Dispute filed over assets left to local police officer

Concerns have been raised regarding disputes surrounding a late, elderly woman’s decision to leave almost $2 million to a local police officer. The woman’s last will and trust has been called into question, based on beliefs that she was not of sound mind when she initiated last minute changes in her estate.

Opposing legal advisors claim the elderly woman was befriended by a local police sergeant after he answered calls she made regarding an intruder in 2012. She had been diagnosed with dementia in 2010, but allegations suggest the law enforcement official had helped her to draft a new version of her last will, which included changes to her estate plan that benefited him.

Attorneys representing two leading cancer research facilities claimed they had previously been beneficiaries and were slated to receive a half a million dollars upon her death. Now, under the disputed changes, the facilities will receive only $80,000.

A hearing has been scheduled in probate court to discuss the dispute. The police officer has denied any charges of malfeasance on his part, stating he had only assumed the role of a friend with the old woman. He said that any changes to her estate planning were done by her acting alone. Although he claimed that she considered him closer than family, she excluded her own disabled grandson from her will. The grandson later testified that he believed his grandmother was mentally incompetent.

Additional named beneficiaries include local fire and police departments, as well as the school district. Several individuals and entities have come forward contesting the late changes to the will which resulted in their diminished roles as beneficiaries. The situation has been cited as an example of official public corruption.

Our society frequently isolates our elderly. We put them away into nursing homes or assisted living. Some elderly are not thought of until the time of their death when the will comes to light naming beneficiaries in the distribution of assets. At the end of the day, each person is responsible in naming those to benefit upon his or her demise, and ultimately up to the same individual to determine what should be done with his or her own assets and property.

Source: seacoastonline.com, “Legal arguments filed in cop’s inheritance dispute” Elizabeth Dinan, Nov. 16, 2013