Thursday, December 29, 2005

Filial Devotion - or Forum Shopping to Control Mom's Assets? The Glasser Case

Category: Probate and Estate Administration

A fascinating real life tale of intrigue and twists as a New Jersey resident is whisked away to Texas and her assets, although she is still alive, are being fought over in court by her children - A Family Feud Sheds Light on Differences in Probate Practices From State to State - New York Times:

"Lillian Glasser, by all accounts, never intended to spend her twilight years in Texas. Or her $25 million fortune.

A lifelong New Jerseyan, Mrs. Glasser owned a million-dollar home and a second house in Highland Park, N.J., with her husband Ben, a doctor who died in 2002.

But to the consternation of Mrs. Glasser and the New Jersey authorities, Texas now has a major grip on her life and her money - a consequence of a family feud and anomalies in probate practices from state to state.

After coming to Texas last February to visit her daughter, Mrs. Glasser, now 85 and afflicted with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, fell subject to the Bexar County Probate Court in San Antonio.

Placed under Texas guardianship after her daughter attested that her mother resided there, Mrs. Glasser is largely confined to a gated apartment complex in Alamo Heights, a small city surrounded by San Antonio, under 24-hour care and forbidden to return to New Jersey while a storm of litigation swirls around her. "

Some other interesting facts to add to the pot:

  • Mom's had a limited durable power of attorney that only became effective upon her disability or incompetence. Once the Texas probate court declared her incompetent, daughter was able to access mom's assets, which she did to move into joint name with her and mom (so she will receive them at death) as well as to pay for her children's education.
  • Middlesex County has sued that they have jurisdiction and issued an order at one point when Mrs. Glasser was in New Jersey that she could not leave - daughter "was not notified" of the order and took mom back to Texas
  • Mrs. Glasser says she wants to go back to New Jersey - but as often is the case with seniors, nobody really seems to care to bend to her wishes as quickly as possible


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