Trustee 4 wrg-ful death lawsuit of H- $ split contested by SS's m

robinlessdavidFebruary 29, 2012

My husband died very tragically and suddenly so there was a lawsuit and a small amount of money is available. Some for me as wife also aka trustee, to suggest how to split. All family signed waivers of release so it's just myself and my son and my ss or husb's 1st son. I know I can get $$ back for funeral cost and not sure about other bills (some medical bills for him and me, post death cobra pymts. I'm disabled and relied 100% on my H's financial help and health ins. and cobra is expensive plus a big deductible, other bills we had being married). What's being contested is my suggestion of 50% to myself (initially w/o ask'g for funeral exp's being paid back or other bills) and 50% to the boys; one ours full time the other 9 years older, split equallly. I am disabled and will have to pay for my son for 9 years longer so that is also part of my 50%. It's what the lawyer suggested but the mom of my ss is mad and wants it to be 40 for me and 60 for boys to split equal, so 5% more each boy from what I sugg'd. I will now be asking for funeral exp's and don't know what else the judge will consider for the bills. I'll stick with the 50 to me and 50 split equally. My husband had nothing prior to our marriage, I paid off his CS arrears, taxes and schooling which in turn raised his CS pymts. I did this w/ money from selling a house I had prior. Will the judge support my 50%, esp based on my inability to bring in an income, need to care for a young child for more years and also give me funeral exp's and anything more? Or will judge go in favor of me getting only 10% more then my child and my ss (40% and 60 split to 30/30 each child)? Doesn't a long life together from 33 to likely 80 or longer make it so I would get more then my child and my ss? I'm being fair with the kids but have to think of my future, even though I'm remarried and I know from what the judge will be reading when considering this case, remarriage is not considered against me. I wouldn't be remarried if he had lived, we were HS sweethearts w/ a beautiful love story. The other mom made my husband jump hoops to see his son, called him a bad father and her husband was way more of a father then he was. She has never had any praise or anything good to say to him and he himself said, "I am CS to her and nothing else" now she's acting as if he walked on water and her son is missing something that she herself only walked all over and my ss even said to his step g-ma "my mom hates my dad". How can I bring this up in court or does that make me look bad? I have emails to prove her attitude and how she crushed him as a father and made her son a carrot for my H to chase. Some say the fact she's bringing a widow to court that's as sick as I am for a piddly amount will show the judge something and maybe the judge will recommend 80% to me? Anyone w/ exp. in this??

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You are asking a lot of legal questions and give an excellent example of why people should have a will & make arrangements ahead (before marriage and update as situations change).

It isn't going to matter to the court, how she treated her ex or how she made him feel. The court is going to follow the law in distributing to heirs. She may actually come out looking better if the court views her as a mother looking out for her sons best interest, while she may try to paint the picture of an evil greedy Step Mom that wants to have the lions share for herself and her child. I do not see a court caring about any of the drama. If attorneys are involved, there probably won't be much left when it's said & done anyway. If there aren't attorneys, it may be confusing and because you and his ex are emotionally involved, irrelevant things will probably be brought up... like the things you are asking about here. If you research the laws in your state, there are probably statutory guidelines for how money/property is distributed. When you contest the distribution because of extenuating circumstances, you might bring up medical issues that require additional care/costs, but the minor children will probably be the first to be considered since he is no longer able to make child support payments. (the court most likely won't look at you paying off his CS arrears in a good light because it says to the court that he didn't take care of his obligations to begin with). I would urge you to consult with an attorney if you don't have one.

and lots of people rewrite history when someone dies so it's not a surprise she acts as if he walked on water... he was the father of her son and while deep down, they both know that she wasn't nice to him... they will find a way to make themselves feel better/less guilty by putting him on a pedestal. That happens all the time.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:48AM
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I guess I maybe shared that much because I wanted to paint the entire picture. I wouldn't bring up how she treated him (in court), because I know no one will care. However since this is a wrongful death lawsuit and not anything to do with an estate (he didn't have one), the attorney's of a very large lawfirm told me that I will have to prove my husband's relationship to myself, our son and the other son. This is when it was believed to be a muti million dollar lawsuit and I am very practical and don't believe anything until I see it but sadly the entire family and the stepmom were spending the money before it is even here. I had to have conversations with his family about RV's they thought they would be able to buy and that my H supposedly promised them. I was around since he was 15 and it was a different thing he would say he would buy "if I ever become a millionaire". That was in his youth or when we were up late at night and just daydreaming of winning the lottery and what we'd do for people. I will not paint her in any bad light but I don't know what to do if she paints it in a way as if he was something wonderful yet I have tons of emails proving otherwise. I'm not sure why my lawyer ever said that those emails I will want to bring, but this was again back when it may be millions.

