When you step outside of a situation and start to look at it from a different perspective, you start to realize just how fucked up it really is. For the last ten years of my life I was living in a sick, delusional world of my family’s making. I was following along with a program that I didn’t agree with because I had too much respect for my mother. Months before she died, I stopped engaging with my aunts and I stepped back and realized how truly dysfunctional they both were. When they completely dismissed my mother’s depression, months prior to her death it showed me how stubborn, phony and self centered they both were. I had set up boundaries and my Aunt Debbie refused to respect them. Every time I tried to move past things, she crossed the line. I knew now that it wasn’t me and through therapy I learned that you are not obligated to to keep ANYONE in your life if they don’t treat you right. My aunt’s didn’t treat me right and more so, they didn’t treat the sister that they supposedly loved so dearly, right. They both lacked respect for her boundaries, especially Aunt Bea. There had been several conversations with Aunt Bea about her relationship with Satan and how hurt my mom, and Aunt Bea continued to cross those boundaries and disrespect her wishes. I felt really bad that I told my mom in her last hours here on earth that I would try to fix everything, however I think if she could see what was going on right now, she would understand that fixing everything for me, means distancing from this their mentally unhealthy way of living and focusing on my life, my family and healing.
It still hadn’t fully hit me that my mother was gone. With all this other bullshit going on I felt as if I didn’t even have time to process what I had gone through in those last few weeks, what my mom went through and how everything took a turn for the worst so suddenly. I planned on just relaxing that weekend.
It was Black Friday and while most people were out shopping for the latest deals on electronics and toys for the holidays, I was dealing with this bullshit family drama. I knew it was too good to be true that I made it through the morning without hearing shit from any of them but at 1:21pm my husband received a text from my brother that read, “I’ve just met with an attorney, [my name] can either give me the original will that she took, that names my Aunt Bea and Aunt Debbie as executrix or I will be going to court on Monday to file to be named as Administrator.”
First off, me and my husband realized that what we had was just a copy of my mom’s will. I had no clue as to where the original will was. All this time I thought my brother had taken it but apparently he didn’t. I also had no idea what my brother was taking about when he said he was filing to be “administrator”. To be honest, I knew just about NOTHING when it came to wills, how to go about probating one, etc. I hadn’t looked into ANY of that nor did I plan on it for at least a few weeks. I figured we would try to get through the holidays and then worry about this shit. Now I was being forced into doing my research .
My husband didn’t respond to my brother and the next day, while I was trying to catch up on sleep, my husband got a phone call from my brother. While I don’t remember exact words that were said, I do know that the purpose of my brother’s call was to try to manipulate my husband into convincing me to go along with my brother filing for administration. When my husband explained to him that we didn’t have the original will and should at least try to file to copy we had, my brother told him that probating a will would drag out the process and take much longer. My husband was almost persuaded when he got off the phone to just allow my brother to file for administrator.
I didn’t even call my brother back or acknowledge anything he said. I told my husband I wanted to do some research and so that’s what I spent that weekend doing. I found out that there are two ways a person could die, intestate (without a will) or testate (with a will). When a person dies intestate and they do not have a will, the state they live in will then need to appoint a administrator of the estate, collect all debts of the estate and then determine how the assets, (cars, houses, money) will be divided up and whom it will go to. In the event the deceased didn’t have a will, a relative, including any of the heirs can apply for what’s called “letters of administration.”. To apply for letters of administration, (which I will refer to as LOA, from here on out,because typing that whole thing out is a bitch!) the applicant must enter a petition to the surrogates court in the state and county in which the deceased person resided in at the time of their death. The court will then notify all next of kin, that the person applied for LOA and citations will be delivered. Basically when you apply for LOA, you are applying to be executor of someone’s estate.
