Sister allegedly converted mother's assets, suit claims

Andrea Dearden Jan. 19, 2011, 7:18am

Two Madison County siblings are suing their sister, claiming she fraudulently took control over their deceased mother's bank accounts.

Dolores Kaylor, on behalf of the estate of Edna L. Johnson, and Vernon Johnson filed the lawsuit against Patricia A. Kelly Dec. 29 in Madison County Circuit Court.

According to the petition, Edna awarded both Kaylor and Kelly power of attorney over her health care and property in November 1999. A month later, in her last will and testament, Edna named Kelly as her executor and Kaylor as successor executor.

When Edna died in February 2009, she allegedly had accounts at US Bank totaling more than $130,000. However, at some point between August 2004 and November 2007, Kelly allegedly used her power of attorney to name herself as beneficiary of those accounts.

Kaylor claims that when her mother was admitted to a nursing home in May 2008 Kelly took complete control of Edna's finances. Kaylor alleges Kelly then withdrew money several times from her mother's account and used it for personal gain.

Kaylor accuses Kelly of selling their mother's home in Bethalto and then splitting the contents with their other sister, Carol French. Kelly is also accused of making herself a joint beneficiary of her mother's four CD accounts, valued at $250,000. The account had allegedly been set up to benefit Edna's four children.

After their mother's death, Kaylor says Kelly called a meeting of the siblings and told them Edna had nothing left for them, except a share of the sale of the house.

Kaylor and Johnson are suing their sister for interference with inheritance, breach of fiduciary duty, improper conversion of funds, exploitation of an elderly person and violation of her power of attorney. They ask to be awarded more than $266,000, plus punitive damages and court costs.

Kaylor and Johnson are represented by attorney Andrew K. Carruthers of Alton. They ask for a jury trial.

Madison County Circuit Court case no. 10-L-1288

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