Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Attorney sanctioned for lying to probate and tax courts

EvilA probate attorney's deciteful conduct was revealed and he will pay the price. 

Here are some excerpts from Estate of Mary Allison, T.C. Memo 2008-149, June 10, 2008:

Mary Allison died in 1995. Her son, Daniel Allison, is an attorney and the personal representative of her estate. He opened a probate case shortly after her death in Seattle’s King County Superior Court. It is still not closed. Mr. Allison also filed two Tax Court cases for the estate in early 2000. Neither of them has been closed. It appears that Mr. Allison has been telling our Court that resolution of the probate case is all that’s needed to wrap up the Tax Court cases, and telling the King County Superior Court that resolution of the Tax Court cases is all that’s needed to wrap up the probate case. We issued an order to Mr. Allison to show cause why we shouldn’t sanction him for his misrepresentations. This opinion explains the reasons for our decision to make that order absolute. * * *

From the comparison of the documents filed with this Court and with the King County Superior Court, we believe that Mr. Allison is taking advantage of the calendar system of both courts to indefinitely postpone the resolution of the probate case and the Tax Court cases. We find that he deliberately and repeatedly told each court that the other matter had to be resolved first, and in doing so, he has misled and misinformed this Court. * * *

Mr. Allison’s education and legal experience, not to mention his admission to the Tax Court bar, underscore the egregiousness of his conduct. The issues in both cases before us are fairly simple and should have been resolved long ago. Instead, the cases before us have dragged on for over eight years, and the probate case has lingered for more than a decade. We therefore find that he used procedures of our Court primarily for delay, and in doing so was repeatedly dishonest. Mr. Allison’s persistence in the face of warnings from both courts thus warrants a penalty under [IRC §] 6673(a)(2). That section requires a determination of the costs imposed on the Commissioner, and we will order the Commissioner to file evidence of what those costs were.

Because Mr. Allison is an attorney currently admitted to practice before the Tax Court, other sanctions may be appropriate.

Special thanks to Patrick S. Sylvester (Attorney & Counselor at Law, Sylvester Law Firm, PC) for bringing this case to my attention.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2008/07/attorney-sancti.html

Estate Administration, New Cases, Professional Responsibility | Permalink

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