Son alleges law firm mishandled late father's estate

By Molly English-Bowers | Dec 10, 2015

BELLEVILLE–A St. Clair County man is suing a local law firm and a lawyer, alleging they mishandled the estate of his deceased father.

A St. Clair County man is suing Binsbacher & Griffithe and attorney Valroy Binsbacher for legal malpractice for allegedly mishandling the estate of the plaintiff's deceased father.

Donald Knuckles Jr. filed the suit on Nov. 18 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Binsbacher & Griffithe and attorney Binsbacher, all of St. Clair County, alleging liability and professional negligence.

According to the complaint, on Jan. 27, 2000, Knuckels' father executed a trust in which he appointed his son as successor trustee. At the time he executed the trust, Knuckles Sr. was married to Brenda L. Knuckles. On Aug. 17, 2001, that marriage dissolved and on March 20, 2011, the couple remarried. But Knuckles Sr. never amended the trust regarding his wife and the plaintiff's mother, the suit says.

Knuckles Sr. died May 25, 2012, and on June 21, 2012, the plaintiff retained the defendant to represent him in the administration of the trust. Knuckles Jr. alleges his questions weren't answered adequately.

As a result, the lawsuit alleges, the plaintiff has suffered injury and loss by the depletion of trust assets he used to assist his mother, the lost interest of the money, attorney fees and costs associated with this case and the plaintiff's time required to fulfill his duties as trustee.

Brenda Knuckles also filed a legal malpractice suit against Binsbacher and his firm on Aug. 4, making similar allegations. The defendants countersued Brenda Knuckles in her lawsuit alleging that prior to Donald Knuckles Sr.’s death, he reaffirmed his estate plan (15-L-440).

Donald Knuckles Jr. seeks a trial by jury, at least $50,000 and court costs. He is represented by attorney Robert W. Schmieder and Paul W. Johnson of SL Chapman LLC in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-660.

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