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  • 6 year problem not yet resolved. New York

    My grandmother is dealing with a very interesting case and it is still not completely resolved. I wanted to share it and see if anyone has any sort of advise.

    Eduard Gufeld was a grandmaster, an author of over 100 books, and a journalist. After his death, his million-worth estate was supposed to be passed on to his wife ( my grandmother) in form of money, copyrights, and real estate. However, family's archive was robbed and so was the deposit box in banks by, believe it or not, distant relatives of the diseased.The deposit box contained Eduard's will along with family' property. In the archive were stored many works that were important to the family and the chess history. Death certificate of Eduard was forged by the doctor and the distant relatives mentioned above. The certificate now stated that Eduard was divorced and that his distant relative was his sister. My grandmother got that document corrected and wanted to go to court to get the matter settled. Since her husband died in California and she now resides in NY, she hired an attorney in NY who stated he had the licence to practice legal matters in California; however, it appeared that the attorney had no such licence and was planning to hire someone else in California to aid him. After my grandmother found out about it, she wanted the attorney to resign from the case after 3 months of work, and he did. Some time passed and my grandmother accidently found out that there was supposed to be a court hearing in LA. She found out about it 3 days before the hearing while her previos lawyer knew about it when he resigned, and yet he didn't tell her. She had to go to court alone and when she came, it appeared that after 3 months of work, the lawyer that she had didn't send a single file with her name to court, so the judge could not even accept the corrected death certificate from her. She won, however, 50% of the estate, but, in the court, only a sum of 100,000$ was presented while the millions of dollars, the money that was stolen by her opponents from the deposit box and family's archive, and copyrights in regard to Eduard's books were not presented as a part of the to-be inheritance. She won 50,000 dollars, but the check on her name was sent to the resigned attorney who refuses to give her the money unless she signs a release, stating that she is satisfied with his services and will not make an appeal, which she does not want to sign. The family went to numerous organization, but all in vain.

    Basically, the case includes

    -theft in regard to deposit box
    -robbery in regard to family's archive
    -forged documents
    -separation of the estate
    -legal malpractice
    -need for investigation to find the not-shown part of the estate

    In addition, Eduard was transferred to another hospital without a power of attorney and mysteriously died within 24 hours after being in a stable condition in the previous hospital. my father could not even visit the funeral or visit the hospital because the location of the hospital was being concealed and visa denied. In the hospital, however, the doctor created an account saying that his wife was at his bedside when she could not be since she was currently in Georgia. There are many more things that I am not mentioning, but well, thats the basic outline of the unfortunate events.


    Does anyone know what kind of lawyer she would need or where she can find one? And just in general, what are your thoughts on the case? Sorry if this is a wrong place to post this in, but the case includes a bit to much to be placed in other categories.
    Last edited by _Rebecca_; 08-09-2008, 01:43 PM. Reason: Addition Info

  • #2
    The wife of a Chess grandmaster needs help

    Originally posted by _Rebecca_ View Post
    My grandmother is dealing with a very interesting case and it is still not completely resolved. I wanted to share it and see if anyone has any sort of advise.

    Eduard Gufeld was a grandmaster, an author of over 100 books, and a journalist. After his death, his million-worth estate was supposed to be passed on to his wife ( my grandmother) in form of money, copyrights, and real estate. However, family's archive was robbed and so was the deposit box in banks by, believe it or not, distant relatives of the diseased.The death certificate of Eduard was forged by the doctor and the distant relatives mentioned above. The certificate now stated that Eduard was divorced and that his distant relative was his sister. My grandmother got that document corrected and wanted to go to court to get the matter settled. Since her husband died in California and she now resides in NY, she hired an attorney in NY who stated he had the licence to practice legal matters in California; however, it appeared that the attorney had no such licence and was planning to hire someone else in California to aid him. After my grandmother found out about it, she wanted the attorney to resign from the case after 3 months of work, and he did. Some time passed and my grandmother accidently found out that there was supposed to be a court hearing in LA. She found out about it 3 days before the hearing while her previos lawyer knew about it when he resigned, and yet he didn't tell her. She had to go to court alone and when she came, it appeared that after 3 months of work, the lawyer that she had didn't send a single file with her name to court, so the judge could not even accept the corrected death certificate from her. She won, however, 50% of the estate, but, in the court, only a sum of 100,000$ was presented while the millions of dollars, the money that was stolen by her opponents from the deposit box and family's archive, and copyrights in regard to Eduard's books were not presented as a part of the to-be inheritance. She won 50,000 dollars, but the check on her name was sent to the resigned attorney who refuses to give her the money unless she signs a release, stating that she is satisfied with his services and will not make an appeal, which she does not want to sign

