Hypo: Family Law/ Trust & Estates/ Evidence

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
wentw27

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:57 am

Hypo: Family Law/ Trust & Estates/ Evidence

Postby wentw27 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:52 pm

Hypo:
A 45 year old Estate Attorney in State A gets a new Client in January 2003, who is 40 years old (to handle tax issues, advise & research on a lawsuit she want to bring against the manager of a Timber trust in State B (she is using State B attorney for the lawsuit), and other general legal needs). Client has a 1/4 interest in a Timber trust in state B (her portion worth $5 Million) that her grandfather set up before he died. Client also receives a permanent income from a separate Trust set up in State C ($300,000 per year). Client will inherit around $100 Million when her 75 year old mom dies. And around $3 Million when her 75 year old Father dies (parents are divorced). Attorney spends many hours working on these various issues, and becomes his top Billable Client.

Client is admitted to a mental health facility in January 2004 (at request of friends/ family due to extreme paranoid delusions). Estate attorney is able to get the client out of the facility a week later- with condition that he has custodial care, client has 24/7 care monitor & regular meeting with psychiatrist, etc... until client is no longer considered a threat to themselves/ others, etc. (February 15, 2004 client is cleared to live on her own again.. but she has become close with care monitor and decides to retain the care monitor for a additional month on a part time basis). Client has also decided to have no further contact with Family, Friends (thinks they are out to get her, etc).

Attorney is going through a divorce & client is recently divorced herself. March 1, 2004 client tells care monitor that she doesnt need her to stay over the weekends because she & attorney have become romantically involved- and client is meeting attorney out of town to spend weekend with attorney-they both have mountain houses in the town of Rural Mountain- which is 1 hour away from where they currently live in Greentown (Care monitor never actually sees them together at mountain houses). Care Monitor leaves for good March 15, 2004.

5 years pass & Client has had no contact with Family, Friends, Care Monitor ...despite several failed attempts by Family to reach out by contacting the Attorney (since client has changed her number & contact info cannot be found). In January 2010 Client's mother hires investigator to track down daughter... discovers daughter is living in Rural Mountain. Mother again contacts Attorney in attempt to reach out to daughter. Attorney has brief conversation with mother- says Client is fine & says he will on message. Mother never heard back from daughter.

In January 2012, Mother contacts Attorney again to inform that Mother's ex-husband (Client's father) has died. Attorney now informs Mother that he and Client married in 2007 (when giving info to appear in Father's Obituary)... and he will let Client know. Client doesn't attend Funeral or contact family.

In August 2016, Client passes out & taken to hospital & told she has Stage 4 inoperable Cancer, not expected to survive 6 months (Doctor says there were likely clear symptoms of serious health problem months before Client is taken to hospital). Attorney Calls Mother to inform & Mother flies down next day to see hospital- Client refuses to see Mom. Attorney Calls Mother in November 2016 and say Client will likely die in next day or two. Mother immediately flies down again. Client dies before Mother arrives.

Throughout 2017 Mother discovers:
Attorney had been living in a $500,000 home in nice neighborhood in Greentown. since 2008, that was being paid for from proceeds from the Timber trust & was registered in Clients name. Client had been living with her 2 dogs, in a $100,00 house in Rural Mountain owned by Attorney. Client would drive back and forth to her "office" in Greentown everyday. (Attorney has provided client with an office since 2004 (in one of his spare offices.. where she would go to occupy her time- but no actual job). Mother is shock by the poor condition of the House is Greentown & neighbor says Client never let anyone inside & was drunk most nights & had been involved in several altercations around the small Rural Mountain area. Neighbor also says Client often talked about wild conspiracy theory involving being followed by the Government, her now estrated family, and others. Neighbor said Client attributed the couples living situation to "That's how Attorney wants it." Neighbor rarely saw attorney or attorneys 2 children at the house. (Attorney says living situation was as so- because Client wanted her dogs to have space to run around... and the neighborhood in Greencity wasn't a good fit for the dogs). Attorney claims he did not start a romantic relationship with with Client until 2006 (married in 2007). Mother has tracked down the "Car Monitor" from 2004... who is willing to testify that Client clearly stated on several occasions (beginning of March 2004)- that she didn't need Care Monitor to stay with her on weekend because Client was meeting Attorney in Rural Mountain (where each owned a house within a mile or two of each other). Care Monitor will also testify that one of the 2 March 2004 weekends, she follow Client to Rural Mountain to help her transport some items for the house (helped unpack for an hour before leaving) and can verify that on her way out of town, she saw Attorney pulling into Rural Mountain.

Mother also discovered Client adopted Attorney's 22 year old Son (but not his twin sister) two weeks prior to her death and created a will leaving Son her interest in the Timber Trust in State B. (Client had no biological children). Interest in the Timber Trust was set up to pass only to natural lineal descendants, otherwise interest was to revert back to the remaindermen (Client's 3 siblings). The Siblings sued... and successfully regained Client's 1/4th interest in the Timber Trust on summary judgement.

Question:
1) Mother thinks the actions by Attorney over the previous 12 years are shady and highly suspicious and therefore doesn't want Attorney to end up with Client's estate in State A (roughly 5 Million). Outline Mother's best course of action.

2) State Adopted Federal rules of Procedure & does not include an 807 hearsay exception (catch-all provision). Mother wants to use Care Monitor's testimony to show that Attorney & Client client began a romantic relationship in March 2004... What is the best strategy, if any, to accomplish this goal?

wentw27

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Hypo: Family Law/ Trust & Estates/ Evidence

Postby wentw27 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:03 pm

Any thoughts on this Bar exam (or law school exam) practice Hypo?

Also- a point of clarification regarding the part about the siblings successfully bringing an action to prevent the 22 year old adopted adult inheriting an interest in the timber trust (state B is presumed to be a state that does not permit adult adoptions for the purpose of inheritance... Which is a minority view on the issue).

estefanchanning

Bronze
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:22 pm

Re: Hypo: Family Law/ Trust & Estates/ Evidence

Postby estefanchanning » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:58 pm

This sounds like an actual case you're working on. :?



Return to “Forum for Law School Students�

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 15 guests