From Washington

I live in Washington State.    My parents established a trust in 1997 and named my brother, Paul Reynolds, as the successor trustee.  I was named as HCPOA.    Starting in 2004, my brother took over the checkbook and has not allowed anyone see how he is spent dad and mom’s money.   (There is a requirement that he report on a yearly basis to the trustee — my parents.  However, dad died in 2004 and mom had dementia — so basically he could do whatever he wanted.  (In February 2004 and maybe June 2004, the trust was amended.   I have never gotten a copy of those documents.)

My parents lived on 2 acres east of Renton.   Immediately after assuming control, he started removing things from the property.  (My siblings don’t like me — and never told me a thing as to what he did with them.)    In January 2004, my brother called me and said “we want you to get mom to resign as the trustee”.  I told him no, because I didn’t have any of the trust documents and I wanted to talk to an attorney about it.  He said no, “I didn’t need to talk to an attorney.”   Then about a week later, mom and I was visiting my dad at a care facility he put himself into and my brother showed up.    He had a piece of paper (I still have it) and said “here, have mom sign this”.   I, again, said no.    I then left.    (Later in August 2005 after I filed for the guardianship, he told me in mom’s driveway that the “reason this was all happening was because I refused to get mom to resign as the trustee”.

I was expected to do all of the work — take care of mom, do maintenance on the house and take care of my family.   In July 2005, with the help of a Washington State attorney, I filed for a guardian of the person for mom.    Mom did not want to go into a care facility.

There is a state law — RCW 71.05 that says:

“The guardianship statues were further amended in 1977 and 1996 to expand notice requirements; and to restrict guardians from placing an incapacitated person in a nursing home or treatment facility against the person’s will”.

Furthermore, RCW 71.05.040 states:  “Many individuals have the misconception that a guardianship gives people power to place an IP in whatever type of facility or housing that the guardian desires.  This is not the case.  An IP cannot be detained in a residential care treatment facility that provides nursing or other care against his or her will.”

“The GAL should ensure that the guardian understands this important limitation.  A suitable guardian of the person must be willing to respect the express desires of the IP with respect to housing, medical treatment, and personal decision-making to the extent possible, substituting his or her own judgment only when the express desires of the IP place that person at risk.”

In November 2005, my brother and the guardian wrote up a secret document saying that because mom did not want to go on her own to a care facility, that the next time mom was hospitalized, instead of being discharged to go back home, she would be sent to a care facility (I have a copy of that document.)

In January 2006, the guardianship was awarded — and the court didn’t even know about this secret document.    For 3 months, we were getting care givers into the house — and it was starting to work.    On March 11, 2006, mom passed out and was taken to the hospital to be checked out.   She never went back home.   My brother refused to let her into the house — refused to let her visit her old house and she was stuck in the care facility until she passed away on June 25, 2007.    My siblings immediately cleaned out the house — got rid of all her stuff and gave her a dresser to use that could be used for firewood (I have pictures of it.)

In December 2006, my brother sent me notice that “because I violated the trust, I was not going to be considered a beneficiary”.   The reason he gave was that I filed for a guardianship.

There were somethings that the guardian never told me — my mom fell and injured herself on June 7, 2006.   My siblings were notified about it — I wasn’t.   After mom passed away, the case manager sent out a note on June 25 to my siblings — I never got it.   My siblings had a cranial autopsy done — I have never gotten a copy of the autopsy report.

I am currently suing my brother because I did not violate the trust.   We have asked for copies of all the trust documents, a copy of the financial books (in March 2006 my brother told me I could not see the books because I wasn’t nice.   When I asked him what “nice” meant, he said (in front of witnesses) that “because I hired an attorney, I wasn’t nice”,   My siblings had an attorney.    So I haven’t, to this day, seen how he spent mom’s money.    I also want an accounting of what he did with all the things he took from the house.   (He also had mom’s house sold before she passed away.)

Please let me know if you are interested in talking with anyone.   I have sent the former guardian in this case, along with a note to some of my siblings, telling them you might want to talk to them.

Thank you for any consideration in this matter.

Claudia Donnelly

Renton, WA

Stories of Denial