By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Patricia Wood presented her case before the Tucker County Commission during their last meeting. Wood along with her husband have a claim against the estate of Robert White. The claim listed was for $2050 worth of items Wood claims that White borrowed but never returned before he untimely demise. Wood said, “I am here to right a wrong, get what is due me from the estate, and to put an end to the long running fraud that the executrix has been perpetrating against the county commission, the claimants against the estate, and the citizens.”
According to Wood the executrix assigned to the estate claimed no assets on the accessed form at the county office. But, according to Wood, there were 42 acres, a dwelling, livestock, farm equipment, and a building with tools that were not disclosed. John Wallace was the judiciary assigned by the Tucker County Commission to assess the estate value and return with recommendations.
Attorney Pat Nichols said, “There was a claim. Mr. White died, and his ex-wife filed an appraisement. That appraisement was not objected to. There was a secondary claim filed by Mrs. Wood. The proof of the claim was then assigned to Mr. Wallace. Mr. Wallace heard the claim. He approved part of the claim.
Mrs. Wood believes at some point she has the ability to contest the value of the estate. The time to contest that passed a long time ago. Her proof of claim was not prior to the valuing of the estate. At this point in time when Mr. Wallace issued his recommendation, Mrs. Wood did not appeal that to this body (the commission), nor did she appeal that to the circuit court.
A life estate does not have any value. Upon your death that is it. The real estate was transferred in 2014 to his (White’s) son. That is almost seven or eight years prior to his death. So that life estate has nothing.
The way claims are paid are called priority. The four claims against this estate were the hospital (Davis Memorial), the Tucker County Ambulance, Mrs. Wood, and another small claim. Code provides that priority is for the cost of the estate, and then you go on to pay the priority claims depending on whether they are funeral or what not. Mrs. Wood’s claim would be a general priority claim shared with all the other claimants in this matter.
There are no assets. It was listed at $500, I believe, for the estate. She (Wood) has incurred over $500 in expenses to the estate. The first and final report was filed with the commission. That is what we are here today is to ask the commission to approve the first and final report of Robert White.”
Commissioner Fred Davis said, “You (Wood) came here a couple of years ago, but this is new to us. I am not a lawyer. I am not a judge. Just briefly, what do you (Wood) want from us?”
Wood responded by saying, “What Mr. Wallace said I should have. Which is the cash amount of $2050 and it represents payment to us for items Mr. White had in his possession on his property at the time of his death. That we know he would have returned had he lived.”
Davis asked Wood if she had obtained any of this in writing to which she answered she did not. Davis said, “It would be kind of hard for me to go with hearsay from you or Mr. Nichols.”
Nichols added, “The West Virginia code basically says her claim would be against any asset that were in the estate. The assets of the estate as pertained on the appraisal have been exhausted. There are no other assets left to satisfy that claim. It is that simple.”
Commissioner Lowell Moore motioned to approve the first and final report for the estate of Robert White. Davis seconded the motion. The motion carried.
Wood’s final words were, “I am going to tell you right here and right now that he (Nichols) is incorrect that the only way to challenge that report is by filing an action in Circuit Court. But, I can file an action in Circuit Court if I challenge the decision of the commission. And, I have no doubt a judge over in the Circuit Court will be able to read and comprehend the statue. The statue is not a suggestion. It is not a wouldn’t it be nice if. It is the law.”
Moore said, “You have that right ma’am.”