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transfer of partial ownership of a property to Bequai

YOU BE THE JUDGE EXERCISE

Goldman was a woman in her 80s whose husband died after a long bout with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. For several years prior to her husband's death, Goldman had cared for him at home. During much of her husband's illness and for some years afterward, she was under the care of a psychiatrist who treated her for depression caused by the strain and grief of her husband's illnesses.

Bequai was an attorney and long time friend whom Goldman regarded as almost a member of the family. After Goldman's husband's death, Goldman looked to Bequai as her adviser and attorney in financial affairs. Goldman, her son, and Bequai discussed starting a business that would employ both Goldman and her son. Bequai told them that he needed to be listed as owner of property that Goldman owned in order to represent the Goldman's interests during negotiations over the property. Bequai allegedly told Goldman's son that the transfer would be temporary and solely for the limited purpose of inflating his financial worth on paper while he looked for a business to invest in.

Three months after her husband's death, Goldman transferred joint ownership of the property to Bequai and a partnership interest in another property for $10 consideration for each property. Goldman had no legal counsel or independent advice of any sort. There were no witnesses other than the notary. One of the properties was sold in 1990 and the proceeds attributed to the Goldman/Bequai partnership were distributed between them. At the real estate closing of that property, both Goldman and Bequai were represented by a lawyer procured by Bequai. After the sale of the property, Bequai accompanied Goldman to the bank, where both placed their proceeds in investment accounts that were opened that day. Bequai placed his money in an account he owned jointly with his wife, whereas Goldman placed her share in a joint account with Bequai.

ISSUE: Could the transfer of partial ownership of the property to Bequai be rescinded on the ground of undue influence?

You are the JUDGE assigned to this case. How would you rule?

Note: Your law clerk has attached a case document which will provide insight into the case.

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ISSUE: Could the transfer of partial ownership of the property to Bequai be rescinded on the ground of undue influence?

Yes the transfer of partial ownership of property to Bequai can be rescinding on the ground of undue influence. Undue influence involves one person taking advantage of a position of power over another person. The point is that Bequai was a long ...

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