Our posts about Special Needs

$23 Million win upheld for disabled siblings defrauded by contractor & attorney

– Con Man Took Advantage of Disabled Man, Sister to Defraud Them of WWII-Era Santa Monica Family Home – LOS ANGELES (March 15, 2017) – This month California’s Second Appellate District, Division Two, Court of Appeal upheld an award of $21 million in punitive damages and $2.2 million in compensatory damages against building contractor Noam Bouzaglou, his shell corporation, Ness Adam, Inc. and attorney Andrew J. Stern who perpetrated a fraud against Kathleen and Tim McGinty, in order to obtain their modest family home in Santa Monica. Kathleen suffers from autism. Her brother suffered throughout his life from bipolar disorder, depression and substance addiction, and was getting by on his small monthly disability payment. Joseph Girard, principal at LA Elder Law, represented Kathleen McGinty and Jeanne Haworth, the current trustee for the McGinty estate, in the original case decided in favor of the plaintiffs in 2014. “Nationwide we know many elderly are the victims of financial fraud, and we know people with disabilities are victimized by crime at rates higher than the rest of the population, often the target of crime because of their disabilities,” said Girard. “This appellate decision affirmed the 2014 judgment that sent a very strong message with the $23 million award to would-be fraudsters looking to prey upon the disadvantaged and the elderly.” In 2006, Delores McGinty, Kathleen’s mother, set up a special needs trust for Kathleen’s benefit. The main asset of the trust was the 1,477 square foot single family home in Santa Monica, built by their father, a returning WWII veteran, for a few thousand dollars from a Sears Roebuck and Co. pre-cut home kit. Owned free and clear, the home was the residence for Delores and her daughter. Son Tim became the trustee after the death of his mother Delores in 2009 and moved […]

Law Offices of Joseph C. Girard Wins $23 Million Verdict in Elder Abuse Case & Fraud Against Contractor & Attorney Who Enforced Sale of Family Home

Disabled son deeded property built by his parents in 1948 to unscrupulous contractor

The Los Angeles-based Law Offices of Joseph C. Girard and LA Elder Law, specializing in elder financial abuse legal matters, obtained a $23 million jury verdict on behalf of their clients Jeanne Haworth and Kathleen McGinty against a contractor who maliciously entered into an agreement to renovate a family home. He and his attorney manipulated the owner into deeding the property to raise funds for work that was never needed.

The jury found that the contractor, Noam Bouzaglou, acted with recklessness, oppression and malice toward the McGinty family, and awarded the trust $23 million in punitive damages for the contractor’s abusive conduct. The Court also returned the family home back to the trust. The jury also found that the attorney, Andrew Stern, acted in concert with the contractor, was professionally negligent and engaged in fraudulent conduct.

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To Tell or Not to Tell About Inheritance; Sharing Your Estate Plan with Your Heirs

The subject of inheritance is one that most people studiously avoid for a number of different reasons: superstition, fear, lack of knowledge, or a desire for secrecy.

Many adults were raised to believe that money was a private affair, and that talking about it was inappropriate; but beyond that, many people simply fear that if they talk about their estate plan with their heirs they will meet with resistance, disagreement, or in a worst-case scenario—their heirs will try to counter the estate plan with legal action of their own.

While in some families and circumstances these fears are justified, in most circumstances being silent about your estate plan can have disastrous consequences.

A refusal to talk about money or your estate plans with you children means that they will have a difficult time following your wishes in regards to your medical treatment or protection of your assets should disaster strike. Most adult children are actually eager to fulfill their parents’ last wishes, regardless of how it may or may not impact their own inheritance.

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