Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Charity Begins At Home

The New York Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department has disbarred an attorney notwithstanding an unblemished record in 30 years of practice. The misconduct occurred in connection with his dealings with an incapacitated person ("IP"):

Respondent admits that, in July 2009, he was appointed as guardian for the IP, who was a plaintiff in a pending personal injury action. Respondent further admits that, in August 2009, the IP received settlement funds in an amount in excess of $5 million and, on numerous occasions thereafter, Supreme Court instructed respondent to retain independent counsel to draft a will on behalf of the IP.

Respondent admits that, in contravention of those instructions, he prepared a will for the IP, which was executed in March 2010, appointing himself as sole executor of the estate and designating respondent’s wife, in her maiden name, as sole beneficiary of the will. Respondent further admits that, prior to the execution of the will, the IP did not receive advice from independent counsel and was not evaluated to determine if she possessed testamentary capacity. In addition, respondent admits that two members of his immediate family served as subscribing witnesses to the will.

The court rejected as incredible the attorney's suggestion that his goal was to donate the inherited funds to charity. (Mike Frisch)


Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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