• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Conflict of interest? & When does a mediation agreement beccome a real contract?

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

celestedifusco

Junior Member
Conflict of interest? & When does a mediation agreement beccome a real contract?

California

My fiancee's dad, David, passed away in Oct. of 2016 leaving a will/trust signed in 2005 in which my fiancee, Jeremy, was named beneficiary for 60% and Jeremy's sister was named as beneficiary for the other 40%. Jeremy is 29 years old and is a physically disabled adult -he lost the function of his right hand and arm after the polio vaccine he was given at the age of 2 left a "scar" on the base of his brain. He also gets a monthly infusion for his compromised immune system, without which he would cease to live.

David left an old girlfriend, Sharon, named as executor of the will and trust.

Immediately after Davids passing Jeremy and his sister were advised to seek private counsel in anticipation of David's 3rd wife, Rose, (who David met on the internet and was only married to her for 5 years), would be submitting a petition to the courts to be recognized as an Omitted Spouse- which she promptly did even though David left her $125,000 life insurance policy and she sold their Santa Maria house, the 2016 Dodge Ram truck and brand new 5th wheel motor home, all his power tools as well as most of his furniture, appliances, and personal belongings IMMEDIATELY following his death.
Lori L. is the lawyer David had before his death and she still represents Davids Trust as well as the executor, Sharon.
Lori has given Jeremy's lawyer "testimony" claiming that David 'intended' to provide more for Rose- he just never got AROUND to finishing up the paperwork...
This even though David NEVER signed the amendment drafted months before in Lori's office -(with Rose at his side!.)
By the way -Rose carried this "amended" WILL with her on their vacation, (although David's health began rapidly deteriorating due to an 8 year battle with cancer), and was witnessed pushing it at him and trying to get him to sign it in his hospital bed just a few hours before he suddenly died.

At first Jeremy's lawyer indicated she would help us fight against the petition on the grounds that Rose had already been provided for outside of the trust.
But after a private attorneys meeting with Lori L. her whole outlook and strategy completely changed overnight.
As advised by his lawyer Jeremy went into mediation, and, even though he understood almost none of the legal and financial issues involved, he was pressured into signing an agreement giving Rose $650,000 more! (BEFORE mediation we were told by our lawyer not to worry--it was a show good faith to the court that the parties would TRY to work things out without litigating-- BUT it DID NOT mean we HAD to settle!!)

Santa Barbara is small town with regards to lawyers-they all know each other and work with each other day in and day out-- they all make TONS of money and seem to have no problem "Helping" each other out to those ends.

Two questions:

1. the final mediation agreement gos before the court next month, 09/17, for final approval: Can Jeremy change his mind and back out of his decision?
2. Is Lori L.'s involvement a Conflict of Interest because her testimony takes the widow's side while going AGAINST her now deceased client's children who are the only two beneficiaries David named in his last official will?
 


Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
California

My fiancee's dad, David, passed away in Oct. of 2016 leaving a will/trust signed in 2005 in which my fiancee, Jeremy, was named beneficiary for 60% and Jeremy's sister was named as beneficiary for the other 40%. Jeremy is 29 years old and is a physically disabled adult -he lost the function of his right hand and arm after the polio vaccine he was given at the age of 2 left a "scar" on the base of his brain. He also gets a monthly infusion for his compromised immune system, without which he would cease to live.

David left an old girlfriend, Sharon, named as executor of the will and trust.

Immediately after Davids passing Jeremy and his sister were advised to seek private counsel in anticipation of David's 3rd wife, Rose, (who David met on the internet and was only married to her for 5 years), would be submitting a petition to the courts to be recognized as an Omitted Spouse- which she promptly did even though David left her $125,000 life insurance policy and she sold their Santa Maria house, the 2016 Dodge Ram truck and brand new 5th wheel motor home, all his power tools as well as most of his furniture, appliances, and personal belongings IMMEDIATELY following his death.
Lori L. is the lawyer David had before his death and she still represents Davids Trust as well as the executor, Sharon.
Lori has given Jeremy's lawyer "testimony" claiming that David 'intended' to provide more for Rose- he just never got AROUND to finishing up the paperwork...
This even though David NEVER signed the amendment drafted months before in Lori's office -(with Rose at his side!.)
By the way -Rose carried this "amended" WILL with her on their vacation, (although David's health began rapidly deteriorating due to an 8 year battle with cancer), and was witnessed pushing it at him and trying to get him to sign it in his hospital bed just a few hours before he suddenly died.

