Real Estate Development Scams, Contentious Inheritances and Saturday Morning


The other day I was asked how I became and elder law lawyer that handles real estate and probate matters. I responded in the usual manner that my father was a trial lawyer and my mother a nurse at a Massachusetts nursing home and I wanted to combine my quantitative aptitude with my interest in directly helping people. But, then I put a little more thought into what it was in my origins that passively educated me in dealing with real estate development, probate, elder law and other areas of Massachusetts law. It had a lot more to do with Saturday mornings.

There was this firm operated by old farmer Jones who was a fourth generation farmer. He had a hired man, Mike, that helped care for the animals. Mike had only been working there for a few months when farmer Jones’ daughter’s came by for a visit. You see the farm was right near a new interstate and would be a perfect place for a new shopping mall worth millions of dollars. But farmer Jones had no interest in real estate development, he wanted to keep the family farm for his children. Then farmer Jones’ great-great grandfather showed up and started to scare all the animals and the Jones family as a spooky floating ghost. One of the friends that was visiting noticed that after the ghost showed his haunting face that there were footsteps with drops of glow-in-the-dark paint. She went with her dog to follow the tracks and after a few crazy chases around the farm – they caught the "ghost". He was unmasked by the gang of friends – it was Mike the caretaker! Apparently he thought he could force farmer Jones to sell the farm to him cheaply so he could build a shopping mall. Mike’s comment? "I would have gotten away with it too, if not for those pesky kids and that dog!" Roh, Roh.

Yes, Scooby Doo has more probate cases, real estate development schemes and legal problems that any cartoon in modern history. Look closely next time you’re watching the show or even the dreadful Scooby Doo movies. There’s one movie from Hawaii that is about a local kid scaring everyone away with evil spirits so he can scoop up their seaside village for real estate development. Another one where a well intended nephew is really trying to get title to the family’s hotel. There isn’t a Scooby Doo without a storyline that any Massachusetts lawyer wouldn’t love.

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