Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Injustice In The Probate Courts

Elderly peopleJosephine Smoron became a victim of a person who should have protected her estate. That person was her lawyer and her conservator, John Nugent. Now, the person who should have received her farmhouse, Sam Manzo, is fighting to get that small farm. Nugent could lose his license to practice law because of his actions; however, the courts are still trying to resolve this case.

Nugent simply ignored the wishes of Ms. Smoron. In the course of his actions, he unencumbered Ms. Smoron's real estate. While Nugent was her conservator he also created two trusts so he could transfer Ms. Smoron assets to the trusts. Nugent named himself as trustees of the trusts so he could retain control of Ms. Smoron's assets. Nugent then sold Ms. Smoron's property to a developer. The awful circumstances surrounding this situation were made worse by the fact that Ms. Smoron was in a court-appointed conservatorship. Therefore, the judge and two attorneys simply ignored the facts that her wishes were being ignored.

Nugent's lawyer and Nugent himself maintain that Nugent did not commit malpractice or conduct any wrong doing. 

See Rick Green, Can Damning Memo Finally Unjam Gears of Justice In Probate Case Over Farm, Courant Confidential, May 2, 2012.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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I have a friend who is like my lil brother and he has absolutely no family other than me and the sister that is railroading him . I'm scared of him committing suicide due to the way his sister is doing him regarding their mother's estate. can someone who cares about injustice and human life please help me help him..sincerely ,tracie Harter

Posted by: tracie harter / Nick Salas | Jun 7, 2020 5:20:26 PM

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