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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

Executor claims that doctors fleeced aging heiress

The executor of the estate of a wealthy heiress has recently raised claims that may have some Twin Cities residents taking a second look at the relationship between vulnerable loved ones and their doctors. The executor claims that doctors seized upon the elderly heiress' fondness for a particular hospital as an opportunity to exercise coercion and bilk millions of dollars out of her estate.

According to court documents, the heiress first visited the hospital more than 20 years ago when she was 85 years old. Even though the heiress did not need hospital care, she became a regular resident of the hospital and its downtown branch. The heiress spent the rest of her life on the hospital grounds and gave away more than $40 million.

The executor's estate claims focus on a particular doctor who became the heiress' favorite. The executor alleges that the doctor exercised undue influence to convince the heiress to loan him more than $1 million under the expectation that he would eventually be able to convince the heiress to forgive any repayment obligations. From there, according to the court documents, the doctor continued to press the heiress for cash under threat that he would quit serving as her doctor if she did not comply.

In addition to the favorite doctor, the executor's complaint names a number of other hospital caregivers and executives. The lawsuit seeks the return of all the funds contributed to the hospital by the heiress. Having lived to 104 years of age, the heiress left behind an estate with an estimated value of $306 million.

Source: New York Post, "Doctor milked heiress for millions: lawsuit," Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein, Dec. 9, 2012

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