How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Legalease Your Own Question

Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14511
Experience:  15 years exp all aspects of general law
20355756
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Legalease is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I entered into a voluntary property agreement in 2006. It is

Customer Question

I entered into a voluntary property agreement in 2006. It is considered a contract in MD. I knew what happened was wrong but could not prove because my ex's lawyer hid a POA that had been enacted prior to our divorce. I recently found out the POA gave his sister legal authority to make all decisions regarding our marital assests, home etc. prior to the divorce and agreement. I knew he was incompetent but they hid it from the court and I had no funds to pay an attorney. Ok, so the problem was the agreement said I could not obtain or request use and possession of the home for eternity. (we had a minor son and I should have request use and possession) but I was trying to do what was best for my ex husband etc. The problem is they were using the home to pay his attorney fees without either of our permission. I could never prove it until now, I have a copy of the POA. At a recent alimony hearing, the sister testified the POA was obtained in 2008, I now have proof it was obtained prior to our property agreement and divorce. IS this a breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty Fraud, etc? After the divorce, they refused my access to the home and kept it from selling for two years, I had to file for contempt, Judge gave me control of the sale but I still couldn't make the Judge understand the sister was the one who was uncooperative with the sale. His attorney was assigned trustee of the home, and she had his other sister put a contract on the house (for a low price) but that way she was ensuring she would be paid her fees. I knew all of this was wrong but she was the attorney, not me. I filed fraud, but it was denied. Now, with the proof she lied about the POA, and The fact that she lied to the Judge and the attorney was the one questioning her (who was my ex's attorney) they both KNEW about the POA but they never told me. And then lying to the Judge? I know it was Fraud, but I want to ask to reopen the case and ask for damages, but not sure how or what to claim. I now perjury and subornation of perjury are fraud, but I need to ensure this never happens to anyone else. I know could ask for damages, but not sure which things to claim, what type of damages, etc. The fees she got were insane, $46,000 from the home's equity and neither of us knew. (he was disabled) all of these fees were related to her filing motions and defending the sister, (hiding her involvement) and the house issues, (sale) thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
.
At a recent alimony hearing, the sister testified the POA was obtained in 2008, I now have proof it was obtained prior to our property agreement and divorce. IS this a breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty Fraud, etc?
.
No, granting someone a POA does not mean that the grantor gives up their rights to make decisions or affects a contractual agreement that they enter into in any way. When someone gives another person a POA, they are just agreeing to "share" their rights to make decisions about financial issues with the holder of the POA. It does not mean that they can't do so themselves, it just means that if the need arises, the other person can act on their behalf.
.
Maybe I am missing something here... but if husband was still legally competent and hadn't been declared incompetent by a court, then if he signed the property settlement agreement (PSA) or sister signed on his behalf as POA, then there is nothing illegal or improper here. There is no legal obligation to disclose that someone has granted a POA to someone as that is a private contractual agreement between the parties.
.
If you are asking if her saying she got it in 2008 rather than earlier if fraud or some other offense, I suppose it would depend on whether it is relevant when she got the POA or not. If she was asked and said she thought it was in 2008, but it was earlier, and she was just mistaken, then there is no offense and it is simply a mistake. But if it is critical when the POA was granted, and she intentionally lied to the court, that could be perjury, but the local DA would have to file charges and that is pretty unlikely.
.
If I am missing something here, please let me know and we can explore this further...
.

.

.

Thanks.

Barrister

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think the fact that the attorney knew the testimony was false makes this worse than perjuy. I'm not gong after the sister, but have to prove the perjury in order to prove subornation of perjury. I can easily prove based on the conflicting statements of the attorney and the sister.

The POA was actually obtained prior to when we entered into the property settlement. I have maintained to the court that neither of us knew she was using the homes equity to pay her fees. She told the grievance commission the POA was obtained prior to divorce according to her response and the date she mentions. I recently obtained a copy REAL POA. It was enacted on the date he signed it, I knew he was incompetent, they used him and our home without my knowledge to pay the fees. The agreement stated he was to disclose any funds owed on the mortgage, the house ended up being a major problem before and after; because the attorney knew the sister was the one making the decisions in his place, which (during the real estate crash) she refused showings, etc. prevented it from selling and which only INCREASED the attorney fees. She had control of the house, the equity etc. and I didn't know the sister was acting as agent in fact. The attorney knew, she lied to me and then the court by questing the sister about the POA and saying it was Obtained three years AFTER it was actually obtained, she was lying to the court to protect her self.

