Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Hearing Panel

Angiola-Patrizia Maria De Stefanis

Vancouver, BC

Called to the bar: August 28, 1992

Disbarred: June 19, 2018

Written materials: March 12, 2019

Panel: Pinder Cheema, QC, chair, Robert Smith; Sandra Weafer

Decision issued: May 1, 2019 (2019 LSBC 14)

Counsel: Alison Kirby for the Law Society; Angiola-Patrizia Maria De Stefanis on her own behalf

AGREED FACTS

Angiola-Patrizia Maria De Stefanis was retained by the executors to administer the estate of EH. The total value of the estate was $757,621.54. De Stefanis withdrew $33,573.62 from trust to pay her legal fees and disbursements, and $80,000 for administration fees. Under the Trustee Act, the fees of an administrator cannot exceed five per cent of the value of the estate or, in this case, about $38,000. De Stefanis overdrew in excess of $42,000 beyond that amount.

In her final account to each of the beneficiaries, De Stefanis falsified the accounts to conceal the fact that she had taken excessive fees.

ADMISSION AND DETERMINATION

De Stefanis admitted that she prepared and delivered false accountings of the estate administration and misled the beneficiaries as to the amounts of funds she received and disbursed on behalf of the estate. She admitted that that constitutes professional misconduct, and consented to an order that she be disbarred.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

The panel found that disbarment is fair and reasonable, and ordered that De Stefanis:

  • be disbarred; and
  • pay costs of $1,000.

2019 LSBC 14 Decision of the Hearing Panel