Woman faces loss of control of deceased mother’s estate

It is unfortunate that many families in Lee County, Florida experience turbulent relationships. This can no doubt have an effect on estate planning and how a person wishes his or her assets to be divided once he or she passes on.

This seems to be the case for one 74-year-old woman who apparently died at the hands of her son. Her son is currently set to be tried in court for killing her in 2010 on Thanksgiving Day.

The woman died without a valid will. There was a 2006 will that was deemed invalid in court that named her son as the primary beneficiary and executor, but left out her daughter entirely. The will stated that the daughter was intentionally left out because the two did not have a relationship.

After her mother’s death, the daughter applied and was approved to be named the estate’s fiduciary. This allowed her to control all of her mother’s assets. The daughter was recently arrested for allegedly trying to tamper with evidence in her mother’s death and trying to hold up the prosecution of her brother. A probate judge is now considering removing the daughter from her position as fiduciary because of her arrest. The judge also put a stop to any disbursements from the estate except those made to creditors.

With the obvious turbulent relationships this mother had with her children, she would have likely benefited from speaking to an estate attorney and drawing up a legal will. This could have given her peace of mind in knowing that the people or charities she chose would receive her assets.

Source: Hartford Courant, “East Hartford Probate Judge Seeks To Remove Candace Bednarz From Control of Mother’s Estate,” David Owens, April 30, 2013

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