The facts are that in 2006 I became gravely ill and have since had 10 surgeries that were huge. I am now on full disability and am not the big money earner I was from 2000-2006. 2007 changed everything for me and I became a person who has nurse visits and lives on tube feedings and my H who did everything has been replaced by at least 5 pepole. I guess that is something they thought was important, that he was my primary caregiver, set up my feedings, came home every afternoon during lunch to get my meds put into me via a tube, etc. They said that my need to rely on him would be of benefit, when/if it went to how $$ would be split up. That came from the atty but back then I tried not to think of any of this yet it's now here and I'm seeking guidance. I don't know that there's any standard as to how a lawsuit is split and since there's so many various factors.

I want the children to get an equal amount. I don't want to show any favortism to my son, it should be equal and I love my ss still, she just won't let him around. When we got married my H was self employed and was in arrears due to his young ignorance of how to manage $$ and the courts, even down to never asking for a set visitation schedule which came back to bite him later. He didn't have anything then but knowing him as long as I did, I knew he just needed the help to tap into his gifts and get a good career. He did so well they wanted him to be a teacher but that's just how it was with him even since h/s. He was truly gifted with many talents but didn't have much direction. I shouldn't have brought up what I paid off, I was trying to be open to share the whole story b/c I read others on here where there was too much left out.

A will wouldn't help him because he died w/o an estate but mainly b/c this is a lawsuit due to a tragic death. Where I got my direction from was the atty who thought a wife who also relied on her H for caregiving needs, as well as the financial loss from now until retirement and after, 50% sounded fair to him. The kids, well actually his first son got child support and my H was very, very good after he got past that intial hump and was paying $540/mo and now the son gets over $1300 and my son also gets the same amount because of Social Security. I don't get his SS because I get SSD, so the kids split their dads full SS.

I'm really trying to be fair yet I share my worries of what to do or how to act if I am hearing how wonderful he was. Drama, I agree and I don't know if I sit there or what to do, b/c of course there is a long history of bad stuff and it was directed one way. My H- was really good at just ignoring and waiting for that side of her to cool off but the things that she got mad over was like a memorial service we were going to, 2 wks prior to my H's death and she didn't want her son going since he can't handle death. The week of the funeral I was being yelled at b/c I didn't have my ss carrying the casket of his dad and had him down as an honorary pallbearer. 2 wks earlier he can't handle a memorial service and now I'm to even think that he can handle carrying the casket of his dad? I never dreamed that I'd be dealing with that but there was much, much more that went on for almost 2 years post death. I was getting hit all the time, even told I removed Life Support too soon, etc. I dealt w/ alot of painful things said and done during that time.

So not to repeat but I do know this is very long and I try to touch on the points to show how things went. We got a certain amount of $$ that is being contested by my ss's mom. I was told that no judge would think 50% to a wife and 50% to kids, split, is unfair esp. w/ the fact of how many people it's taken to fill in the gap of my deceased H and the care he gave me.

I didn't know what to do, what to ask for, or anything, I just took the advice of the atty who then seemed to change with each person he spoke with afterward. Finally he got the rest of the family to see that this is not enough money for the type of death and loss and w/ that, he found it best to just go to the wife and kids. What is being contested is the first 50% to me and of course the children getting and splitting equally the other 50%. I have a son to care for too, for 9 years longer and that is going to come from my portion of course. The children I want to have theirs put into an acct. where 1st access is 21 (so grants for college don't get affected by access to money at 18). As for me, I bring up my past only b/c it's something I have to deal with. After the death, everyone came up to me saying that what he couldn't provide in life(from the beginning when I paid off a lot of his debts to the end), will now come back in this lawsuit. I never took that seriously b/c why would I count on something not here?

Secretly I was excited only by the fact that if it were big, how that would be fun to split up amongst the family since I'm the trustee but I don't get that chance to do that now. I just never thought I'd be going to court over this. I went with what the atty said and it's being contested. I just hope I'm well enough to go b/c I am in a hospital 1-2 times or sometimes weeks every month or so. Hope this made more sense. I know I give lots of info but I try to make it so the whole story is told.
Hopefully I don't sound like a greedy stepmom, that is the farthest thing from the truth. But I need to look out for us too, b/c I can never provide ins. for us if I needed to. I can never get private ins., I'd be in a high risk pool. Thanks for reading this whole thing.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 6:32PM
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