    Basically, the case includes

    -theft in regard to deposit box
    -robbery in regard to family's archive
    -forged documents
    -separation of the estate
    -legal malpractice
    -need for investigation to find the not-shown part of the estate


    Does anyone know what kind of lawyer she would need or where she can find one? And just in general, what are your thoughts on the case? Sorry if this is a wrong place to post this in, but the case includes a bit to much to be placed in other categories.
    Your grandfather was a grandmaster in chess. He was well known in the chess community. I believe your grandfather came up with a defense for the Queen pawn opening that was named after him - the Gufeld Defense. However, he was better known for his attacking style with the Sicilian defense.

    I have discussed some of his contributions to the game of chess. Have you talked to the close knitted chess grandmaster network in the United States to obtain a reference to a competent attorney in the California and/or New York area? The USCF and the American grandmasters in the United States must be able to provide a reference to consult regarding these allegations.
    Last edited by DrumMajorChange; 08-08-2008, 03:41 PM.
    I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

    The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

    A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Chess author writes US Secretary of State

      Originally posted by DrumMajorChange View Post
      Your grandfather was a grandmaster in chess. He was well known in the chess community. I believe your grandfather came up with a defense for the Queen pawn opening that was named after him - the Gufeld Defense. However, he was better known for his attacking style with the Sicilian defense.

      I have discussed his contribution to the game of chess. Have you talked to the close knitted chess grandmaster network in the United States to obtain a reference to a competent attorney in the California and/or New York area? The USCF and the American grandmasters in the United States must be able to provide a reference to consult regarding these allegations.

      Backround on the allegations of the original poster can be found on the following hyperlink written by a journalist to the Honorable Alberto Gonzales, US Secretary of State for Justice dated June 1, 2007:

      http://www.e3e5.com/newsitem.php?id=3515

      Based on the article, the original poster have valid concerns.

      I am not attorney. The above information is my opinions and should not be considered legal advice.
      I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

      The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

      A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you!

        Thanks for your help!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Do you play chess? Probably, a silly question. It is in the blood. I have not been reading my Chess Life lately. You are probably in the top ten for females in the United States.
          Last edited by DrumMajorChange; 08-08-2008, 06:16 PM.
          I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

          "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

          The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

          A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

          Comment


          • #6
            I am not related to him by blood, my father is his step son! But i LOVE chess... and I suppose I am pretty good for my age!!!!!!! Unfortunately he died before he could teach me much I am surprised you know about my grandpa!! Most people already don't! *clap clap* hmm... You must be good at chess! You even read the books! Went to any tournaments??

            Comment


            • #7
              I have not play in a rated tournament in awhile. I have been playing the King's Gambit on the Internet lately. I love to give an opponent a pawn and take it back quickly with a mate to finish the job.
              I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

              "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

              The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

              A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Reading the article, the case must still be open in Probate due to alleged fraud? In most states in this country, there is no time limitation on fraud if proven.
                I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

                "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

                The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

                A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Good Luck in King's Gambit!!!

                  Hmm... I enjoy the beginning of each game the most!! Building up the position for the rest of the game and analyzing the opponent! So much fun!