After reading about LOA I decided it would be in my best interest to contact an attorney and see what my options were. I reached out to one of my mom’s friends who I knew worked in an attorney’s office, Geri. Geri gave me an appointment that Monday and I went in to learn more about the process of LOA. It was an interesting meeting to say the least. My husband sat in on it with me. I explained my situation and what my brother was doing and I found out quite a few things. For starters I had to locate the original copy of my mom’s will. Usually the will is kept by the attorney who drafted it. While it was possible to file the copy I had, it was best if I could try and find the original copy.
Possibly the best part of my meeting with the lawyer was when he further explained LOA to me and what its purpose was and how it worked. When you apply for LOA you must fill out a sworn affidavit. On that sworn affidavit there is a paragraph that states that you performed a diligent search and to the best of your knowledge, you determined that the testator (deceased person) died without a will and that no will ever existed. Well we knew that my brother was well aware of the fact our mother had a will, but what was best of all was that we had solid evidence of that knowledge in the form of the text that he sent to my husband, which again said, “I’ve just met with an attorney, [my name] can either give me the original will that she took that names my Aunt Bea and Aunt Debbie as executrix or I will be going to court on Monday to file to be named as Administrator.” Not only does he acknowledge that he knew there was a will but he named specifics. The lawyer informed me that my brother was committing perjury. The goal from there was for me to try and track down, my mom’s original will. If and when I got it, we were going to file it with the court and that would put a stop to my brother’s LOA.
To this day I cannot figure out why my brother wanted to bypass my mom’s will. The only two reasons I can think of is that “he”, and by “he” I mean Satan, either wanted control, or worse “he” did some real shady shit with my mom’s money and he wanted to cover it up. There was absolutely no other benefit to him being the administrator and bypassing my moms will other than those two things.
I did a google search for the lawyer’s phone number but when I called it just rang with no answer. I tried for a few days to call that number but I never got an answer. I went back to the internet and tried again and I found a different number but that number was no longer in service. I was starting to give up hope that I would be able to find this will but something inside me said to just keep digging. I went pages and pages into google when finally I found a PDF file with the lawyer’s name on it. Apparently he was doing some public speaking event at a local college. At the bottom of the PDF was his contact info and a cellphone number. I had no idea if it was him or possibly his son who had the same name as him but I gave it a shot. No one answered. I left a message and just hoped for the best. The next day a woman called me back telling me that she was the lawyer’s secretary and that she needed a few days to try to locate the will.
I didn’t hear from her for about another week or so. I tried reaching out again but she put me off saying she was still searching for it. In the meantime I went to my mom’s house, to try and see what other information I could collect, so I could start notifying people of her death. When I got there I went in her office to try to find some of her old bills and to my surprise all of her bills were gone. I thought maybe they had just been moved and so I knew another location that she kept old bills. I searched all over her house and realized that my brother and his wife had removed every single box, folder and envelope that had old bills in it. They also took her wifi router and a few other things. I couldn’t believe it.
Finally after two and a half weeks of being put off, I finally got a phone call from the lawyers secretary. She had found my mom’s will. She offered to have it overnighted to me, but she didn’t send it until the next day. Two days later I received an envelope in the mail containing my mom’s and my dad’s wills. When I opened the package I cried. I turned to the photos of my mom and dad that I had sitting on my kitchen counter and showed them the envelopes and said, “look mom and dad, I am doing the right thing.”
I was unsure if my brother had actually gone down to the court and filed for administration or if he was bluffing and just trying to get me to give him the will. I don’t understand why he felt so entitled, like he was supposed to be the person in charge. I found it really funny that there was absolutely no desire for him to help out when my mom was sick. He was perfectly ok, taking a backseat and letting me handle EVERYTHING. The most he did for her was bring her for that second opinion at a different hospital. That was it. Never once did he call up and offer to go food shopping with her, or do her laundry or even just to bring her dinner one night. I did everything. I’m not saying my brother isn’t entitled to half her estate. He absolutely is and there is no debating that, but he gave up his rights to be in charge of everything when he chose to take the side of his wife and completely disregard my mom and her feelings for nearly three years before she died. He gave up his right when he went against her wishes and signed power of attorney over to his wife to handle my mother’s affairs, which by the way, my lawyer informed me was not how things worked. You cannot use power of attorney to speak on someone’s behalf who is speaking on someone else’s behalf. That’s probably the one area in which power of attorney is not applicable.
