Monday, May 11, 2009

Estate abuse cases confirm growth industry status

Estate abuse or using probate instruments such as wills, trusts, guardianships or powers of attorney to “divert” assets of the dead or disabled/incapacitated in a manner contrary to the asset owner’s wishes is a thriving activity in today’s economy with current conditions ripe for the likely continuation of this trend.

At, we call this an Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA). It can also accurately be called theft.

The estate of Mickey Carroll, one of the last surviving Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz, is now the center of a dispute between Carroll’s relatives and a caregiver to whom Carroll gave control of his assets just four months prior to his death.

Once again, here we are with a case of someone dramatically changing their estate plan shortly before their death. Why would any competent, responsible person desiring a simple, non-problematic estate distribution take dramatic, last minute action likely to create a legal dispute? And in light of such a situation, why would it be inappropriate for heirs or beneficiaries to question such an act?


The answer is quite clear, people change their wills right before their death e.g. Mickey Carroll and right when they become incapacitated e.g. Clara G. Fernandez because that's when they are the most suceptible and are most easily influenced which make for an easy prey. This fact is not lost on looters and grave robbers, what is most reprehensible is that authorities for the most part go by the most recent will, or the POA with the most recent date, regardless of the circumstances of how it was obtained!

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