At first Jeremy's lawyer indicated she would help us fight against the petition on the grounds that Rose had already been provided for outside of the trust.
But after a private attorneys meeting with Lori L. her whole outlook and strategy completely changed overnight.
As advised by his lawyer Jeremy went into mediation, and, even though he understood almost none of the legal and financial issues involved, he was pressured into signing an agreement giving Rose $650,000 more! (BEFORE mediation we were told by our lawyer not to worry--it was a show good faith to the court that the parties would TRY to work things out without litigating-- BUT it DID NOT mean we HAD to settle!!)

Santa Barbara is small town with regards to lawyers-they all know each other and work with each other day in and day out-- they all make TONS of money and seem to have no problem "Helping" each other out to those ends.

Two questions:

1. the final mediation agreement gos before the court next month, 09/17, for final approval: Can Jeremy change his mind and back out of his decision?
2. Is Lori L.'s involvement a Conflict of Interest because her testimony takes the widow's side while going AGAINST her now deceased client's children who are the only two beneficiaries David named in his last official will?
1: Jeremy can attempt, with the help of his attorney, to back out of the agreement they've reached.
2: No

Attorneys network...so it's not unusual for them to communicate with each other. In fact, the court encourages parties to settle things outside of court, which will often require the attorneys to discuss things with each other at length.

ETA: Lori L. doesn't represent the children.
 

quincy

Senior Member
California

My fiancee's dad, David, passed away in Oct. of 2016 leaving a will/trust signed in 2005 in which my fiancee, Jeremy, was named beneficiary for 60% and Jeremy's sister was named as beneficiary for the other 40%. Jeremy is 29 years old and is a physically disabled adult -he lost the function of his right hand and arm after the polio vaccine he was given at the age of 2 left a "scar" on the base of his brain. He also gets a monthly infusion for his compromised immune system, without which he would cease to live.

David left an old girlfriend, Sharon, named as executor of the will and trust.

Immediately after Davids passing Jeremy and his sister were advised to seek private counsel in anticipation of David's 3rd wife, Rose,(who David met on the internet and was only married to her for 5 years), would be submitting a petition to the courts to be recognized as an Omitted Spouse which she promptly did even though David left her $125,000 life insurance policy and she sold their Santa Maria house, the 2016 Dodge Ram truck and brand new 5th wheel motor home, all his power tools as well as most of his furniture, appliances, and personal belongings IMMEDIATELY following his death.
Lori L. is the lawyer David had before his death and she still represents Davids Trust as well as the executor, Sharon.
Lori has given Jeremy's lawyer "testimony" claiming that David 'intended' to provide more for Rose- he just never got AROUND to finishing up the paperwork...
This even though David NEVER signed the amendment drafted months before in Lori's office -(with Rose at his side!.)
By the way -Rose carried this "amended" WILL with her on their vacation, (although David's health began rapidly deteriorating due to an 8 year battle with cancer), and was witnessed pushing it at him and trying to get him to sign it in his hospital bed just a few hours before he suddenly died.

At first Jeremy's lawyer indicated she would help us fight against the petition on the grounds that Rose had already been provided for outside of the trust.
But after a private attorneys meeting with Lori L. her whole outlook and strategy completely changed overnight.
As advised by his lawyer Jeremy went into mediation, and, even though he understood almost none of the legal and financial issues involved, he was pressured into signing an agreement giving Rose $650,000 more! (BEFORE mediation we were told by our lawyer not to worry--it was a show good faith to the court that the parties would TRY to work things out without litigating-- BUT it DID NOT mean we HAD to settle!!)

Santa Barbara is small town with regards to lawyers-they all know each other and work with each other day in and day out-- they all make TONS of money and seem to have no problem "Helping" each other out to those ends.

Two questions:

1. the final mediation agreement gos before the court next month, 09/17, for final approval: Can Jeremy change his mind and back out of his decision?
Up until the judge signs off on the agreement, the agreement can be changed.

2. Is Lori L.'s involvement a Conflict of Interest because her testimony takes the widow's side while going AGAINST her now deceased client's children who are the only two beneficiaries David named in his last official will?
No. Lori is representing the Trust, not the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries have their own attorneys.

Jeremy should either trust that his lawyer is advising him properly or Jeremy should find another attorney whom he does trust.

Here is a link to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, where you can read about what is and is not considered a conflict of interest: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/Conduct-Discipline/Rules/Rules-of-Professional-Conduct/Current-Rules
 
Last edited:

Sponsored Ad

Top