St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien scheduled a status conference for Dec. 11 at 9:30 a.m. in a lawsuit against a non-profit legal service and attorney accused of mishandling a deceased man’s will.
Plaintiffs Harry Phelps, Robert Phelps, Dennis Phelps, Alan Phelps, Donald Phelps, also known as Dan Sheils, Michael Sheils and Melissa Sheils initially filed the lawsuit on June 6.
Defendant Stephanie Hiebert worked for defendant Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation Inc. and was allegedly the legal counsel for Clifford and Alene Phelps prior to June 2010. The plaintiffs claim Hiebert allegedly executed a last will and testament for Clifford Phelps on June 22, 2010, at the Columbia Convalescent Center in Columbia.
However, Hiebert allegedly never met with Clifford Phelps prior to completing the will to determine if he was of sound mind and memory to properly execute a will, the lawsuit claims. She is also accused of failing to determine the nature and extent of his property, which was allegedly worth about $1.6 million, the family argues.
The plaintiffs argue that all of Hiebert’s information gathered for Clifford Phelps’ last will and testament came from his wife and her nieces, who allegedly became the primary beneficiaries of his will, disinheriting the plaintiffs.
The family claims the defendants knew Clifford Phelps was physically impaired during the preparation of the will and was aware he could not sign his name. They also contend Hiebert was not present at the execution of his will.
The family filed a petition to contest the will and a petition to contest the validity of the will after Clifford Phelps died in December 2011. Neither have been resolved, the suit states.
The plaintiffs seek a judgment of more than $100,000.
The plaintiffs are represented by Larry O. Brockman of Swansea.
An attorney for the defendants has not yet been identified.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 13-L-287