A woman who had been appointed as the executor of her mother's estate
was sentenced to jail last week because she lied to a
probate judge about the money she was responsible for distributing to her siblings.
The woman's mother had died in 2006 of cancer, after she had allegedly
been misdiagnosed. The family won a wrongful death settlement, which after
legal fees was over half a million dollars.
The woman was appointed as administrator of her mother's now-sizeable
estate, and she was supposed to issue checks to her sister and two brothers,
as well as herself, for about $138,000. However, she only gave them each
about $60,000, as well as giving a similar amount to her father.
After the woman's siblings were unable to determine from her why they
weren't receiving what they were due, a probate judge removed her
as administrator of the estate. A special administrator was appointed
in her place, and the siblings' allegations of financial irregularity
were forwarded to the district attorney's office. The woman and her
husband were discovered to have kept the money, spending some and investing the rest.
As a result of the criminal case, the woman and her husband were each sentenced
to a year and a half in jail. They were also were ordered to pay restitution
to the woman's siblings, which was estimated to be more than $60,000.
Squabbles among family members often occur when an estate is probated,
particularly when large sums of money are involved. The advice of an attorney
who can assist or oversee the estate administration process may help to
avoid unfortunate circumstances such as these.
Source: The Boston Globe, " Brockton woman sentenced after cheating her siblings
out of thousands in settlement in mother's death," Brian R. Ballou,
Jan. 25, 2012