• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Complicated Death of My Sister

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

boliva99

Member
What is the name of your state? California

My sister passed away in December of 2017 due to a motorcycle vs SUV accident (considering the fatality, its obvious my sister was on the bike), and it was shown that she was not at fault.
If things were not as complicated as they are, it would be easy to say that my father would be the next of kin and would get any and all insurance money from the person that hit my sister. However, things are always complicated and my father has been an alcoholic for over 2 decades and has abused and/or has been absent from all of his kids lives. The one exception to this was my older sister, my father constantly put her on a pedal stool and she hates it.
She always claimed that I deserved to have the father that she did growing up, and she tried to be the person I needed to fulfill the void of not having a father.
Long story short, I went years without seeing my father or him even trying to get in contact with me and my sister hated it (I didn't really mind because it was my normal to not have a dad) but my sister recognized that he abused our older brothers but babied her, and she knew about him always spending his money on liquor rather than food. Due to this, my sister and father drifted apart which was hard for her because she has always been very family oriented (me and my sister have always been close, I'd follow her and her friends around constantly despite the 8 year age gap, and she never made it seem like a burden) and because my sister rode a motorcycle, she knew that she put her life on the line everyday. She always told me that if she died she wanted to be cremated and other morbid things that I would refuse to listen to. One day I woke up to a text at 7am from my brother, and it was a screen shot of the orange county coroners release, and it had my sisters name, date of birth, and date of death. Skipping all of the emotions and refusal of acceptance, I went to my sisters apartment with my two older brothers the day we found out. In her bathroom was a sticky note on her mirror saying "If i die, (my full name) takes ownership of all my assets- my belongings and money and ravioli, my cat, on the terms that she never rides a motorcycle, keeps my cat until she passes, and finishes college, and never smokes another cigarette again. I love you (my nickname)" along with her name, signature, and date.
Now my sister left me $15,000 because she named me as her life insurance beneficiary from her place of work but I was told that the woman that killed my sisters insurance wants to give my father $50,000 despite the note.
I was wondering if there is anything I can do because of this.
 
Last edited:


LdiJ

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? California

My sister passed away in December of 2017 due to a motorcycle vs SUV accident (considering the fatality, its obvious my sister was on the bike), and it was shown that she was not at fault.
If things were not as complicated as they are, it would be easy to say that my father would be the next of kin and would get any and all insurance money from the person that hit my sister. However, things are always complicated and my father has been an alcoholic for over 2 decades and has abused and/or has been absent from all of his kids lives. The one exception to this was my older sister, my father constantly put her on a pedal stool and she hates it.
She always claimed that I deserved to have the father that she did growing up, and she tried to be the person I needed to fulfill the void of not having a father.
Long story short, I went years without seeing my father or him even trying to get in contact with me and my sister hated it (I didn't really mind because it was my normal to not have a dad) but my sister recognized that he abused our older brothers but babied her, and she knew about him always spending his money on liquor rather than food. Due to this, my sister and father drifted apart which was hard for her because she has always been very family oriented (me and my sister have always been close, I'd follow her and her friends around constantly despite the 8 year age gap, and she never made it seem like a burden) and because my sister rode a motorcycle, she knew that she put her life on the line everyday. She always told me that if she died she wanted to be cremated and other morbid things that I would refuse to listen to. One day I woke up to a text at 7am from my brother, and it was a screen shot of the orange county coroners release, and it had my sisters name, date of birth, and date of death. Skipping all of the emotions and refusal of acceptance, I went to my sisters apartment with my two older brothers the day we found out. In her bathroom was a sticky note on her mirror saying "If i say, (my full name) takes ownership of all my assets- my belongings and money and ravioli, my cat, on the terms that she never rides a motorcycle, keeps my cat until she passes, and finishes college, and never smokes another cigarette again. I love you (my nickname)" along with her name, signature, and date.
Now my sister left me $15,000 because she named me as her life insurance beneficiary from her place of work but I was told that the woman that killed my sisters insurance wants to give my father $50,000 despite the note.
I was wondering if there is anything I can do because of this.
Did your father sue the driver and that is where the settlement is coming from? Or is the settlement going to your sister's estate?
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
You found a sticky note in the bathroom essentially bequeathing you all of her goods?? Did anyone inform the coroner or the police of the presence of this note?

