Sister sues in-law over brother's proceeds

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 15, 2013


A woman claims she has been deprived of significant amounts of money she was supposed to receive upon her brother’s death when his wife took the money instead.

Bertha E. Boyer filed a lawsuit Oct. 1 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Birdie E. Stockman.

In her complaint, Boyer alleges her brother, Henry G. Stockman Jr., owned shares of the Capital World Growth and Income Fund, the Washington Mutual Investors Fund and three separate Van Kampen Funds. Before his death, Henry Stockman had executed a transfer on death registration request for the funds, paving the way for Boyer to receive the money in the funds upon her brother’s death, according to the complaint.

In 2005, Henry Stockman was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and began to rely on Birdie Stockman to provide his care, the suit states. She began to handle his financial and business transactions, the complaint says.

At some point after Henry Stockman began to suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, a lost certificate affidavit for the funds on which Boyer was named as death beneficiary was filed. Birdie Stockman was named as the new death beneficiary. In turn, Boyer claims she did not receive any money from the funds when her brother died. In fact, Boyer actually held the original certificates and still remains in possession of them, according to the complaint.

In her complaint, Boyer alleges breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, undue influence, tortious interference with expectancy of gift and conversion against Birdie Stockman.

She seeks a judgment finding that Birdie Stockman breached her fiduciary duty and that Boyer would have received the money upon her brother’s death had Birdie Stockman not done so. She is also seeking an award in the amount of the assets she originally would have received, plus punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and other relief the court deems just.

William J. Niehoff, Laura E. Schrick and Beth K. Flowers of Mathis, Marifian and Richter in Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-1651.

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