Before the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Balfed family was one of the great families in galactic society. They lost their influence and prestige and were disgraced when the rival House of Tagge framed them.
Lord Espan Balfed was the youngest descendant of the House of Balfed, but was considered a noble in title only. He had no money, political influence or significant fame and was the Captain of a small customs frigate.
Despite his reduced status the nobleman always informed a ship's crew of his lineage before inspecting a vessel. Whether the trader showed the proper respect greatly influenced the level and intensity of the inspection.