If I found that note, I'd be thinking this was a suicide. After all, who randomly writes a will on a sticky note leaving it on a mirror?
 

HRZ

Senior Member
sis's estate can pursue her wrongful death. Her estate distributes her assets per her will if that handwritten note meets the statutory requirements of a will in her state , I didn't check, ..otherwise it's by intestacy . her Insurance is yours per your post.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
sis's estate can pursue her wrongful death. Her estate distributes her assets per her will if that handwritten note meets the statutory requirements of a will in her state , I didn't check, ..otherwise it's by intestacy . her Insurance is yours per your post.
Taking consideration of what Carl said, the presence of the note could defeat a wrongful death suit. Although the initial determination of fault lies with the other driver, knowledge of the intent to commit suicide can cause the facts on hand to be viewed differently and could result in a change in the determination of the cause of the “accident”


As to what the poster can do about the $50,000 payout from the insurance company.

It’s likely to be the max liability on the policy. That would remove them from any further involvement in the matter. Any wrongful death suit judgment would then lie on the shoulders of the defendant. If they have no money, sisters estate will get no money. $50k sounds to be about a state minimum requirement. If true, it’s likely other driver had minimal coverage and that often suggests they probably also don’t have a ton of assets laying around.


Anyway, the payment should be paid to sisters estate. Then through probate, who may recieve the money is determined. There is a possibility there won’t be any money remaining once sister leaves debts and funeral expenses and final medical bills are paid. It sounds like somebody needs to get probate started and have a chat with the insurance company writing the check.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
That handwritten note most likely is a valid holographic will ...don't lose it ...somebody needs to step up to plate and properly administer the estate ...and person named in "will" would be smart to be very very watchful
 

HRZ

Senior Member
PS ...Dad is NOT in line to get all of estate even in a no will situation .

$50,000 happens also to be cap of the simplified administration process under a NO will situation , NOT the road I would want if I were the one named in the holographic will!!!
 

boliva99

Member
That handwritten note most likely is a valid holographic will ...don't lose it ...somebody needs to step up to plate and properly administer the estate ...and person named in "will" would be smart to be very very watchful
What should I watch for? I am only 18 and have never dealt with any of this and I have no one to help me through this.
Thank you for replying.
 

boliva99

Member
Did your father sue the driver and that is where the settlement is coming from? Or is the settlement going to your sister's estate?
Did your father sue the driver and that is where the settlement is coming from? Or is the settlement going to your sister's estate?
Im not completely sure, I am only 18 and this is all new to me.
My mom (different mom than my sister) has been handling the situation but she has a reputation of being sketchy and manipulative so Im not sure if what she's advising is the best. She has been impersonating me because I do not know how anything works in the real world basically. All I have been told was that my sister was not at fault so the woman that killed hers insurance is settling for 50,000. When my mom got in contact with them they constantly ask "me" for my dads contact information.
 

boliva99

Member
You found a sticky note in the bathroom essentially bequeathing you all of her goods?? Did anyone inform the coroner or the police of the presence of this note?

If I found that note, I'd be thinking this was a suicide. After all, who randomly writes a will on a sticky note leaving it on a mirror?
The investigator that was in charge of my sisters case was aware of the note but nothing was ever made of it.
I have contemplated for months if my sister did purposely take her life but her own mother committed suicide when she was only 6 years old and was completely against the idea. Also, her birthday was 2 weeks after her death and we had plans to go to olive garden (her favorite place) and I genuinely can't see her wanting to killing herself.

