Doctor Ran Off with his Nurse = Lifetime Chase
We handled a case that spread across decades. It started out uncomplicated as we were the attorneys for a conservator who was handling the affairs of his distant cousin. The conservatee, Linda, was formerly Dr. Smith’s nurse. Linda had married Dr. Smith who apparently had a prior marriage and at least one daughter, but Dr. Smith had died many years ago and left his new wife, Linda, about $500,000 to live on.
The conservatee, Linda, became incompetent so a conservatorship was established to handle her money. We had been filing normal conservatorship accounting reports with the court every two years to prove how her money was being spent. When she passed away last year she had about $50,000 of the original $500,000 left and we had to determine how do distribute the estate and to whom.
Found a way to avoid Costly Probate – BUT…
We discovered a little-known section of the probate code which allows a summary distribution of conservatorship assets without having to do a full probate. However, we still had to determine who her heirs were and if she had a will telling who was to get what portion of her estate. The conservator lived in the Midwest and he was able to locate an old will but not the original. For probate purposes, generally an original will is needed and statements of witnesses to prove authenticity. Here, we discovered that the attorney who prepared the will was in another state but he was deceased and all the witnesses were deceased. We were able to locate the 6 relatives mentioned in the will and got them to sign papers to prove the will’s authenticity.