Thursday, May 5, 2011

When A Trust Becomes A Nightmare

A Cautionary Tale for Farmers and Others Considering Trusts and having Children, Especially Adult Children.

I’m 64, a retired teacher with a nice pension and I don’t have enough cash to pay my bills through May because my finances were caught up in my son’s divorce because of a trust.

I’m the beneficiary of a trust. There is now a lien on the trust because my son owes his ex $122,288.80 because the courts say he will inherit land when I die. That isn’t even true if the land were to be sold but Judge James D. Humphrey, Circuit Court, Dearborn County, seemed to skip over that part. The court order says my son has to pay her now. The trust says no money can be used from the trust to make such a payment. The bank regards the lien as applying to all of the property instead of just a part of the property. I can’t borrow any more money and I can’t sell any land because the title is not clear. I’m slowly sinking in debt that I could pay if the lien did not exist. I have no control over my financial future because Judge James Humphrey of the Dearborn County Circuit Court ruled, and then the Indiana Appellate Court agreed that the trust to which I am the only current beneficiary and which exists to take care of my needs for the rest of my life, doesn’t really mean that.

I would like to warn people in my age group and situation that the courts in Indiana seem to think this situation is perfectly acceptable. Your adult children can lose your personal financial well being in a divorce. It is absolutely unbelievable. I know your first reaction is to think I’m leaving something out. I am not. You will think this does not make logical sense. You would be correct. It makes no logical sense and yet Judge James D. Humphrey, Dearborn County Circuit Court thinks it does and the Indiana Court of Appeals agrees. So far I haven’t found anyone of any educational level, age or job level that hasn’t blurted out “that can’t happen” or “that’s not right” or “she shouldn’t be entitled to any of your money”. The trust is written so my sons have no ability to do anything with the land. They can’t sell, transfer, or borrow against any of the property. The trust states clearly that the value of the trust doesn’t have to remain in land. It could be sold and invested in something else. It could be lost in a bad investment. Right now it looks like it has the potential to be lost because I can’t keep making payments like I have for the 13 years since my husband’s death. I want to warn people to be extremely cautious before they sign their assets into a trust.

Again, I just want to make people aware of what can happen when you have a trust, adult children who are married and might get divorced and a judge who is willing to go against all reasoning just to punish someone who challenged authority (my son). The story is multifaceted but the bottom line is I’m out of operating cash and time is running out. I’m in danger of losing the farmland that my husband and I accumulated during our 28 years of marriage.

I have filed a Motion with the Ripley County Courts that is transferred to the Jefferson County Courts (Madison, IN), Judge Ted Todd. I asked for the entire divorce decree to be set aside because my due process rights were denied because I was not a party to this action. I did not get to defend my rights nor did I have the power to cross examine witnesses. There is federal case law to support this and the case law is clear that the statute of limitations does not run out in this situation. They countered with a Motion to Dismiss my Motion. They stated that this whole matter could be resolved if my son would pay his ex the money but that is impossible because he has no money. He is in the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center and he has a public defender (see below). The court recognizes that he has no money. They also countered that the lien only applied to the land that is worth $122,288.80. They forgot to tell the Friendship State Bank about that because the bank maintains that the lien is against all of the property. The titles to the 241 acres and 2 houses are all under a cloud. Again, I cannot raise any cash. The Southeastern Indiana Title Company did the title search.

Although I’m pretty sure that this is a one of a kind case I’m attaching a link if anyone is interested in the court documents that I have referenced.

My oldest son is sitting in the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center (Jail). He has been charged with 6 counts: intimidating a judge, intimidating witnesses(2), perjury, leaking grand jury information, and obstruction of justice. Judge Sally Blankenship of the Dearborn County Superior Court II set his bond at $500,000 surety and $100,000 cash. That would mean that he would have to come up with $150,000 just to get bonded out of jail. My son is a political prisoner making a statement for freedom of speech. By the way, after Judge Sally Blankenship set the excessive bail she disqualified herself from the case and asked the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court to appoint a special judge. My son has no criminal record and never threatened anyone with anything except telling the truth about what was going on in Dearborn County. Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard and his Special Crimes Unit (SCU) investigated my son for 17 months before they came up with these charges. A strange coincidence: Prosecutor Negangard sent my son a subpoena 5 days after my son heard back from the Indiana Supreme Court concerning a disciplinary complaint my son made against Prosecutor Negangard. It took the Supreme Court over 200 days to decide that there was not enough evidence for any action. Everything stems from my son’s internet writings. These folks seem to have a blatant disregard for freedom of speech. If you don’t have freedom of speech you don’t have any other freedoms either.

I’m attaching links to the documents and a gmail address if you have any questions or if I can help anyone. I have three reasons for posting this information: to help anyone avoid this bottomless hole I’ve fallen into because of the trust, the vindictive nature of the courts in this part of Indiana, and to let people know about my son’s situation in Dearborn County, Indiana.

Thanks for your time.

Sue Brewington

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