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Commonwealth of Massachusetts

NO. BD-2005-072

IN RE: PATRICIA L. BOUDREAU

S.J.C. Order of Term Suspension entered by Justice Cowin on August 31, 2005, with an effective date of September 30, 2005.1

SUMMARY2

The respondent engaged in professional misconduct by making false representations to a judge and to court personnel.

In early 2002, the respondent was retained to probate the estate of a family friend for whom the respondent had drafted a will in 1993 and a codicil in 2000. The will left all of the decedentís property to her four children equally. One of the children had predeceased the decedent and that individualís share was divided equally among his four sons. There were thus seven parties in interest. In October 2002, the respondent filed the will and the codicil with the probate court, and a judge appointed two of the decedentís children as temporary co-executors for the estate.

The appointment of the temporary co-executors expired in January 2003. On February 11, 2003, four of the seven interested parties met with the respondent to sign the general assent forms needed to accompany a motion to extend the appointment of the temporary co-executors. Three of the four grandsons were not present to sign the assents, and their mother signed the assents for them with their knowledge and consent and did so at the request of the respondent.

On February 12, 2003, the respondent went to the probate court and filed a motion to extend the appointment of the temporary co-executors. She also filed the general assents of all the interested parties to the extension. The assistant register examined the assents and questioned the respondent about the similarity of some of the signatures on the assents. The respondent falsely represented to the assistant register that she had witnessed all of the signatories execute each of the assents.

The respondent went into the courtroom with the motion and the assents, and a different assistant register working on the motion session in the courtroom also questioned the respondent about the similarity of some of the signatures on the assents. The respondent again falsely represented that she had witnessed all of the signatories execute each of the assents.

The judge presiding over the session at the time reviewed the general assents and also observed that some of the signatures appeared to be similar. The judge questioned the respondent in open court about the similarity of the signatures. The respondent replied falsely that she had witnessed all of the signatories execute each of the assents. The judge appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) to investigate and report on whether or not the questionable signatures were authentic.

In March 2003, the respondent misrepresented to the GAL that all of the interested parties, including the four grandsons, had appeared personally before her on February 11, 2003, and had all signed the assents in her presence.

The GAL arranged an appointment through the respondent to meet on April 19, 2003, with the three grandsons whose signatures were being questioned. On April 16, 2003, the respondent called the GAL and recanted what she had previously told him. She admitted for the first time that the three grandsons had not been present on February 11, 2003, and had not signed the assents; that she had not witnessed their signatures at that time; and that their mother had signed the assents for them with their knowledge and consent.

In mitigation, in May 2003, the respondent and the GAL appeared before the judge, and the respondent admitted to the judge that she had intentionally misrepresented to the court and the two registrars that she had witnessed all of the signatures when, in fact, she had not. In further mitigation, the respondentís misrepresentations were not made with intent to defraud or harm the estate, the beneficiaries, or any other party in interest.

The respondentís conduct in intentionally, falsely, and repeatedly representing to court personnel and to the court that she had witnessed all of the interested parties sign the assents was in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.2(d), 3.3(a)(1), and 8.4(c), (d), and (h).

The matter came before the Board of Bar Overseers on a stipulation of facts and disciplinary violations and a joint recommendation for a one-year suspension. On August 8, 2005, the Board voted to accept the stipulation and to recommend the agreed-upon disposition to the Supreme Judicial Court. The Court so ordered on August 31, 2005.

1 The complete Order of the Court is available by contacting the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County.

2 Compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers based on the record before the Court.



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