions submitted to the court between 1893 and 1896, I am sure that the income that she had hoped to gain for her children by selling unprofitable property and reinvesting it elsewhere was substantially reduced by court and lawyers' fees.
I am faced with a similar problem. I had hoped that I could make the money in my brother's trust last for at least 20 years while providing him with the things that Social Security disability benefits and Medi-Cal did not cover. Unfortunately that does not seem possible when I have to pay an attorney at least $2000 a year to file accounting report to the court. At this rate, between paying certain expenses related to my brother and the attorney's fees for filing the accounting reports to the court, the money will not last for my brother's benefit to 20 years.
So I ask, "What has changed?"