But Grandma Loved Me Best!
Published to: 000111, 000112, 000115, 000116, 000117, A Small Town Lawyer's Perspective, Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer, West Virginia Lawyer - Tips and Techniques
on June 12, 2010 1:04 am
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But, there are many disputes among the heirs of loving grandchildren, children, cousins, care providers and friends.
How do the courts sort it out? One simple rule helps a lot.
When a person is elderly and frail, and susceptible to the influence of others, certain rules apply.
If she/she has a “fiduciary” and that fiduciary somehow benefits by a gift or will from the elderly person, there is a “presumption of fraud”.
What does that mean? A fiduciary may hold a power of attorney or simply be handling the older person’s financial affairs. That means they have a high duty to that person, NOT to themselves.
If you are handling the elderly person’s affairs, and you show up in a will or deed as the recipient, the law presumes you did something wrong.
That means, when Pop, Grandma, Mom, or Dad says you are the “best one” because you were there up to the very end, and they want you to be their heir, or grantee on a deed, BE CAREFUL, because if you accommodate them without involving a lawyer for them, you will be presumed to have committed fraud.
From the other point of view, if you know your parent or grandparent has named you in a will or deed, and, instead, the care provider, or a distant relative or friend is named the recipient, you may want to consult a lawyer. You may be able to challenge the will or deed!
So many of these cases depend on very specific facts, it is pretty easy for a lawyer to decide to take the case.
These cases require a cash retainer, but they can be worth many dollars, depending on the size of the estate.
The worthy goal is to honor the wishes of the decedent or impaired person. This situation is a “no brainer” for calling a lawyer. A good lawyer won’t take the case unless there is an excellent chance of prevailing, so do not hesitate to call the lawyer.
This post was written by Burton Hunter