Families who spoke to The Post say [Elizabeth] Savitt exploits those rifts to pursue litigation that drives up her fees. Savitt’s attorneys, though, say it’s the family rancor that necessitates costly actions in guardianships, such as removing a sibling from a trust of a senior.
“I don’t know if they seek out cases where there is family dysfunction, but they certainly take advantage of it,” said Bruce Rosenwater, a West Palm Beach attorney who sought to remove Savitt from a guardianship.
In five Savitt cases The Post examined, however, family members said the judge’s wife seemed more interested in the money from the estate than caring for the incapacitated senior.
The cases involved Brooklyn plumber Vassallo, 87; Kansas schoolteacher Helen O’Grady, 83; New York accountant Robert Paul Wein, 89; Chicago-area decorator Lorraine Hilton, 94; and Gwendolyn Batson, 89, a retired school administrator who lived in Lake Worth.
O’Grady died in 2012, Batson in 2013 and Wein died Dec. 1, but the other two are still alive and under the power of Savitt.
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High Cost of Family Discord: Fees Blossom in Court