Sunday, November 29, 2015

estate full of money, husband full of glue

As I've mentioned, my aunt was difficult and mean and very old-fashioned and conservative. We had had a poor relationship for the past 25-30 years; it mostly consisted of her criticizing me. If she couldn't find anything current to complain about, she would criticize something I did 20 years ago, or maybe criticize my brother. The last time I saw her, she was so outright cruel to me that I cried for an entire day afterward. This was about a year before she died; after that, on advice of my husband, my therapist and my psychiatrist, I stopped contacting her. She tried to call me several months ago, and we played a little phone tag, but she wouldn't leave voice mail or accept voice mail, so we never did speak.

However - she left my brother and me a shitload of money. The problem is that her will and a trust were prepared by a lawyer cousin of hers from Florida; he is the executor of the will and trustee of the trust. Ten years after, he was suspended from practicing law for failure to report on trusts and commingling trust monies. My aunt left a very good and organized set of papers: copies of the will and trust, info on the safe deposit box, etc. (Her apartment, however, was pure hoarder.) When I called the cousin, he said something like, "Gee whiz, it was such a long time ago, I don't think I have that will, I don't remember anything about a trust." I sent him (certified, return receipt) copies of all of the relevant paperwork, including copies of the check and bank receipt that opened the trust. He has probably had it in hand for about four days now (I sent copies to my brother at the same time, and he's had them for days). Hasn't called me yet, no surprise.

When I called the cousin, I gave him the benefit of the doubt; surely he wouldn't have messed with his cousin's estate. I was still on the fence after we spoke, but here's why I think he is utterly untrustworthy: one of the things he said to me was, "I don't think you could afford my services as executor." I later found out that an executor is, by law, paid a certain percentage of the estate, depending on the state and the amount of the estate - somewhere around 3-6%. I would not have to go out of pocket at all. So not only was he basically lying, but he did one thing that really pushes my buttons: acting as if I were stupid. That's something that never fails to really, really piss me off. I want a lawyer who will punch this guy out in some legal way.

Since the trustee is only required to report the trust finances at death, I had no idea what was in the trust, or supposed to be in the trust. The trustee is legally required to send me this info within 60 days after it is requested. But in the past few weeks, through various sorts of research and some papers sent by her long-time employer, I've discovered that there's a lot of money in all kinds of places. I've also learned that a copy of a will can be filed for probate, and a trust can also be valid with a copy. So it's time for an estate attorney. Since my brother and I are her only heirs, we will eventually come into a really good sum of money. The problem is that it could take a very, very long time.

Barry noticed a bump on his wrist tonight and got very freaked out. I said it was probably from drumming at a jam yesterday, or related to his carpel tunnel, or a ganglion cyst. Luckily, our doctor is a block away and open until 8:00 PM, and he said it was a ganglion cyst. "It's like gloooo," said he, in his Syrian-Jewish accent. He sprayed on some freeze and extracted it with a needle. "See," he said, pumping a bit out of the syringe onto a bit of gauze, "Gloooo." The doctor was very impressed that I knew what a ganglion cyst was and called me "Doctor Levy." I have to admit to being fairly interested in looking at dermatology videos online; the contents of a ganglion cyst are usually described as being a "gel," but I think I like "glooo" better. My husband is now glooo-free.

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