I think what you are missing is that the attorney lied to the court by using the sisters testimony who was the agent in fact, and therefore acting for her client. She also had a duty to disclose the POA which gave the sister control of marital property that I had an interest in.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I must be missing the point as to why him giving his sister a POA to assist with making decisions is such a point of contention. It is perfectly legal for one person to give a POA to anyone they want to as long as they haven't been legally declared incompetent by a judge. If she was the one looking out for her brother and helping him make decisions about the marital assets, then I am afraid I don't see anything improper about that. That is one of the primary reasons people give POAs....so they have another person's help with financial matters.
.
Further, the holder of the POA or the grantor's attorney have no legal duty to disclose the existence of the POA to anyone unless they are in court and the judge asks them or they are taking formal actions on behalf of the grantor in legal matters. So the fact that they didn't tell you that sister has a POA for her brother is not legally relevant. If she was acting on his behalf in any financial matters, she would have to sign his name and hers as POA so that would be a dead giveaway that she was acting for him.
.
But drilling down to the bedrock of this issue, I am sorry to say, but if you are trying to pursue this under a theory of fraud, then that time has passed since the statute of limitations is only 3 years in Maryland. You said that you knew something was suspicious in 2006 when you signed the agreement, so that would have started the clock on the statute of limitations. So if you didn't take action prior to 2009, you would be time barred from doing so now. This applies to both civil actions and criminal prosecution.
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


The property agreement said that I agreed to let him stay in the house, IF I had known the truth, I would have never agreed to something that caused further financial damage to myself. It was a material omission because all the terms I agreed to were contingent upon the sale of the home. It wasn't settled for another two years, which caused extreme financial damage to me. His attorney had his sister place a contract on the home so she could try to buy it and so her fees would be paid. The POA said that he gave all rights to the property related to it's sale etc to his sister. Again, had I known the truth, I would have never agreed to a voluntary property agreement that caused financial damage to me. They also lied to the Judge regarding when it was enacted because the attorney new she would be help liable for not disclosing the POA to me. Everything was contingent upon the sale. So basically, you are saying an attorney can lie in court and present false testimony that she knows is false? She presented the testimony to protect herself. Fraud of the Court has no statute of limitation. When she went before the Judge the day the agreement was entered into, she had a duty to disclose the POA and she did not. When an attorney hides or misrepresents a document it is fraud - I did file right after the agreement and stated the sister was impeding the sale, and that I suspected it was intentional. I have not ignored what happened, I just was unaware of the POA, which again, the hid from me (and the court) so therefore and again, I would have NEVER agreed if they had been honest. I was making all the payments on the HEL loan and had to borrow more and more money all due to the house and their actions. The painted it and expected me to pay another brother, they all tried to profit and then the attorney was paid from the equity and I was unaware. In the terms of the agreement, I had to take out a new HEL to pay my attorney, I had no other way to pay her at that point, she as going remove herself because I could;t pay. I had no funds to protect my share of the home, and yet they were hiding the POA and it's terms and the fact that she was using the equity to pay her fees. before and after the agreement. All the while the market declined and then ALL the equity in the home went to pay her fees. He was never declared incompetent, they lied to the Judge. I have the proof. Again, how can an attorney lie to a Judge? and why would she lie? because she knew she had a duty to disclose the POA and her fees being used. I was joint owner of the home and no one told me. Sorry, I guess that it's ok then and an attorney has the right to cause financial damage and profit from it.


 

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I am going to opt out of the question and open it up to other experts who might be able to provide you with a different take on your situation.
.
No need to reply as it will only lock the question to me and prevent others from helping.
.
.
Thanks
Barrister
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello there --

-

A different attorney here. I have reviewed the questions and responses above and I also went back to your previous question from 2010 so I am certain that I am fully understanding the situation.

My colleague is correct when he told you that a POA is a private contractual matter and if your husband had not been declared incompetent by the court, then he had the right to grant that POA to anyone that he chose to grant it to and he did not need permission from you nor did he have to legally disclose it to you. Any fiduciary duties that went along with the POA were fiduciary duties that ran from the sister to the brother in regard to her duties under the POA -- but those fiduciary duties did not run to you. You state that you never would have agreed to let your husband remain in the house if you had known about the POA agreement because why would you agree to something that caused you financial harm ? That is actually a good argument, except for the fact that the real estate market all across the US began to crash late 2006 and continued through 2007, 2008, 2009 - etc. and it caught everyone from the leading worlds bankers to your local real estate brokers by surprise. If the POA was granted around 2006 (and not 2008 as they claim) it is not that far fetched for the judge in your case to blame the inability to sell the house during that time period on the overall housing market and not to do with the POA or the timing of the POA. So, there is a strong wave of evidence against a charge of fraud in the POA here because of the housing market when all of this happened and the fact that millions of people found themselves underwater without equity and there are still many divorces going on today that began in 2006-2010 because of problems selling the marital home. Because there is this very strong presumption in your case that the housing market downturn caused the financial losses you would have to show strong evidence of perjury and collusion of the sisters to leave the house on the market as long as possible with the intent to defraud you of your equity payments.

