• Report: #218210
Complaint Review:

Dean Stein, Attorney

  • Submitted: Sun, October 29, 2006
  • Updated: Sun, March 06, 2011

  • Reported By:Gardendale Alabama
Dean Stein, Attorney
130 Inverness Plaza #382 Birmingham, Alabama U.S.A.

Dean Stein, Attorney Dean Stein dishonest incompetant attorney would not expose conflict of interest of attorneys involved in father's estate, did not expose illegal actions of all attorneys, would not honor father's Will or Alabama State Law Birmingham Alabama

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: "Special Master" Dean Stein Clarification

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My father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2000. He appointed me as durable power of attorney with total authority over his assets and health care. I was not able, however, to carry out any of his wishes in his power of attorney or Advance Directive concerning his health care with his hospice or doctor due to false allegations made by my extended family members. My father suffered unnecessarily as a result of this and none of his wishes were honored.

After my father's death, I was not "allowed" to carry out any of the wishes in his will by all the attorneys involved or by probate court.

His will states that I "shall not be required to furnish any bond, nor file any inventory of property, or make any report or final settlement to any court of any proceedings hereunder.

His will also states that I "have full power and authority to sell, transfer and convey any property, real or personal, which I may own or have control over at my death, without first obtaining permission from any court, at such time and price and upon such terms and conditions, including credit as I may determine and to do every other act and thing necessary or appropriate for the complete administration of my Estate."

I was "NOT ALLOWED" to carry out ANY of these duties by the attorneys involved and was not allowed to be on the appraisals on the property, determine the price, or sell the property so that I could settle the estate. I had to file an inventory, reports, a final settlement, and many other documents my father's will said I did not have to.

My father's estate was then turned over to a "master" by the judge (Mark Gaines at Jefferson County courthouse)against my father's will and state law. My brother and I, who were the only heirs, were NOT alllowed in the courtroom at this time.

None of the attorneys involved would honor my father's will nor assist me in carrying out his wishes. Several attorneys did not file documents as ordered by the judge but told me that they had.

I was not informed of court dates concerning my father's estate by my attorneys nor was I served any documents so that I could attend court and inform the judge what was going on.

I have not been able to obtain some documents filed on my father's estate from probate court.

There was also illegal distributions concering property belonging to my father's estate by one of the attorneys(Robert Townes of Gardendale, AL.

I have contacted NUMEROUS attorneys, the STATE BAR, the Attorney General, comsumer protection agencies, etc., about these unethical and illegal actions of all these attorneys and probate court but cannot find anyone to assist me in exposing this corruption and recover the money these attorneys stoled from my father's estate against his will and state law.

I am in hopes there is someone out there that has enough honesty and integrity to help me and warn others so that what happened to my father, my brother, and I will not happen to someone else.

I have NUMEROUS documents and recordings to support my case and feel extremely confident I can prove all of the above statements and many more unethical, if not illegal, actions by these attorneys and probate court.


Gardendale, Alabama

Unfortunatley, the courts appear to be like the Birmingham Water Works.... they answer to no one but the media. Contact 33/40's Fighting for you, www.abc3340.com or Fox's 6 On Your Side www.myfoxal.com and let them know your story. Hopefully they can help if enough media attention is given to your story.

David - BIRMINGHAM, Alabama

I think I have a pretty good idea as to what the other side of this story is, but maybe you could answer a couple of questions for me before I jump to any conclusions.

First, what was the nature of the challenge raised by your "extended family members" regarding the validity of the will?

Second, what reason did the numerous lawyers that you spoke to give you for not wanting to take on your case?

Tim - Valparaiso, Indiana

In answer to Indiana......I am not aware of ANY challenge to the validity of the will. The will was drawn by a personal attorney friend of my father's whom I did not know nor had never met until my father called me to meet him at his friend's office to redo his will. It was also signed by several witnesses. My father's previous will was drawn up by my father's previous attorney in 1995 who also represented the other heir. (There were only two heirs.) I was executrix and had power of attorney on the will my father drew up with this previous attorney also.

In answer to your second question......I was told by the other numerous attorneys that they would not handle legal malpractice cases against another attorney and did not know of anyone that would.

I am curious how anyone could "jump to any conclusions" about the other side of the story unless they were involved in this case.

Deborah - Gardendale, Alabama


I may have came off as dismissive of your claims in my first rebuttal. That was not intentional.

From the information you've given, it sounds like there has been some kind of challenge to your capacity to administer the estate, either mentally or ethically. But that's just the conclusion I draw from the information you've given. Without seeing the court file, I really have no idea what happened in your case.

