aaron Asked December 2011

Who investigates if an attorney takes advantage of a dying man?


I have concerns about a lawyer who entered my father's life four months before he died (of kidney failure ... he was already dying when this lawyer first met my father). In those four months, this lawyer assumed power of attorney, took over my father's financial and health affairs (excluding the family from major decisions), and rewrote my father's will, which named him executor. A few months before my father died, he sold his business and the building for much less than we think it's worth. The lawyer drafted the sales contract and is now the secretary of the board of the business in question. The lawyer, of course, says he was only carrying out my father's wishes. Since my father's death, I have been trying to get information about my father's finances, both before and after his death, but the lawyer won't cooperate. He says we will get a full accounting of the estate after probate, but I have concerns about how money was spent before my father's death as well.

I am wondering if there are federal or state agencies that will investigate a matter such as this in New York State.

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cdeh61 Jan 2012
I'd like to expand this question! My husband's aunt has turned all financial matters over to her attorney recently (POA). She even included health power of attorney, but during a recent health crisis, it was turned back over to my husband when the attorney was out of the country for a month. His aunt is now showing signs of mild dementia, is in a SNF but has expressed distrust of the attorney and made statements like "she (the attorney) is only in this for the money" " I don't trust her" etc. We have a meeting with the attorney this week. As family members, do we have any rights to question how the aunt's money is being spent i.e. repairs/remodel of her condo, finally selling her car, selling the condo etc.? Can the attorney demand the Health care POA be returned to her now that she's back? My husband moved his aunt to community close to us and visits her twice a week, something that was not possible prior to her hospitalization.
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planeman Jan 2012
As a retired attorney I must disagree with the previous answer to your complex problen. You should have some facts before filing a complaint and these facts are availble but not necessarily easy to find.

Apparently the size of your father's estate is considerable. You should have no difficuly in finding an attorney to investigate. I am not familiar with New York probate laws but it is usual for the exacutor to file with the court an inventory of the estate assets and this is a public record. But your opinion of vaues is not necessarily something that a bar association or a court could accept as final. In the probate fil you will find the identity of the witnesses to your father;s will. I note that there is no mention of your father's mental capacity. Is it posible that he instructed the individual to sell the property and even to set the valus.

It is not my intention to put roadblocks in your case. It is that you need to have professional help in this apparent lycomplex matter. I strongly urge you to be adequately prepared.
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Carol72156 Dec 2011
File a grievance with the state disciplinary board - you can find that info by doing a Google search with name of your state and then "bar association". Also, find the website for your state's attorney general's office and you should be able to find a page with instructions on how to file a complaint. Do it now.
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