Amy Blumenthal moved to NYC and started seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Turner, to fulfill her prescriptions. Six months later Turner allegedly dropped Blumenthal as a patient, started dating her, and soon moved into her apartment. Blumenthal eventually re-wrote her will to leave her $7 million estate to Turner. Blumenthal died 3 1/2 years after starting the romantic relationship with Turner. Blumenthal’s brother, a hedge fund manager and owner of a swimwear line, is challenging the will on the grounds that Turner unduly influenced his sister in the preparation of her will.
Several quick points:
1. Although it is unethical for a psychiatrist to date a patient whom the psychiatrist is treating, it is not unethical for the psychiatrist to be named as a beneficiary of the patient’s will although an argument can be made that the psychiatrist unduly influenced the patient.
2. When a woman leaves her estate to her girlfriend of 3 1/2 years while ignoring her brother the hedge fund manager who is presumably well off, it is difficult to prove undue influence.
3. I thought that hedge fund managers only cared about billions, not single digit millions. I also did not think that they had sideline swimwear businesses.