Monday, April 12, 2010

Ugly Family Dispute

An ugly family dispute resulted in a lawsuit filed in Lincoln County District Court and drew into the spotlight two oft[en] cited but perhaps not clearly understood legal roles.

At the center of the dispute is 92-year-old Alice McPherson. Her daughters Angeline Milroy and Maria Fleecs filed the lawsuit against Teresa Piccolo. Piccolo is McPherson’s granddaughter and Milroy’s daughter. A source close to the case identified Piccolo as the primary, if not sole, caregiver to McPherson.

Also named in the lawsuit were North Platte attorneys Mike Nozicka and Tim Brouillette, McPherson’s conservator and legal guardian, respectively.

Though the attorneys were named as defendants in the legal capacities, no allegations of malfeasance were leveled at either one and the alleged instances of wrongdoing listed in the complaint all transpired prior to the attorneys being appointed by Judge Kent Turnbull.

The suit alleged that Piccolo took advantage of McPherson’s inability to make rational decisions concerning her finances and property.

McPherson began to exhibit signs of chronic dementia and Alzheimer’s in January 2007, affecting both her long and short-term memory, according to the document.

The legal problems began January 29, 2009, one day after McPherson’s husband of many years, Cliff, passed away. The suit stated that Piccolo drove McPherson to the office to attorney Mike McCarthy, where McPherson signed documents granting Piccolo power of attorney over the former’s healthcare.

Fleecs and Milroy alleged that on February 20, 2009, Piccolo took McPherson to attorney Steve Vinton’s office in Gothenburg and secured durable power of attorney, and that Piccolo accepted the appointment without the knowledge, consent, or authority of Fleecs and Milroy.

That same day McPherson signed a joint warranty deed to her home, naming herself and Piccolo as joint tenants, reserving a life estate for McPherson, according to the document.

McPherson also altered her will on Feb. 20, revoking her previous will from 1959. The original document transferred her property to her two daughters, and had a one third interest to her husband’s son Terald. The terms of the new will were not listed in the complaint.

The lawsuit claimed that McPherson was not mentally competent on the dates she made the transfers and that after the documents were executed, “Alice McPherson was not aware of these documents.”

Milroy and Fleecs accused Piccolo of exercising undue influence on McPherson.

Full Article and Source:
Ugly Family Dispute Turns Legal


StandUp said...

The lesson we all need to learn from family disputes is that they MUST be settled out of the court. As ugly as they can be, they must be settled outside of the court.

Anonymous said...

That's right, Standup.

The courts have lost their way, and are nothing more than a collection agency for crooks!

Terry said...

Power of Attorney abuse leads to guardianship abuse.

Kelly said...

I know caregivers steal and do ugly things, but that's not the norm. Normally caregivers care. And I can believe that this caregiver got in the middle of a fight that just kept getting uglier. Who's right and who's wrong? We may never know.