Minnesotans may be interested to learn that the legacy of railroad tycoon and longtime St. Paul resident James "The Empire Builder" Hill was the subject of a recently settled trust dispute. The Empire Builder earned a place in history by founding the Great Northern Railway and constructing rail lines stretching from Duluth to the West Coast.
Twin Cities readers who have been following our discussions of financial exploitation may take interest in a recent story that demonstrates how the discovery of undue influence can lead to probate litigation. A recent decision concluded that a retired police officer exercised undue influence to goad an elderly woman into naming the officer as the sole beneficiary of her will. A Massachusetts probate court handed down the judgment in favor of the woman's rightful heirs, and it should be noted that state of Minnesota has similar laws pertaining to undue influence on its books.
Bill Graham may be familiar to Twin Cities residents as the concert promoter that helped bring bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and the Rolling Stones to prominence in the 1960s and early 1970s. In a case filed in probate court nine years after his death, the promoter's legacy now stands in the shadow of probate litigation over the value of his heirs' inheritance.
Twin Cities residents with loved ones in residential care may want to take notice of a recent criminal case in Dakota County involving the financial exploitation of residents at a nursing home in South St. Paul. Four counts of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult led to a guilty plea by the accused woman, who allegedly stole almost $63,000 between March 2009 and November 2010. She apparently was able to obtain the money by writing checks to herself from the victims' checking accounts.