Case Studies

Husband Hides Dementia while Striving to Secure Wife’s Assets

A client’s mother’s inherited substantial assets from her parents. When the client discovered that the mother’s forth husband was hiding her dementia and not caring well for her, we assisted our client to be appointed as his mother’s Conservator and initiated a lawsuit to invalidate the estate planning facilitated by this latest husband just for his benefit. During the litigation, the mother passed away and the client became the Successor Trustee, initiating a new action to invalidate the Estate Planning and to recover the assets. The client also became the Executor of the mother’s estate and sought to recover the assets from this forth husband. We recovered the assets and partially invalidated the gift of mother’s inheritance to this husband, resulting in a $1.6Million benefit for our client.

The Case of Undue Influence and Three Siblings

Three siblings, two brothers living out of state and one sister living in California, retained our firm to assist with a complicated capacity issue. After the mother died, the father’s capacity diminished and he became susceptible to undue influence. The sister moved into father’s house without paying rent and her daughter moved into father’s rental condo, which had an ocean view, all while paying minimal, if any rent. Estate Planning changes were made and suddenly all of the father’s assets went to this sister and her daughter, and nothing went to the brothers. We assisted the brothers in their suit to invalidate the recent Estate Planning changes and recovered the assets for the Trust. On the threshold of the ensuing trial, the case settled. The brother’s reached a settlement in which they received the condo and all of the remaining assets, valued at about $1Million.

False Claim by “Wife” who Turns Out to be a Girlfriend

A foreign national overstayed his visa. He purchased a seaside condo, where he lived with his girlfriend until his death. The girlfriend claimed, in an Estate Contest, that she was the surviving spouse and she fought the decedent’s children for control over the estate. We represented the children and won. We then sought the appointment of an attorney to serve as the Estate Administrator. The condo was vacant for two years and was in need of repairs prior to sale. Each of the children are foreign nationals; one being a minor, which posed tax and distribution issues. We resolved all of the tax and distribution issues, closed the estate, and distributed all of the assets.

Watch out for Last Week of Life Estate Plan Revisions

Our client was the friend of a foreign national who was living in Europe. She was also the beneficiary of his Foreign Trust in a Tax Haven Country. In the last week of this friend’s life, his children took control of his care and caused him to execute new estate planning documents removing our client as a beneficiary. We engaged a foreign counsel to assist in the litigation against the Bank Trustee in the Tax Haven Country. A complex mediation took place in England and resulted in the settlement and distribution of the Trust with our client receiving one-half of its value.

Beware of a New Wife who Changes a Trust and Excludes the Family

Our client introduced her friend to her father, whose wife had just passed away. The friend wound up marrying the father, and then changed all of estate planning to her benefit, completely excluding our client, contrary to the terms of the original Trust. This new wife made even more changes to the Trust during the litigation to try and invalidate it. After the trial, the Court granted our client her one-half interest in the Trust together with damages which exceeded the remaining one-half interest in the Trust. As a result, our client received all of the assets of the Trust.

Famous Thespian Embroiled in Probate Litigation

A famous theatrical worker became a client of our firm. This client was granted one-half of the remainder of her boyfriend’s Estate, in addition to his airplane. The Executor of the boyfriend’s Estate, a prior girlfriend, wasted the bulk of the remainder of the Estate to improve the real property left to boyfriend’s sister, using funds that should have gone to our client. The Executor also damaged the airplane gifted to our client, necessitating repairs. Our client died in an airplane crash testing the repairs. The client’s brother became the Administrator of client’s estate and our new client. After four years of litigation ensued, the outcome resulted in the recovery of the client’s inheritance funds from boyfriend allowing her estate to close and to distribute it to her heirs.