. Along with the wills, the attorney sent me a letter that stated he was sending me the wills and what day he sent them. I assume that was included for probate purposes. That very same day, December 5th, I received the will I went out and when I came home I got a knock at my door from a strange man. It was a court server handing me a citation that my brother had indeed filed for LOA on December 1st, exactly ten days after my mother died. My lawyer told me that in all his years of practice which was probably 40+, he had never seen ANYONE file for LOA that quickly after someone had died. He told me usually his clients wait at least a month, if not more. Creditors usually give a six month grace period for the bereaved. He told me that it took at least a week or so to fill out the 28 page petition to file for LOA.
There was no way in hell that my brother performed a diligent search for my mom’s will. In the days following her death there simply wasn’t time. She died on Sunday, November 20th. That Monday we had to prepare for the funeral. The following two days, Tuesday and Wednesday were her wake. Thursday was thanksgiving and Friday he was already meeting with a lawyer. Saturday and Sunday, I would assume all lawyer’s offices are closed and by the following Thursday he was in court filing for LOA. I sadly do not believe anything my brother says. In fact, it’s my belief that my brother started this process before my mom even died. I do not believe he met with an attorney on Black Friday. Most non-retail businesses are closed that day. Usually when the courts are not in session, lawyers also take the day off. I’d love to know what lawyer was working the day after thanksgiving. My brother was full of shit. He and his wife had obviously been preparing for this since well before my mother died.
My brother wasn’t the only one planning things, I had made a plan too. My plan was to wait until my lawyers filed the will, the following week before I said anything to anyone that I had tracked down the will. I wanted my brother and Satan to think everything was working in their favor and that I was going along with their bullshit program. Hey, I have to have a little fun too. On December 5th the same day I got the citation and the will, I received a very “informative” email from my brother which read,
Hi [my name],
I just wanted to reach out to you to give you some information on mom’s estate. Below you’ll find the information for the lawyer handling her estate. He has filed all the necessary documentation with the [county in which we reside] Surrogates Court. You’ll be notified by the court regarding the dates of any proceedings. I’m not attending any of the proceedings because the attorney is handling this. If you need to send anything for the estate or you have any questions about the estate, you can contact him.
Once the papers have been issued, which will probably be late January at the earliest, an estate account will be opened and assigned a FEIN in lieu of a Social Security number. Then bills and disbursements will be made from and to this account. The account will be opened at Chase, since that is where she banked and it will make the conversion to the estate account smooth.
So far, the items that have been paid or will be paid are the attorney fees, the filing fees for Surrogate’s Court, HELOC, vehicle note, insurances, oil, PSEG and the Receiver of Tax bill. I’ve paid for some of these already and will continue to pay for them until the estate account has been established.
In the meantime, we need to find time to discuss the contents of her house. Please let me know your thoughts on this. If you’re ok with it, I’d like to get mom’s bed over to [our grandmother]. I’m sure she’d really appreciate it, it it’s alright with you.”
With regards to these emails, they will become part of her estate records, so we need to keep them pertaining to the estate. Let me know if you have any questions for me or you can ask the attorney directly.
(He then gave me his attorney’s information).
