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LETTER: Shedding a light on probate shenanigans in Nevada

I applaud the Review-Journal’s investigative reporting and exposure of situations that deserve the light of day. The most recent stories reveal people with knowledge of a system using it unfairly and secretly to disadvantage and deprive others (“Lost Legacy: Big fees for selling homes of the dead”).

As it turns out, not unlike those little fish who eat dead skin off of people’s feet, there are those who quietly go around cleaning up deceased person’s affairs, apparently all too often without the pesky inconvenience of involving family members.

The stories quote some of the few who chose to defend their side. They argue it’s a vigorously regulated process, all above-board and filled with integrity and good intentions. But not surprisingly, there’s an oversized lucrative side to this benevolent effort.

Although the Fourth Amendment had roots directed at the evil practice of government seizures, the wisdom of that constitutional premise has the effect of addressing civil actions as well — that is, when there is some meaningful interference with an individual’s possessory interests in property. What do you mean you don’t contact the family before taking action? The Erbach case involving the Wood Law Group from all appearances isn’t just despicable but rather contains all the aspects of interference with possessory property rights and is absolutely appalling — and, to my way of thinking, indefensible. They are preying on people who most often lack the knowledge, awareness or discretionary resources to obtain competent counsel.

In cases such as this there is a moment of outrage over the unfairness, let alone the legality. But, sadly, history has shown that all too often it quickly passes from the public’s consciousness and there is no one who has enough of a vested interest to step up and make deeper inquiry of the practice to determine if the game is up.

I’d love to see someone in government prove me wrong, because the reports findings reveal a lot of people are being badly mistreated by some not very nice people.

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