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In re Crary
North Dakota Supreme Court
2002 N.D. 9, 638 N.W.2d 23 (2002)
Attorney Paul Crary (defendant) and his wife befriended 85-year-old Mary Harris. Crary drafted a new will for Harris, received power of attorney, and helped Harris purchase two annuities from the Independent Order of Foresters (IOF), cash out a $100,000 annuity purchased a year earlier, and use the proceeds of $92,000 to buy a $90,000 IOF annuity. Crary was an IOF agent and receiving commissions on the annuities but did not tell Harris this or advise her to seek independent advice. At Harris’s request, Crary drafted a will codicil that left to Crary’s wife one-half of annuities or other funds received from insurance companies. Crary took what Harris maintained was a loan without advising Harris to consult independent legal counsel. The North Dakota Supreme Court Disciplinary Board (plaintiff) filed a disciplinary petition against Crary. The hearing panel recommended disbarment after concluding that the loan violated North Dakota Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.8(a), the annuity purchases violated RPC 1.8(b), and the codicil was prohibited by RPC 1.8(c).
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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