Financial Elder Abuse
An elderly woman who lived alone on an estate had her financial affairs taken over by her former tax preparer. The woman’s estate was valued at over $7.5 million. The tax preparer and his wife moved into the victim’s home and used her credit cards to pay for personal items for their family. They paid themselves handsomely for “managing” her assets. After being retained, we were able to end the financial abuse. The perpetrators were removed as trustee and forced to vacate the home. The new estate plan created by undue influence was overturned. A professional conservator was appointed to manage her affairs. A judgment was obtained against the perpetrator for a sum in excess of $350,000.
Conversion/Breach of Fiduciary Duty
A child received a large personal injury settlement after receiving a bad dog bite. Her mother took the child’s money over a period of many years and used it for business and other personal purposes. The mother tried to vilify her child in the lawsuit which arose when the child reached the age of majority and discovered that her settlement moneys had been misappropriated. A judgment was obtained against the mother for an amount in excess of $750,000 based on findings of breach of fiduciary duty and conversion. The award included punitive damages and attorney’s fees. We successfully obtained a favorable result even after the mother attempted to discharge her debt through a long, convoluted bankruptcy proceeding.
Breach of Trust
A mother provided for her two daughters to receive equal amounts in a trust instrument. One daughter over a period of years took mother’s money from various bank accounts in her mother’s name. This decimated the trust. When mother died, the daughter who took mother’s money denied that she owed any money back to the trust estate claiming that the money taken was a “gift”. That sister later claimed that she was still entitled to half of the trust estate. We were retained by the sister who was deprived of her inheritance. After a long litigation and appeal, we were able to recover money to the trust estate from the sister who had misappropriated funds and zero out the share of the sister who had taken mother’s money.
A former caregiver was able to convince an elderly retired firefighter to change his estate plan and leave everything to her. After just taking her deposition, we were able to settle the case for a family member who had been cut out of the will. Instead of going to the caregiver, the house was sold and more than half of the proceeds provided to our client.