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Hush Money, Crooked Attorney & Estate Planning, Oh My!

Dishonest attorneyFamily members suing each other over inheritances and other estate matters is fairly common. A recent case in North Carolina, however, is a bit unusual in that the matter centers on a disbarred attorney.

Tols Detmer’s father, Fritz Detmer, left his son an estate worth several hundred thousand dollars. The inheritance was supposed to be made available to the son when he turned 18. Now, Tols is 19 and he is suing his own mother, Charlinette Detmer, for hundreds of thousands of dollars he says she improperly received from the estate.

The lawsuit alleges that Charlinette was supposed to receive $60,000 from the estate, but instead the lawyer administering the estate, Peter Capece, gave her $311,000. It is alleged that Capece gave Charlinette this windfall because she knew that Capece was misappropriating money from the estate for his own benefit. In effect, the money paid to Charlinette was hush money from the attorney supposedly settling the estate!

Capece did not get away with his scheme, however. He was disbarred for appropriating $1.6 million from the estate of Fritz Detmer. Although the Fritz Detmer estate is suing Capece, you cannot get blood from a turnip. He has recently filed for bankruptcy.

The estate has put a home owned by Charlinette up for sale to pay Tols Detmer the money his mother owes him. The Charlotte Observer reported this story in an article titled “Son sues his mom over Lake Norman estate proceeds.” It goes without saying that this estate tale illustrates the extreme importance of choosing a trustworthy attorney to administer an estate!

Obviously, the attorney in this case did more harm that simply stealing money; he ruined a mother and son relationship. Of course, that does not absolve the mother in this case for taking the money that should have rightfully belonged to her son  but if Capece had not misappropriated funds from the estate, then the mother never would have been able to request hush money. Sad story all around.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.  However, proper estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project.  Why not call us for a complimentary consultation at 757-259-0707.  

Reference: Charlotte Observer (August 20, 2015) “Son sues his mom over Lake Norman estate proceeds.”

 

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