On June 22, 2017, the Virginia Supreme Court published the following decision in Gelber v. Glock, Case No. 116500. The Court summarized the facts and holding of the case as follows:
In litigation concerning the real and personal property of a family matriarch which was transferred to one of her five children, the circuit court did not err in denying a summary judgment motion challenging the decedent's capacity to convey to one of her daughters her personal property in her personal capacity when she held it as trustee under her revocable trust. Nor did the court err in excluding from evidence certain tax assessment records offered as proof of the value of the decedent's home, or in striking the plaintiff's evidence on a claim for civil conspiracy. However, the circuit court did err in excluding from evidence declarations made by matriarch disavowing the property transfers and in granting the motion to strike the executor plaintiffs’ evidence on their claims for undue influence and promissory fraud. Because an award of attorney's fees to the defendant daughter was based on the ruling in her favor on her motion to strike, that award is vacated. The judgment of the circuit court is affirmed in part and reversed in part. This matter is remanded for a new trial consistent with this opinion.
There, Ms. Lemen's children lost part of the inheritance they expected from Mr. Reineck's estate because their mother (Ms. Lemen) and Mr. Reineck created durable financial attorney forms in favor of each other and then their respective children. After Ms. Reineck died, Mr. Reineck's POA controlled. It empowered his children to move hiss assets in and out of his estate. They moved most of his assets out because Mr. Reineck's will would have given some property to Ms. Lemen's children--something Mr. Reineck's children succeeded in avoiding. Note, Ms. Lemen's children had already received nearly all Ms. Lemen's property from her estate when she died. You can see the possibility for abuse here, though.
The EFM Lawyer.