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AG's Office Stops Financial Exploitation in St. Clair Probate Case

LANSING – The Office of Michigan Attorney General filed objections in a St. Clair County probate case after Lisa Tramski, a nursing home leasing agent who became a guardian, convinced an 85-year-old woman to make her the sole beneficiary of the woman’s estate.

Pauline Runyon, who had no living heirs, was a resident at a nursing home where Tramski befriended her. Within five months, Tramski was able to obtain large monetary gifts from Runyon for herself and her son.  Following an accident where Runyon lost much of her memory, Tramski became Runyon’s guardian.  Less than two months after the accident and only days before her death, Tramski had a friend provide a will to Runyon to make Tramski the sole beneficiary of her estate.

St. Clair County Probate Court Judge John D. Tomlinson agreed with the Attorney General’s Office that Runyon lacked the capacity to sign the will and that Tramski exerted excessive influence on Runyon in her role as the guardian. As a result of this ruling, a new personal representative was appointed and a prior will from 2009 that leaves some of Runyon’s estate to the Leader Dogs for the Blind and a local domestic violence shelter will be used to distribute her remaining assets and fulfill her wishes.

“What this guardian did is exactly the kind of financial exploitation of seniors that everyone worries about,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel.  “Ms. Runyon did not have any living relatives to watch out for her, so my office stepped in to protect her interests from this unscrupulous nursing agent who befriended her for the sole purpose of lining her pockets.”