Family members suing each other over inheritances and other estate matters is fairly common. A recent case in North Carolina, however, is a bit unusual in that the matter centers on a disbarred attorney.
Tols Detmer’s father, Fritz Detmer, left his son an estate worth several hundred thousand dollars. The inheritance was supposed to be made available to the son when he turned 18.
Now, Tols is 19 and he is suing his own mother, Charlinette Detmer, for hundreds of thousands of dollars he says she improperly received from the estate.
The lawsuit alleges that Charlinette was supposed to receive $60,000 from the estate, but instead the lawyer administering the estate, Peter Capece, gave her $311,000. It is alleged that Capece gave Charlinette this windfall because she knew that Capece was misappropriating money from the estate for his own benefit.
In effect, the money paid to Charlinette was hush money.
Capece did not get away with his scheme, however. He was disbarred for appropriating $1.6 million from the estate of Fritz Detmer. Although the Fritz Detmer estate is suing Capece, you cannot get blood from a turnip. He has recently filed for bankruptcy.
The estate has put a home owned by Charlinette up for sale to pay Tols Detmer the money his mother owes him.
The Charlotte Observer reported this story in an article titled “Son sues his mom over Lake Norman estate proceeds.”
One thing this estate tale illustrates is that it is extremely important to choose a lawyer to administer an estate who is trustworthy.
If Capece had not misappropriated funds from the estate, then the mother never would have been able to request hush money. Of course, that does not absolve the mother in this case for taking the money that should have rightfully belonged to her son.
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Reference: Charlotte Observer (August 20, 2015) “Son sues his mom over Lake Norman estate proceeds.”
Image Credit: Courtroom sketch of the 1904 trial of Edward S. Ellis, a Los Angeles deputy street superintendent charged with accepting bribes to approve public works projects without inspecting them. On December 31, 1904, the judge called a mistrial due to a hung jury. The women visible in the foreground are Ellis's wife and mother. 1 January 1905. (Los Angeles Herald). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons