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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fraudulent executor goes to jail

Those of you who have asked me what happens to executors who refuse to do their jobs properly will find this interesting. A judge in Ontario has jailed an executor for 14 months for defrauding an estate and for failing to comply with the court's orders. Click here to read an article about this from All About Estates.

5 comments:

  1. The Province and the Ministry of Attorney General have got to start taking elder financial fraud and Executor fraud much more seriously. I am in the middle of a nasty court battle because the estate attorney turned a blind eye and allowed the Executor to rob the estate of hundreds of thousands of dollars. And will the UCLS disbar this attorney for gross negligence? Good luck with that...

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    Replies
    1. I don't know the facts of your case, of course, but I do want to make a general comment. I think you misunderstand the role and the power of an estate lawyer.

      Exactly how does a lawyer stop a person from lying or stealing? He can only do what any citizen can do - tell them to stop. And if the person does not stop, then what? What would you do? Call the police? That's an option for most people, assuming there is clear evidence. However, a lawyer is bound by lawyer-client privilege not to divulge what his client has told him. So calling the police - or anyone else - is out.

      A lawyer can't go to a judge, either. Our legal system is set up so that lawyers can't tell on their clients. Period.

      The only thing the lawyer can do is refuse to work with that executor. If money has already gone missing, that is of no help whatsoever to the beneficiaries.

      Now, on the other hand, if it can be proved that the lawyer actively helped the executor to steal money, that's different. That's illegal for anyone, including a lawyer. The problem here is, again, lying by the executor.

      Beneficiaries are often horrified to find that the estate lawyer has released the entire estate to the executor, rather than to the beneficiaries. But that's what is supposed to happen. It's the executor who has the responsibility to distribute the estate, not the lawyer. If the executor instructs the lawyer to give him the entire account and says that he's going to pay the beneficiaries, of course the lawyer is going to hand it over. For one, the executor is his client and calls the shots. And two, as I said, it's the executor who is bound by law to pay the beneficiaries.

      I know that seems hard for people to understand, but that is the law. Even if the lawyer suspects that the executor is skimming, all he can really do is warn him of the law and the consequences of breaching it. Believe me, some executors are greedy enough to lie to the lawyer and take their chances.

      Despite what the public likes to think, most lawyers are honest, hard-working people. There's no advantage to us to allow an executor to rip off beneficiaries. None whatsoever. In fact, all it would do is bring down complaints and lawsuits.

      If the lawyer in your case was actively involved, then I agree with you that he should be disbarred. We don't need him in our profession. But if your complaint is that he didn't stop the executor, that's going to be a tough one. Please let me know what happens.

      Lynne

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    2. would wipe the “smug smile off my face”. They are absolutely right . Tonjademoff.com

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    3. your article was about an asshole of a judge, knowing the person was in fact in poverty, and punnished a person in poverty, so that OTHER people in the general public would "take notice". Im sorry, where in time do WE get to base our actions on "the public!?" that judge is retarded. You dont punish someone based on your paranoid views of what "the public" has or hasnt noticed. AND OF COURSE the person was a minority and the judge was a white man.

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    4. Have you considered anger management classes?

      Btw, poverty is not an excuse for stealing other people's money.

      Lynne

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