Planning for Life

Martha's Vineyard Senior Gets Home Back After Undue Influence & Fraud

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on February 16, 2021

By Harry S. Margolis

scam-senior-undue-influence-elder-law-Wellesley-MA-02481

In Steere v. Steere (Mass. Sup. Ct., Dukes CA 2018-44, December 16, 2020), Superior Court judge Paul D. Wilson finds that a nephew and his wife used undue influence to defraud his 88-year-old aunt from her house in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard.

How It Went Down

Gloria Steere had lived in her house in Oak Bluffs since 1982. Despite having been in charge of accounting at Martha's Vineyard Insurance for 30 years, in 2012 and 2013, she became the victim of scammers and lost her life savings of approximately $800,000.

Read More

Topics: undue influence

Court Allows Claim Against Goulston & Storrs to Proceed to Trial

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 22, 2020

By Harry S. Margolis

will-court-dispute-estate-planning-attorney-Wellesley-MA-02481

The Suffolk Superior Court in Ginsberg v. Casey, et al. (C.A. No. 1984CV01670-BLS1, November 10, 2020) dismisses some claims and refuses to dismiss others brought by Faye Ginsburg against Goulston & Storrs, P.C., and Attorneys J. Robert Casey and Andrew D. Rothstein for assisting her brother, Bruce Ginsberg, in raiding family trusts for his benefit and convincing their mother to change her estate plan to Faye's detriment.

Read More

Topics: probate, will, undue influence, malpractice

What is the Standard for Incapacity to Sign a Legal Document?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on April 16, 2019

By Harry S. Margolis

Incapacity-undue-influence-upcoming-webinar-Wellesley

I recently wrote about the standards for determining undue influence and questioning the value of consulting with a neuropsychologist to determine capacity to sign a legal document. But what is the standard for incapacity?

The answer is that it's a moving target, often depending on the situation and the document to be signed. Further, in the absence of indications of undue influence, the attorney should be inclined to assist a client with questionable capacity to execute estate planning documents rather than refusing to assist the client.

Testamentary Capacity

Here's the legal standard for "testamentary" capacity, which is the capacity to sign a will:

Read More

Topics: incapacity, undue influence, legal protection

6 Red Flags of Potential Undue Influence, and How to Respond

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 11, 2018

By Harry S. Margolis

undue-influence-incapacity-elder-law-attorney-Wellesley-MA

Most estate planning matters present no issues of potential undue influence or incapacity. The client or clients (if a couple) meet with the attorney. They discuss the clients' goals and the best ways to reach them, develop a plan, and then implement it.

But some situations are out of the ordinary and require the lawyer to take extra steps to ensure that the client is not subject to undue influence.

Definition of Undue Influence

Before we list those circumstances, let's review the elements that must be proved to establish the existence of undue influence to invalidate an estate plan. There are four such elements which together prove undue influence:

  1. The estate plan involves an unnatural disposition of the estate (see 3 below),
  2. By a person who is susceptible to undue influence (see 1 below),
Read More

Topics: incapacity, undue influence

Subscribe to New Blog Posts

Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts

Posts by Topic

see all

Have More Questions? Contact Us