As for a legal malpractice case, you will likely have a problem with standing. You can't sue a lawyer for malpractice if he wasn't YOUR lawyer. The attorney who drafted the will was your father's lawyer, not yours, at least as regards the estate. As the executrix of the estate you would be able to prosecute claims on behalf of your father. But there seems to be a problem with your status as executrix, so you will likely have a hard time.

It can also be difficult to find an attorney in one locale who will take a case against another attorney in the area. Lawyers depend on the relationships they have with one another and, in most cases, this benefits clients. But when you're pressing a malpractice claim, it can be a big stumbling block. I would advise you to seek counsel outside of your local area, but not so far away that it's impractical.

Best of luck!

Tim - Valparaiso, Indiana
Update Submitted by the original author
Submitted: 10/13/2006 10:59:15 AM Modified: 10/13/2006 10:59:15 AM

answer to Indiana

You are correct. There was a challenge to my capacity, however, all the claims by my "family" were proven to be totally false. It was proven that there were no unethical or illegal actions performs by me as executrix but were performed by most attorneys involved. I was not removed as executrix as the "familys" claims and slander had no validity and therefore could not be proven. I have no problem with the attorney who drafted my father's will.

It is all the attorneys I had and the other heir's attorney who performed all the illegal and unethical actions and DID NOT honor my father's will or the laws. This allowed them to take a large portion of my father's estate from both myself and the other heir. And you are right, they all protect each other and there is nothing anyone can do to protect themselves from the attorneys. My father's will and power of attorney meant NOTHING!

Never underestimate what "family" members will do to dishonor your will and power of attorney for MONEY. Even though these "family" members were not heirs in the will! If you want your assets to go to your children, or whoever, give it to them BEFORE you die or all the greedy members of your family will give it to the attorneys and the court, even if they were not mentioned in the will!

NEVER underestimate what family members will do for MONEY! Wanted everyone to know so this will hopefully not happen to anyone else.

Gardendale, Alabama

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/29/2006 11:46 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/dean-stein-attorney/birmingham-alabama-35242/dean-stein-attorney-dean-stein-dishonest-incompetant-attorney-would-not-expose-conflict-218210. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

"Special Master" Dean Stein Clarification

AUTHOR: Dean Stein - (United States of America)

In this matter, I was appointed by the then Probate Judge as "Special Master" (Pursuant to Rule 53, Masters, Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure). The files and proceedings in Probate Court cases are generally open to the public, as is this one. As you can see from the post, this appointment by the Court turned out to be a challenging one. Their dispute had gone on in the Court for some three years, over how to achieve dividing the estate property pursuant to the Will, "50/50". My role under this Court appointment, was limited to gathering facts in the case, looking at the relevant law, and making a report with recommendations to the Probate Judge. I was not this persons, nor her brothers, attorney or lawyer.

The property was appraised by a licensed appraiser selected by mutual agreement of the brother and sister, then divided between them, and they then entered into a "consent settlement", meaning they agreed to the final distribution of all property in this estate. It even was necessary for her to personally signed off on all documents necessary to transfer the property and conclude the agreement and close the estate administration. Both the poster of this information, and her brother, were represented by attorneys of their own choosing at all stages of the matter, including at the final settlement. In the end, rather obviously, neither party was completely satisfied. However, I did my professional best to see that a "fair" and equitable agreement was the result, and in that regard, even if it was not recognized by the parties, I know I did my duty to each of them and the Court in an impartial manner.

This post troubles me for two main reasons. First, by involving my name in matters that I simply had nothing to do with, since they occurred over a period of years, and I was only involved in my limited role for a few weeks. Second, by not recognizing the absolute benefit that I brought to this matter, by diligently working to get this resolved for both parties, as expeditiously as possible, saving them untold additional costs had "their" battle gone on any longer. I genuinely liked both the sister and the brother, and it troubles me that either one of them may not believe that they achieved a good settlement of their dispute. Coming from a family of five myself, It always saddens me when family members, particularly siblings, fight over what amounts to a division of money, in the wake of their parents death, and especially if they harbor hard feelings thereafter.

If you would like to take a lesson you can use away from this sad case, it may be this: people always talk about "simple" Wills, but make sure that any Will you prepare, is as specific as possible, as to "who gets what", because as you can see, even something that seems as straight forward as "my son gets 50% and my daughter gets 50%", can, unbelievably, end up in a contentious, long and expensive estate dispute.
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