Undue Influence Can Turn Out to Be Costly


If undue influence over an elderly person can be proven there may be a price to pay.

Sometimes undue influence can turn out to be costly as the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports in "Ex-Derzon Coins operator ordered to pay estate $1.2 million."

David Derzon, who owned Derzon Coins in Milwaukee, passed away from brain cancer in 2007 leaving his wife Rebecca Derzon as the sole owner of the store.

She only survived her husband by eight months before dying from an overdose and that is when the fight over control of the store through her estate began. Those eight months turned out to be just long enough for Rebecca Derzon to become the victim of financial elder abuse.

Rebecca's half-sister, Lori Laatsch, had been estranged from Rebecca for a long time. However, Laatsch got into contact with Rebecca when her husband was ill and caused Rebecca to rewrite her will. Instead of the estate being distributed between several other family members under the old will, the new will left 75% of the estate to Laatsch with the remainder going to one of Laatsch's friends.

In 2012, a court threw out the new will after finding that Laatsch had used undue influence to get Rebecca to change her will. Laatsch was ordered to pay back $725,000 she had taken from the estate.

Recently, a court ordered Laatsch to pay an additional $1.2 million to the estate to reimburse it for the costs incurred in litigation over her fraudulent actions.  

Reference: Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (May 22, 2016) "Ex-Derzon Coins operator ordered to pay estate $1.2 million."

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