Friday, July 31, 2015
A New York doctor has been accused by the family of a former patient for seducing, then getting the patient to disinherit her family of a $7 million estate. Amy Blumenthal was a successful attorney but suffered from psychological troubles which prompted her to seek medical help. Blumenthal's brother alleges that the doctor, after multiple therapy sessions, gave his sister an ultimatum to enter into a sexual relationship or stop being a patient which quickly escalated into large gifts and, eventually, into the doctor being named the sole beneficiary in the will.
This case is an excellent example of how those with mental disorders might be taken advantage of by those they trust and depend upon. Every estate planner should be on the lookout for a client that starts making large, unexpected changes to an estate plan in favor of a party that has much power and influence. While this is not always a sign of undue influence, it can be warning signal that all might not on the up and up. If a planner sees a client in a potentially abusive situation, it is always a good idea to check up, that may be it all it takes to stop an evil actor from creating legal chaos down the line.
See Julia Marsh, Shrink convinced patient to be her lover, write her into $7M will: docs, New York Post, July 29, 2015.
Special thanks to Jay Brinker for bringing this article to my attention.