What a load of vague bullshit. While I can’t be 100% sure my brother wrote this letter himself, I know he at least wrote part of it, and what pisses me off is that he, A) seriously underestimates me B) thinks I’m a fucking idiot. This is all “fluff” to make it seem like he’s doing his job and communicating. When you apply for LOA, they want to see you are being proactive and that you’re willing to communicate. Nothing in this letter has ANY substance whatsoever. Right from the get go, he’s trying to manipulate me. Why is he telling me that he isn’t attending any of the proceedings? What’s the relevance of that? The only relevance I can think of is that if I do not show up to the first court date, it’s basically saying that I am agreeing to him being appointed administrator (executor) of my mom’s estate. Perhaps he thinks I didn’t read the fine print on my citation. His fucking vernacular just annoys the shit out of me, “In lieu.”, shut the fuck up you pompous asshole. I am your sister, not some professional. He just wants to sound smart as like he has such an amazing understanding of the probate process. He is also full of shit that he’s been paying all the bills. He just wants to make it appear that he’s so smart and has everything under control. Then he starts acting like it was his idea to give my grandmother, my mom’s bed.
I didn’t respond. I wanted to wait until my lawyers filed my mom’s will. And they did about a week later on December 13th. Once it was confirmed that they had filed it with the courts, I wrote my brother a nice letter in response to the piece of shit he wrote to me, and being the sarcastic asshole I can be sometimes, I wanted to make it all professional and robotic sounding for him. I knew my creative writing classes would pay off one day!
Here’s my response:
December 12, 2016
[brother’s name], c/o, [Satans name] POA (power of attorney😂😂)
(Side note Satan didn’t take my brother’s last name when they married. Instead she held on to her ex-husband’s name)
Dearest [brothers formal name] ,
I am hereby writing you this letter in regards to “mom’s” estate. I must inform you that I have received the original copy of “mom’s” Last Will and Testament from her attorney, [attorney’s bame] ESQ., on the 5th day of December, in the year two thousand and sixteen. I have contacted my attorney and handed over “mom’s” Last will and Testament, along with other “documentation”, including, but not limited to, your last email to me and a text message addressed to my husband, where you acknowledged the existence of the will and named executors . ALL of previously stated documentation has been submitted and filed with the Surrogate Court of Suffolk County, in the state of New York. Please inform your attorney that his services will no longer be necessary, as no letters of administration will be distributed to any of the involved parties. I will not be attending any of the “proceedings” unless hereby instructed to do so by my representative.
Once the will is probated and deemed authentic, and executors are appointed, it would then be appropriate to congregate at a neutral location to discuss the contents of “mom’s” estate including the house itself, her vehicle and any other items bequeathed to us, and how they will be divided up and distributed.
[my phone #]
[my email address]
He never responded……
I also reached out to my Aunt Debbie. Since she blocked my number on her phone and on Facebook, I sent her an email and to ensure that she saw it, I had my husband also send her my message in a text. In my message I sent her a photo of the cover letter, the lawyer sent, along with the wills and I wrote,
“Listen I need to talk to you. I found mommy’s will. I had to track down her lawyer and have them search for it. I finally received the original copy of her will last week. Can you please get in touch with me? I do not want to fight or argue. I just want to carry out my mom’s wishes in the way SHE wanted them carried out. I just want to do the right thing. She put you for a reason. Because she trusted you’d be fair and do the right thing.”
I never got a response. Days later I tried again and wrote,
I tried reaching out to you once already via text and emails. I heard about [her boss’s wife] so I don’t know if you’re busy with that or just ignoring me. I just don’t understand what’s going on. Like I said, I’m not looking to fight. I just want an answer. That’s all. I mean it’s just basic human decency. I’m trying to do the right thing here. Don’t know what more I can do. If you don’t answer I will assume you don’t want to do it. If you do want to honor my mom’s wishes then you are going to have to deal with me. If you would like to talk like adults I am willing to meet you somewhere. It’s up to you. I just want to do what’s right by my mom like I always tried to do. I’m broken. I have been to hell and back. I just want to have a conversation. That’s all.”
I didn’t even bother with Aunt Bea. She wouldn’t even answer me. Besides, I had heard from another family member that she had said she didn’t want to be involved in the handling of my mom’s estate. Even if she did, I knew it would be useless to reach out to her.
(To be continued in my next post)