Local attorney disbarred over botched family trust

Attorney Robert Fletcher disbarred by State Bar, Superior Court of California after nephew attempts to collect rightful trust shares, finds nothing left

TULARE – The old saying goes family and business don’t mix, and the Fletchers have learned that the hard way.

Local attorney Robert Fletcher was disbarred in November by the State Bar of California for cutting his nephew Russell out of the family trust. Fletcher sold assets tied to Russell’s share and more for just shy of a million dollars, from which Fletcher personally benefited.

Fletcher was disbarred for breach of fiduciary duty to trust beneficiaries while serving as a trustee, misappropriation of trust funds and dishonest and corrupt acts as a trustee while managing the Thelma F. Fletcher Family Revocable Trust of 1989.

Marion and Thelma Fletcher established their family trust in 1989, which provided that when both had died, the trust assets would be divided in thirds to each of their three children, Marion D. Fletcher Jr., Robert Fletcher and Mary Anne Record.

When Marion D. Fletcher Jr. died prior to the deaths of his parents, the trust was amended in 1996 for Marion D. Fletcher Jr.’s share to be given to his son, Russell Fletcher, on his 35th birthday, April 8, 2018.

Fletcher became the sole trustee of the Fletcher trust in 2002 after the deaths of his parents, when the trust assets totaled about $1.1 million: about $56,000 in cash, a $900,000 apartment building in Fresno County, a $137,000 house in Tulare County and $7,500 in possessions.

In 2003, Fletcher sold the Fresno County apartment building, netting about $910,000 on the sale. According to the State Bar, Fletcher’s sister Record remembered receiving about $330,000 after the sale of the apartment building, what she believed to be one-third of the trust.

In 2018, Russell sought his share of the family trust after his 35th birthday, only to find that virtually no funds remained. Russell then petitioned the Tulare County Superior Court, where Fletcher could not account for the missing funds. According to the State Bar, bank, tax and trust records show that large amounts of funds were misappropriated over the years.

The Supreme Court of California ordered Fletcher to pay $303,494 plus 10% interest per year from 2003 on in restitution to his nephew Russell, and $10,778 plus 10% interest per year from 2015 to his nephew and sister.

Start typing and press Enter to search