From New York

I’ve been receiving and reading the newsletters on “Estate of Denial” and I’m so glad because now I have a name to call what my Mother and myself went through from 1997 right up until the day Mom died in December 2007.  It is called “Involuntary Redistribution of Assets” or “IRA.”  Before I was in touch with your organization, I didn’t know what to think or how to explain what we were experiencing in our family.

It began to happen right after my Dad died in 1997.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, my sister and her husband were preparing to launch an all out attack on me and my Mom.  When I say attack, I don’t mean physically attack us.  She and her husband were going to make a grab for my Mom’s house and seven bank accounts totaling almost $800,000.  My Mom and Dad chose my sister to be executrix of their estates, so she had a full picture of what she was going to grab and I had no idea.

Both my Mom and myself were depending on my sister to do the right thing.  Unfortunately for us, she didn’t.  She is married to a very controlling man and together they seized control of Mom’s bank accounts.  They got their names on the accounts jointly with my Mom so upon my Mom’s death, the monies would be in sister’s and brother-in-law’s names.  I had no idea they did this until my Mom passed away in 2007.  The way it came to my attention was I contacted my sister in the spring of this year (2008) and inquired as to when to expect the probate of our Mom’s will.  She didn’t answer my letter or return my phone calls which I thought was strange.

The next bit of information I got was a letter from a lawyer in Queens County, New York, informing me that my sister had liquidated my Mom’s estate and she was directing this lawyer to send me a money order for $608.88 and that this was all that was left of my Mom’s money.  And the lawyer said in his letter if I wanted to know more, I should contact him.

Well, by now I was smelling a rat.  Something is really wrong here.  I went to the Queens County Surrogate Court to find out if a will had been entered into probate for my Mom.  There was no will on file for my Mom.  My Dad’s will is in that court on file, but nothing for my Mom.  I went to the city to find out what happened to my Mom’s house.  I found out my Mom had signed a deed over to sister and brother-in-law in 1999 naming them the owner’s of her house.

My Mom had slowly progressing dementia since 1997.  Obviously, she had no idea what she was doing.  My sister, her husband and this lawyer saw a way for all three of them to make money.  May I add that I found out that my sister and brother-in-law sold my Mom’s house in November 2007, a month before my Mom died.

They put my Mom in a nursing home.  She had fallen and broken her hip in June of 2006.  And she was getting better, at least I thought so.  But while I was sick myself from August 2007 until after December 2007 with an active ulcer, I couldn’t get to my Mom and the next thing I knew she was in a nursing home languishing away.  I don’t really know for sure, but I think my Mom knew about the sale of her house and she gave up.  She died a month after the sale of her house.  She may have had dementia, but she knew some things.  And that I’m sure she knew.  She knew she wasn’t going home ever.  The nurses in the home told me that they didn’t expect my Mom to die when she did.  They told me her vital signs were good and she was eating and there was no indication of imminent death.  My Mom died of a broken heart.

So let me say now the estate for my Mom is tapped.  There was no probate because sister had picked Mom clean over the years.  She stole bank accounts totaling almost $500,000 and she sold my Mom’s house for $350,000 and pocketed all of the money.  And on top of this, she had a lawyer, a person who is an officer of the court, sworn to uphold the law, helping her and covering for her.

There is nothing for me to do now because I have no money to drag these people through court.  I can’t have them arrested because Mom did put her signature to the deed signing over her house even though I know they all took advantage of an old woman who we all knew was not in her full senses.

May I also add that this lawyer is someone of my sister’s and brother-in-law’s choosing.  They got him to probate my Dad’s will in 1997, so this lawyer was fully aware of my Dad’s final wishes to have his estate (monies and house) left 50/50 to my sister and I – share and share alike.  Somewhere down the line, my sister got it into her head she was entitled to it all.  ANd I feel she was planning all of this for a long time because she knew exactly what to do when our Dad died.  She had it all planned out beforehand and so did her husband.

Well, I have made this long enough.  At this point, I just want to be able to to tell my story to anyone who will listen and give good advice.  Maybe it is too late for me, but not too late for someone else.  I understand that seniors are putting their properties in their children’s names now and moving bank accounts over to their children’s names so that they can bypass the cost of probate.  But I feel this is not a good idea.

And also I found out from your newsletter that making a will, or trust sometimes doesn’t even make a difference.  With the law the way it is written, any lawyer can do this “involuntary redistribution of assets” quite legally.  This is an outrage!  I am sure this lawyer here involved with my Dad and Mom’s estate is one of those types of lawyers.  I would like to try to get at him and put him out of business for good.  This man shouldn’t be allowed to practice law.

In closing, I hope to continue to receive the newsletters at my e-mail.  And I’m sorry I missed the big rally in Washington D.C. recently, but maybe I can be there next year.  I would appreciate any names of organizations here in the New Jersey or New York area where people are coming together over IRA to fight this injustice and legal or illegal manipulation of the law.

Thank you for your time to read this.


Stories of Denial