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Legal Secretary Clearly Recalls Lawyer Drafting $200k Bequest to Himself

This Tale of Woe Also Includes a Very “BAD DOG!” Moment
I Had to Change this Subtitle to “I’ll Get You, and Your Little Dog, Too!” Had. To.

I doubt that Cindy Feld remembers the five years she worked as Florida Keys attorney William “Buck” DeVane’s legal secretary entirely fondly. Recently she’s been asked to recount one particularly memorable assignment (at least to her) to The Florida Bar.

KeysNet reports that The Florida Bar’s grievance committee has “charged DeVane with misconduct, conflict of interest and being dishonest to investigators.”

DeVane allegedly prepared a client’s will, naming himself as one of two personal representatives of the estate – and  including a $200,000 bequest to himself. DeVane apparently has no collection whatsoever of drafting the will, but the Grievance Committee isn’t buying the old – and extremely lame – “can’t recall” defense, especially in light of the fact that he actually received the money:

[Grievance Committee Chairman Jack] Bridges wrote: “No later than two months after the Bar complaint came to light, respondent apparently decided to give the money he had accepted back to the estate, a strange reaction for someone who later denied any recollection of writing the will.”

Feld’s memory seems to be much better than DeVane’s. She recalls not only notarizing the will, but re-typing it from a prior version on her computer. She also remembers DeVane directing her to insert the sizeable bequest to himself, and then later asking her to cover it up, pleading that he’d lose his law license, his home, his family, and his freedom if she did not sign an affidavit saying she had no recollection of the event other than notarizing the document.

Just when you think this story can’t get worse, it does. According to the grievance committee’s report, in addition to accepting the $200,000 bequest from the estate, DeVane’s wife also agreed to care for the decedent’s dog, Nunnelly. Sweet, huh? Not so much, when we learn that DeVane then demanded $63,000 from the estate for Nunelly’s care and feeding.

$63k equals a lot of kibble. I’m pretty sure my care and feeding isn’t that dear.

This Jailbird Dog Costume is only $2.98 at Amazon. I know, my dog wouldn’t wear it either.

Sources:  KeysNet; The Florida Bar News and Events

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