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Perils of Probate: Probate Court Destroys Lives of...

Perils of Probate: Probate Court Destroys Lives of Mother and Daughter

Gerarda White-Penny (left) and daughter London Penny.

Bonnie Lou White and Gerarda White-Penny had a perfect life.  Mother and daughter lived together, each doing their part to get by.  Things changed rapidly after Bonnie Lou White wrote her will and trust, and a cousin found out she wasn’t a beneficiary.

The cousin petitioned the probate court in 2017, and the probate quickly bypassed any claim the cousin thought she had. But that wasn’t the end of it. Probate court officials immediately took over anyway, took out a $900,000 reverse mortgage and installed new doors, windows and floors, all at White’s expense.

After the upgrades, the court was gracious enough to allowed White to live in her home a few months before the conservator moved White to a nursing home.

White has made it clear to the court that she wants to live at home. White has no mental incapacity, she wants to be at home with Gerarda and her grandbaby.

White has been in the nursing home since January, and in September the daughter received an eviction notice.

“I’ve got less than a month before I lose mom’s home.  Our home is worth over $1 million but they’ve listed it at $780,000.  The court is probably going to sell it to one of their friends,” Gerarda said. “They say they’re going to pay medical expenses, but my mom has long-term care insurance.  Why are they doing this to my family?  We were doing fine. The Court said our house needed upgrades so they put in new windows, doors and floors.  Who really needs these things, us, or the people they intend to sell it to?”

“My cousin filed the petition, which made us come to court and they conserved my mother. My cousin is not in my mom’s will and she is excluded in the trust.  All she got was to see my family destroyed.”

The purpose of the probate court is to conserve families, and do what’s in their best interest.

Unfortunately many court appointed officials don’t abide by the rules written in the Probate Handbook.  In the Handbook is written, “when at all possible keep the Conservatee in the home, that’s the best place for them to be.”

Current probate officials are quick to take over conservatorship because that’s how they make their money.  It’s a business, a profession. Gerarda’s story is a common one.

Gerarda is fighting back.  She has filed a petition to dismiss her mother’s conservatorship and taken the civil case to the Alameda County district attorney’s office.  “When people file a petition, especially one where their name ain’t on nothing, the court needs to consider the person’s motivation bringing the petition, or just abide by what the will and trust says. They bypass your trust like it doesn’t exist.  Courts allow these petitions because that’s the wedge they need to take over people and their estates,” she said.

SHOUT OUT JUSTICE and Cedar California recently joined with national probate fighting network “Probate Warriors.”  “We find that the only time we get the court to stop running over us is when we get media attention,” says, SOJ’s Venus Gist.  “Probate Warriors are families committed to fight what is becoming an epidemic of abuse by probate officials and judges nationwide.”


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  1. Elaine Renoire

    7 October

    This case is happening all over the country. Oftentimes, a son or daughter gives up his/her job, home and life to come home and take care of Mom and/or Dad. As this article points out, it’s all too easy to file for consevatorship on an elderly person based on unproven allegations or sheer innuendo and the conservatorship is granted. When that happens not only does the subject of the conservatorship lose everything he/she has worked, scrimped and saved for , including a home, but the son or daughter also loses everything. Many of our members have been rendered homeless – unable to care for their own needs, let alone pay for an attorney to fight to protect Mom or Dad.

    The newly drafted “Uniform Guardianship Consevatorship and Other Protective Arrangements Act” goes a long way to turn the tables back to conservatorship’s original purpose of guarding incompetent people and conserving their assets. NASGA hopes this Act will pass swiftly in all states.

    Join the national movement for reform of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships. Join NASGA!

  2. Marti Oakley

    8 October

    The current system has been ongoing for more than 2 decades. Families are disinherited, loved ones are isolated and many times forcibly medicated to keep them restrained and in many cases, the family is not even allowed to know where they are located. The estate is forced to pay every possible fee or other charge brought by these predators against the targeted victim. Fee churning by attorneys, padded and incredibly costly bills are all deducted from the estate by the guardians/conservators. Estate plans, wills, trusts are all discarded by ministerial clerks or hearing examiners, who work with and for the same agencies and for-profit guardians and attorneys, and who insist on being called a “judge” when in fact they are not, and will not work to protect the victim. These days, when the estate has been depleted, for some reason these people who were kidnapped, isolated and robbed suddenly need “palliative care” meaning terminal sedation. And every politician out there whether state or federal knows this system is running wide open.

  3. Why the hell are you people NOT demanding more participation by the United States Attorney office investigating these cases of outright theft by the Probate
    Court magots?!
    You can see there are clear rule violations both State & Federal that rises to the level of investigation by Grand Jury. The Court ought be abolished such Chicanery exists.
    True bills of indictment, prosecutions of Court officials
    including Judges. The task of government has been twisted
    to now seek and destroy the population at the expense of the American people. How long do you think that’s gonna
    work out?

  4. Jerome Miller

    8 October

    If you don’t plan your retirement and aging needs who will?

    The Federal Deficit Reduction Act provided for every state to have a Partnership program to provide asset protection for those who buy qualified long term care insurance policies. visit: partnershipforlongtermcare.com

    An alternative are linked products, Life Insurance or Annuities with long term care riders. In most states you can also use your qualified money (IRA/401k) to fund your plan. visit lifeinsuranceltc.com

    Jonathan Pond, Financial Planner, says that 90% of estates are spent this way: 1) nursing home 2) IRS 3) children 4) grandchildren 5) charity

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