Waiting in Vain

DISCLAIMER: Please note that every case is different and these verdicts and settlements, while accurate, do not represent what we may obtain for you in your case.

Waiting in Vain

Dad was single parent with two daughters, Independent and Dependent. Independent was happily married, owned a home surround by a white picket fence, had two young children and a black Labrador Retriever named Perfect. Dependent and her boyfriend Spike (the lead singer in a rock band) lived with Dad. Dad was a party animal. Although he was very proud of Independent, he was far more emotionally connected to Dependent.

After learning he had cancer, Dad immediately created a trust and funded it with his house. He wanted Dependent to use it until she moved out or passed-away. He appointed Independent as the successor trustee of the trust.

Dad’s started taking more and more pain medication. He kept busy by starting, but not finishing numerous repairs around the house. Independent made frequent visits to the house. When she came, she took photographs of the unfinished construction projects. Seven months later, Dad passed-away.

Independent immediately told Dependent to vacate the home. She blamed Dependent for all the unfinished repairs, and claimed that she was destroying the house, and used her photographs and Dependent’s carefree lifestyle to get a default eviction against Dependent. Dependent was removed from the house. Independent allegedly completed the construction repairs, and sold the house. She paid herself and her spouse over $250,000 for their services for finishing the repairs and preparing the house for sale. Eighteen months after leaving the house, Dependent still had not received a dime, and continued accepting her sister’s poor excuses for the delay. Two years after the home sold, Independent stopped returning Dependent’s emails and calls.

Nearly three years after Dad died, Dependent contacted my office. By that time it was too late. Independent depleted all assets on her living expenses and her husband’s legal defense from his involvement in a fraud scam. Independent’s house lacked equity, so Independent was judgement-proof. During a very hard fought settlement conference with a tough judge that supported Dependent’s position, Dependent received a mere 20 percent of her original inheritance. (Case note: Had she acted sooner, she would have received 100 percent of her inheritance.)