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Choose Your Executors Wisely: Elderly Man Duped Out of $500,000 by Executor

By September 16, 2013Estate Planning

A New York man by the name of Kenneth C. Heitzenrater recently stole over $500,000 from an elderly man that he convinced to name him as executor of his estate.  This 89-year-old man, Matthew Pollock, created a will listing Heitzenrater as his executor and leaving him his house and half of everything he owned.  Unfortunately for Pollock, Heitzenrater was not satisfied with that amount and soon decided to add his name to all of Pollock’s accounts, draining his assets and leaving nothing for Pollock’s family.

In fact, Pollock has merely $70,000 left to his name and is incurring costs of over $4,000 a month for assisted living.  At this rate, his funds will be completely expired within less then 18 months, with nothing remaining neither for his own needs, nor for his family after his death.

Heitzenrater eventually plead guilty, but not without attempting to claim that Pollock gave him permission to use the money.  The judge responded to this claim stating, “Did he give you permission to take nearly a million dollars and leave him destitute?”  Heitzenrater is required to pay back over $562,800 in restitution and may face up to four years of prison time when he is sentenced in January.  Although his wife, Tara Heitzenrater, was not prosecuted, she was not blameless and will be required to sign over any property she and her husband owned jointly.

The couple own a home and two businesses, which were funded by the stolen money.  These properties will be mortgaged and eventually sold off in order to pay the restitution.  Also, monthly payments of $1,300 will be made by the Heitzenraters until the stolen funds are completely repaid.

Heitzenrater had to agree to revoke any and all claim he had on Pollock’s assets and property and was also ordered to keep his distance from Pollock.  Heitzenrater has been removed as the executor of the estate and was replaced by one of Pollock’s nieces.

Please, please, please be careful who you select for the executor of your estate.  If your documents are not drafted properly and you give power to an untrustworthy individual, you put yourself and your assets at risk.  Pollock was left nearly destitute because he selected an unscrupulous individual to handle his affairs.  Make sure you appoint someone that you trust and know is honest to carry out your wishes for your assets.  Thankfully, an MH Estate Plan gives you the power to dictate exactly what should be done with your assets and helps to prevent individuals like Heitzenrater from spending your assets without being required to follow your wishes.

To learn more about how we can secure your assets and how to select your executor wisely, contact us at 888.222.1328 today!

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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