                  Pawn and then mate! ouchie! I would not want to be the victim of such play!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DrumMajorChange View Post
                    Reading the article, the case must still be open in Probate due to alleged fraud? In most states in this country, there is no time limitation on fraud if proven.
                    I did read it!!! I have read it a while ago because my grandmother had suffered enough on her own trying to deal with this!!! Thank you for your advise though! The idea of USCF will be so usefull! And opening the case.... Well, unfortunately most attorneys do not find the case interesting or consider it too hard. Also, the fact that Eduard was transferred to another hospital without a power of attorney and died the next day after being in a stable condition saddens the family... and that my father could not even visit the funeral or visit the hospital.. The fight for the inheritance among family members is horrible! yack.. Maybe your idea will help and stop it!!! Again, loads of thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by _Rebecca_ View Post
                      Good Luck in King's Gambit!!!

                      Hmm... I enjoy the beginning of each game the most!! Building up the position for the rest of the game and analyzing the opponent! So much fun!

                      Pawn and then mate! ouchie! I would not want to be the victim of such play!
                      In chess at the grandmaster level, they call this tension. You must have some good teachers. Hopefully, other posters to this website might respond to your original question this weekend.
                      I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

                      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

                      The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

                      A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        DrumMajorChange has made a good suggestion as to one way to find counsel. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order:

                        There are probably a lot of important facts missing in your narration. Is the probate estate closed? Was the ruling of the court based on an agreed order (sounds like not) or a ruling by the judge? Is the order appealable? Has time run out on an appeal? Is there a separate cause of action against any of the parties based on fraud?

                        California proceeding

                        In terms of handling the probate matters, you definitely need a California attorney, someone who is not only licensed to practice in California but who is familiar with the probate process and the court rules regarding appeals. Depending upon the facts, your grandmother may need an appellate lawyer more than a probate attorney.

                        Helping your grandmother find and hire a probate or appellate attorney in California is going to be a little more challenging since you are not there and your contacts are not there. I have an article on how to find and hire a business lawyer that should have some helpful guidance on the process of locating a lawyer to handle the matter, even though you are looking for a different type of attorney.

                        The process of getting an initial short list of names is obviously different for everyone. Use your contacts. DrumMajorChange suggested starting with the chess grandmaster network. In my case, since I am a lawyer myself, I would call my classmates in the L.A. area for recommendations if I were looking for a lawyer there. Someone else might call their brother-in-law who lives in the area.

                        Another avenue would be to call the trust department of a major bank in the area and ask them out of the blue for the names of some probate attorneys they respect. Four out of five might be hesitant to give you names, but the fifth might.

                        Of course, there are some other ways I mention in my article: searching the internet, calling bar association lawyer referral services, etc... I would always prefer getting a direct referral, but there is no assurance that the name your brother-in-law gives you is any better than the name you would find on the internet.

                        New York proceeding


                        If the attorney in New York is still holding the check and your grandmother doesn't want to sign a release, she should contact a New York lawyer. The process of finding an attorney should be the same as described above, but instead of a probate or appellate attorney, your grandmother needs an attorney who handles attorney malpractice claims. Even though she may not intend to file a lawsuit against her former attorney, a lawyer who brings malpractice claims against attorneys should be knowledgeable about the New York Code of Professional Responsibility. He or she should know whether demanding a release is permitted under the Rules.

                        Good luck.
                        David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
                        Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thank You!

                          Thank you very much for advise!!!! The information on what kind of lawyers I need will definitely be useful!! She address the bar association, however, and it was of no help!

                          Anyway!! I appreciate you spending your time to help!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Did the bar association explain the procedures in filling a complaint against the alleged attorney to your grandmother?
                            I am not an attorney. My personal opinions are not legal advice.

                            "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." --- Franklin Roosevelt

                            The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --- Martin Luther King Jr.

                            A trap was set once upon a time; however, the designer fell in himself!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well yes, but the complaint was under investigation for a year now if not more! And the case cannot be stretched any longer.... so, i am looking for other means to solve the problem! However, the fact that the case is related to both- California and NY- makes it harder!

                              It would be easy if Eduard's will was not stolen from the deposit box! but grrr!

                              but ya! Thanks for help!!

                              Comment

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