Pro Bono Attorney Gets Fraudulent Estate Set Aside for Put Something Back Client
Liz Messianu, a Partner at the law firm of Lubell & Rosen, has been accepting pro bono cases since the start of her legal career. She has nearly 10 years of experience in the area of trusts and estates. Recently she achieved an outstanding result for Put Something Back client, “Sandra,” a 52-year old woman needing an attorney to probate her father’s estate. Her father had passed away in 2008, leaving behind a house and a few other assets. Sandra was supposed to share the estate with her siblings.
After conducting a search for the Decedent’s name, Ms. Messianu discovered that the father’s estate had been previously probated and closed by Sandra’s brother. Shockingly, the brother had retained an attorney to probate the summary estate, alleging that he was the sole heir at law of the father. Eventually, the father’s homestead passed to the brother. Ms. Messianu further discovered that the brother had leased out the property and was collecting rent. When Sandra learned this, she was hurt and surprised as she thought she and her brother shared a close bond.
Upon discovering the fraud she filed an emergency petition to set aside the probate estate. After some delay, her client was granted a hearing regarding the emergency petition. The court upheld the petition and set aside the fraudulent estate. Thanks to the efforts of Liz Messianu, Sandra was able to inherent 33% of her father’s estate which Sandra used to provide for herself and her family.
“This is a great example of how an attorney can do a good deed, achieve justice and provide equal access to the courts for someone without resources,” said Elizabeth Hubbart, supervising attorney for Legal Aid’s guardianship department.
Liz Messianu currently has over 10 open pro bono cases referred from Put Something Back. We at Dade Legal Aid appreciate her outstanding pro bono services to the community and her perseverance to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients.