Representative Cases

In re Iwen, 2003 WL 21007240 (Minn. App. 2003): Karla Iwen had two children. The eldest son took his mother to an estate planning attorney. In the documents that attorney prepared, the eldest son was named as first choice on the health-care directive and power-of-attorney.

We represented the younger son. The younger son became concerned about the care that was being provided to his mother. We filled a petition to have a guardian and conservator appointed. During discovery we found out that the eldest son financially abused his position as attorney in fact by withdrawing large sums of money for his own benefit from his mother's accounts.

We were successful in getting a neutral guardian and conservator permanently appointed. The eldest son appealed. We did not handle the appeal but the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the district court decision to refuse to appoint the eldest son as guardian and conservator and instead appoint a neutral professional guardian and conservator.

In re Moldenhauer, 2009 WL 173867 (Minn. App. 2009): Marie Moldenhauer had three children, two sons and a daughter. In 2003, Marie Moldenhauer fell and needed to have her hip replaced. During her hospitalization it became apparent that she also had dementia and was put under a conservatorship with the daughter as conservator. A year later, the daughter was removed as conservator and a neutral professional conservator was appointed on the petition of our client.

Two years later, on a petition by the Decedent's daughter, Decedent was restored to capacity and the conservatorship terminated. However, no notice of this action was given to the two sons. Shortly after that, Decedent executed a will which named the daughter as personal representative, and favored the daughter's family. Around the same time, the same attorney also drafted a deed transferring title to the homestead to the daughter and Marie as joint tenants.

Shortly before Marie died, the two sons found about the termination of the conservatorship. After she died, they found out about the will and during discovery in the ensuing litigation they found about the transfer of title to the homestead. We represented one of the sons in a challenge to will and the appointment of the daughter as personal representative.

We were successful in persuading the court that Marie Moldenhauer did not have the necessary capacity to execute a will. The daughter's husband appealed and the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision and invalidated the will.

Gellert v. Eginton, 770 N.W. 2d 190 (Minn. App. 2009): This case is related to the Moldenhauer probate described above. Because the deed transferring title to the homestead to Marie Moldenhauer and her daughter was a legally separate transaction from the will, it was necessary to bring a separate action to invalidate the deed. After trial before the same judge who had heard the probate, the deed was invalidated for lack of capacity and failure to deliver the deed. On appeal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision invalidating the deed. It also upheld the trial court's award of attorney's fees to us and the attorney representing the other brother.