-

I absolutely agree with you that this whole situation is wrong -- and believe that the sisters did conspire together and did everything that they possibly could to maximize their own profits at your expense (and even at your brother's expense). I also believe that when she gave the wrong date of 2008 to the court, she intended to mislead the court at the very least - and committed perjury at the very worst. The problem here as my colleague pointed out, is proving that it was more than just a simple mistake on her part. Proving that it was out and out perjury is almost impossible -- you cannot make an argument that says " his sister is the attorney and his other sister is buying the house and the nature of these relationships must lead to the conclusion that she committed perjury and did not make a mistake" To prove perjury under these circumstances you would have to either (A) get a tape recording of her admitting that she lied, or (B) find a prior or subsequent written statement made by her where she admits she lied to the court, or (C) find a witness or two that she bragged to about lying to the court and getting away with it. I do not mean to be a complete bummer here, but I am just trying to show you where the court would be coming from in reviewing whether or not the statement can be found to be perjury.

-

Finally, you have brought another fraud action regarding everything that has happened here and I do not know how you intend to approach it, but I think that if you have enough time before the heaing you should try to get some information from real estate brokers in your area or even an appraiser that discusses the reasons why the house did not sell and why it sold lower than it should have sold -- if you can create some doubt regarding the housing market bust excuse and try to bring it back around to the sisters relationships and show that the real reasons for the lower house sale amount and the little mistakes made by the sisters actually are or were perjured testimony then you may be able to get the judge to at least review everything that has happened here in this case to you.

-

Finally, there is not a lawyer I know who does not take the oath to refrain from assisting in perjury very seriously. None of us wants to see this happen -- but we realize that it does happen upon occasion. In your situation, as I said, I do believe that there was some serious devious collusion going on here and if the housing market had not turned when it did you may have had a better chance of proving the collusion and possible perjury in this case.

-

MARY

-

Please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating below. Pressing the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below will NOT cost you any additional money -- it simply works as the trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !!!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi Mary, Thanks so much for your answer. First, I would like to explain that during the time the house was listed, the market was good at first. The sister and attorney Refused to lower the price and refused numerous showings. I can prove this, and then the house was 1/2 painted (the brother tried to make me pay 4,000 for painting the house, I had to file contempt twice regarding the sale and non cooperation. I prevailed on those actions. Next, the attorney, herself stated in writing that the sister obtained POA in 2005, in her office, prior to our divorce. No one told me, and the agreement said we had disclose any incumberances on the home. (the sister lied in court, (as her witness) and she told the MD grev comm something different because I maintained he was incompetent. I had obtained an evaluation prior to our separation, they had it sent to the sister. They had hired the lawyer and then forced me to leave. HId our savings etc. I can't change that, but the house issue was due to their actions and all the while using the equity to pay her fees. He was never declared incompetent - the sister now claims that the POA was enacted 1/2008, which is conveniently AFTER the house sale/refi. etc. to cover their actions. The attorney was the one in court questioning her, and yet she had told the grievance commission the POA was obtained in 2005. I can prove the lied. The attorney and sister were protecting themselves, Why else would the attorney let the sister lie under oath and yet say something else herself? I can prove they both lied, It is the intent that is bad, It is fraud according the law, she concealed her breach of fiduciary duty to me, and she dissipated the home's equity (Before and after divorce) My former husband signed a statement also saying he didn't know the attorney fees had reach 46,000. All of the documentation contradicts the sisters testimony. According to the law, I don't need to prove which one was true. I really appreciate your reviewing my questions. Last year, they claimed they ran out of money for his care, and took me to court for MORE alimony. She had told the Judge he used an IRA to pay the attorney fees. Another lie, And I do have ALL the court transcripts which prove this also. At a different hearing, she said she was waiting for the house to sell an then he would be able to pay his attorney fees. They were both there, the attorney and sister, the attorney was the one questioning the sister, they use each situation to their advantage and gave different answers. 1) to cover their actions 2) to make me PAY for what they did. thanks I just didn't know how to explain. I am hopeful the Judge sees what they did now. I don't need anything ( I have all the documents, statements the attorney made, transcripts etc, which contradict themselves.) She should have also disclosed the POA it gave the sister full control of our jointly owned assets, (the house) the terms were contingent on the sale of the house, they were also hiding his mental condition, he went to the door to meet a realtor without any clothes on. :( I can have the realtors testify, but right now the documents about them lying about the money for his care etc, and the WHEN the POA was enacted prove they lied about that. Thanks so much! It was a lot of money and I was forced into debt to pay the alimony and for what happened with the house. thanks again.

Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again --

-

Look, I realize that you do not want to pay for opinions that you do not want to hear. I get it. But even given everything that you have told me, you still have big problems with arguing this as fraud and/or perjury. Even if you can show that their fiduciary duty under the POA ran to you also (which is a stretch -- just because it was a joint asset does not make it so -- if you were signing documents yourself with regard to the house and the sister was signing them as his POA then that speaks volumes -- you were representing yourself when it came to issues with the house and she had no duty to care about your portion of the property.). Perhaps if you had been able to prove him not competent back then you might have been able to get the sisters on taking advantage of their brother through their actions (because of the delay in the sale and the inflated legal fees - and they used his POA to sew that up nicely). Now to bring a fraud claim in order to get past the statute of limitations issues you state that they committed perjury -- but again, from what you have added in your additional response, I do not see any deliberate perjury that you can prove. She is going to claim that when she said the POA was enacted in 2008 that she made a mistake and she misspoke. That does not make it perjured testimony -- you point to a paper that the sister attorney signed stating that the POA was obtained in 2005. But that does not mean that the other sister took the stand and lied -- she will claim she made a mistake. And then the attorney sister will say "there are so many documents now in this case that I cannot remember dates" and they will probably get away with it.

-

As an attorney I have dealt with dishonorable jerks like this sister attorney and her family on many occasions and I can tell you that they are very good at covering their tracks and knowing how far they can go before anyone can prove these things against them. I definitely feel badly for you here because I can tell you have gotten the worst end of this case and perhaps if you had been able to get a judge to listen earlier then some of this might have been stopped and you would have at least gotten some of your equity. Now you should be careful because if they claim that you have no proof of perjury and fraud on the court and the judge agrees with them, she could try to make you pay her legal fees for these additional court actions (if she makes an argument to the court that your continued challenges are frivolous then she has the right to ask that you pay for her legal fees to defend against the challenges and the judge, who is probably the same judge who has not paid attention to this case at all from the beginning, may just issue a court order for you to pay her legal fees. ).

-

If you win in these matters and I am wrong, please come back and tell me (I will be the first to congratulate you and I would like to know which argument swayed the judge).

-

If you would like, I can put this back on the board to see if any of the other lawyers has different assessments of the situation -- however, you may not get any more responses because when a customer is hoping for a different opinion or outcome than we can give, the questions are avoided because none of us is paid unless the customer is happy with the answer and wants to press a positive rating. My colleague above jumped off the question for that very reason -- I only stepped in because I genuinely do care what happens to people whether I am paid or not and when I saw your perjury references and your suborning perjury references, overall I just wanted to tell you to be careful because allegations of perjury are hard to prove and judges scrutinize them very closely when it involves a member of the bar (because the judges are members of the bar themselves and would not want such accusations levelled against them when they were in private practice).

-

MARY

Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14511
Experience: 15 years exp all aspects of general law
Legalease and 17 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


I think everyone is misunderstanding. The attorney was my ex husband's attorney, she was hiding the fact that the sister was the one making the decisions, and not my ex husband. The sister AND the attorney both lied to the Judge in a hearing, which I can now prove because I have a copy of the POA. Why would they lie about the POA? Because they knew I was telling the truth and they would have been held accountable. I'm not trying to get out paying for my answers, please tell me how to make sure you are compensated. I maintained they hid his competency in order to hide their actions. IF I had known the POA existed PRIOR to the property agreement, I would have NEVER agreed to any of the terms which were all contingent upon the sale, and If I had KNOWN there was a security agreement regarding the equity being used, I would have never agreed. The sister never signed any documents, they would have him sign the documents. She hid the fact that it was the sister actually making the decisions. IF they had not hidden the phsy eval also, (which I obtained prior the them forcing me to leave our home) I ca'nt do anything about that. But I can prove they both lied. I'm confident of that, it wasnt' a mistake about the POA. I have docuemetns and testimony which prove they intetnionally hid it from the Court and I. My problem is the hearing to dismiss and the appropriate claim to make. It was a torte or void agreement or both? I am not asking for an answer that I agree with, I just think we are not on the same page with what I need and what happened.

Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again -

-

Sorry for the delay -- I was offline for a while. You can certainly present the evidence you have as evidence of them lying regarding the POA. However, as I said you run into the overall risk that the judge will simply believe them when they say it was a mistake. Present it as both a tort of fraud and a void agreement -- because you may be beyond the statute of limitations on both you are going to need to get the judge to believe that the attorney was involved in the perjured testimony because then that extends the statute of limitations for ever on the perjured testimony.

-

MARY

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.