Attorney Kate Fossey Wins Benton County Court Trial in Conservatorship/Power of Attorney Case

Attorney Katherine Fossey recently won a court trial in Benton County District Court stemming from allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, undue influence, and conversion by a conservator and attorney-in-fact pursuant to a power of attorney. The Defendant was the long-time live in significant other of the protected person. When he began to suffer from a form of dementia called Lewy Bodies Dementia ("LBD"), the decedent would have periods of lucidity and periods of incapacity. Rather than be institutionalized for his care, he elected to pay his significant other moderate amounts of money to provide all of his care for him, such as driving, shopping, cleaning, showering, cooking, etc. During a period of capacity, the decedent elected to deed one-half of his house to his significant other. Evidence was presented that she had, in fact, paid for about one-half of the house construction. When he needed to be institutionalized on a short term basis for a medication check, his children initiated a conservatorship action. They learned about the deed and the payments to his significant other. The children sued his significant other to undue the real estate transaction and claw back double damages for the payments made for her. The children claimed that their father, now deceased, lacked capacity and that his significant other had fraudulently coerced the real estate transfer and committed self-dealing by accepting payments for his care. Attorney Fossey presented a trial deposition of an expert geriatric neuropsychologist that explained the difference between more common forms of dementia like Alzheimer's disease and LBD. The court ruled denied the adult children's claims and upheld the validity of the deed and financial transactions.