Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kansas City Lawyer Accused of Felony Forgery and First Degree Murder

Gavel1Susan Elizabeth Van Note is a Kansas City lawyer accused of forging a durable power of attorney and killing her millionaire father.  A Clay County probate judge has removed her as the personal representative of her father's estate.  She has pleaded not guilty to felony forgery and first-degree murder in Boone County, and she is currently free on a $1 million cash bond.  

Her father, William Van Note, died in October 2010 when doctors removed him from life support after an intruder shot him and his long-time girlfriend, Sharon Dickson.  Four days after the shooting incident, Susan presented Doctors with a durable power of attorney that gave them the permission they needed to remove William from life support.  Now she is being charged with forging that power of attorney.

Three days after Susan was chaged with killing her father, Andrew Dickson, Sharon's son, Andrew Dickson, asked the probate court to remove Van Note as the estate's executor. At that point the judge suspended her from the role, and scheduled the hearing that has now confirmed she is no longer the personal representative of her father's estate.

William's estate is worth at least several million dollars. He was preparing to marry Dickson after two decades together.  Provided she outlived him, she was his first choice as personal representative and his principal beneficiary.

Prosecutors have yet to announce a motive in William's killing, but The San Francisco Chronicle seems to suggest that it could be related to Susan's financial troubles.  In September 2009, Susan filed for bankruptcy in federal court and her mother has also had legal troubles.

See Alan Scher Zagier, KC Lawyer Charged in Dad's Death Loses Will Fight, SFGate, Nov. 20, 2012.  

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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