Mother's death arrangements result in family litigation
Robert Shaeffer sued his sister, Mary Burghardt, for silent fraud and conversion. In short, he argued that Mary had abused her rights as a signatory on bank accounts by spending money for her own purposes during her mother's life and then attempting to keep the balance when Mom died. He argued that nearly $250,000.00 in the accounts was intended to be shared between the five siblings and ultimately the jury agreed, awarding the four plaintiffs about $230,000.00. On appeal, the higher court concluded there was ample evidence to support the jury's decision over-riding Mary's presumptive ownership of the bank accounts as a "surviving" joint owner.