Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lawyer in trouble for writing will leaving himself millions

EvilA lawyer is in deep trouble after it was revealed he drafted a will leaving himself and his assistant $7 million from his client's estate.

Here are the details from Chris Tisch, A will casts a shadow on a prominent lawyer who stands to gain millions, St. Petersburg Times, Aug. 24, 2008:

  • Jack S. Carey is a lawyer who formerly served on the St. Petersburg City Council and worked as an FBI agent.
  • Jack drafted a will for Virginia Murphy leaving him and his legal assistant (Gloria DuBois) more than $7 million from her estate.
  • At the time of will execution, she was frail and had various ailments such as cataracts, hearing loss, dementia, and depression.
  • She executed six wills while she was in her 90s which contained similar provisions for Jack and Gloria.
  • Virginia also named Jack and Gloria as her agent in a durable power of attorney for health care.
  • Jack, Gloria, and an accountant who was also a beneficiary but who predeceased Virginia, signed an agreement stating that none of them have breached any fiduciary duties.
  • Virginia died in 2006 at age 107.
  • Virgina's second cousin (most likely her closest surviving relative) contested the will.
  • On August 1, 2008, Judge Lauren Laughlin determined that Jack exercised undue influence on Virginia.
  • Jack is appealing.

Note that in some states, such as Texas, the gift would be void according to an express statutory provision even without any evidence of untoward conduct by the attorney.


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