I also thought I should let you know that my sister posted youtube videos of her riding on her go pro (yes, the go pro was recording during the accident) and she received a lot of criticism from the biking community saying she was reckless and a danger to herself and others. To this I said that they're as*holes but she does need to be more careful because I don't want to plan her funeral anytime soon. When I got to her apartment she had sticky notes everywhere, saying things such as "ride safer" "slow down" and a grocery list that she fulfilled only 2 days prior.
 

boliva99

Member
sis's estate can pursue her wrongful death. Her estate distributes her assets per her will if that handwritten note meets the statutory requirements of a will in her state , I didn't check, ..otherwise it's by intestacy . her Insurance is yours per your post.
What is recommended I do then? Should I seek help from a lawyer? Im completely uneducated on the topic, Im not even completely sure I understand what you mean by her estate.
 

boliva99

Member
Taking consideration of what Carl said, the presence of the note could defeat a wrongful death suit. Although the initial determination of fault lies with the other driver, knowledge of the intent to commit suicide can cause the facts on hand to be viewed differently and could result in a change in the determination of the cause of the “accident”


As to what the poster can do about the $50,000 payout from the insurance company.

It’s likely to be the max liability on the policy. That would remove them from any further involvement in the matter. Any wrongful death suit judgment would then lie on the shoulders of the defendant. If they have no money, sisters estate will get no money. $50k sounds to be about a state minimum requirement. If true, it’s likely other driver had minimal coverage and that often suggests they probably also don’t have a ton of assets laying around.


Anyway, the payment should be paid to sisters estate. Then through probate, who may recieve the money is determined. There is a possibility there won’t be any money remaining once sister leaves debts and funeral expenses and final medical bills are paid. It sounds like somebody needs to get probate started and have a chat with the insurance company writing the check.
As I have mentioned to other responders, I am only 18 years of age and completely ignorant to everything that is going on.
My sister passed away nearly 6 months ago and all funeral/hospital bills have been taken care of (my sister had a few thousand saved up in her apartment so I used it to pay everything of considering my dad couldn't afford it.) My sister was 25 when she died, so I understand that her leaving a note leaves room for questioning the intent behind it. However, my sister was recording during the crash and it shows my sister going straight at a no light intersection. Therefore she had the right-of-way and she was going about 60 mph when the SUV made a left hand turn and crashed into her, to which my sister flew off her bike and sustained an incredible amount of trauma to her spinal cord, arms, legs, and abdominal area.

Again, I am not entirely sure what most of the things you are saying mean which is my fault but I really am seeking any and all help/advise you're willing to give me.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
You need a lawyer to assist you through this. While you will have to pay out of pocket, an attorney should be able to figure out if the note is acceptable as a will or not. Once that is determined that that will determine where things go from that point. That alone shouldn’t be very expensive. Ask whatever attorney you consider hiring what their hourly fees are and if they can give an approximation or time needed to get to this first step. Many attorneys will give a free or low cost initial consultation.

If it is determined the note is acceptable as a will, somebody will have to open probate and submit the note/will for validation.

Along with checking out that, if the lawyer believes the note might be accceptable as a will, he can contact the at fault parties insurance company and request they withhold payment until it can be determined who stands to inherit the money. In reality the insurance company should be paying it to your sisters estate no matter who ends up with it. It isn’t up to that insurance company to determine who your sisters next in line heirs are.
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
When you say that "it was shown that she was not at fault," what do you mean? Was the SUV driver placed at fault by the police in the collision? Do you have a copy of the police report? Was your sister listed as taking some action that was indicated as an "associated factor"?

If this was an uncontrolled intersection (i.e. no lights), and the SUV made a left turn in front of her, did the SUV have a stop sign? Was there a stop sign in ANY of the directions?

I also think that in any lawsuit, the sticky note will could cause some serious issues as it will almost certainly be used to cast some doubt on this as an accident,and instead allow for an argument that it was a reckless act or straight up suicide.
 
Want More Info? You'll find Free info here!
Visit www.FreeAdvice.com for more!

Sponsored Ad

Top