Monday, November 4, 2013

Feldkamp probates - next up, Nov. 18

On the evening of June 7, 2011, Jack and Audrey Feldkamp, of McHenry County outside of Marengo, died. A few days later, Audrey's probate was filed on June 15, 2011. I remember thinking at the time, "That was fast!"

A month later, on July 13, 2011, the probate of Jack's estate was filed.

Now, here we are, almost 2½ years later, and both probates are still dragging their way through Judge Chmiel's courtroom.

Real estate is in foreclosure, and the family home hasn't even been sold.

The first executor was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Feldkamp, Scott Feldkamp. He lived in the house for almost a year, and then he took off for Florida.

The Feldkamp's daughter, Jackie, petitioned the probate court to have Scott removed, and he was. She was appointed as the successor executor.

The next week an attorney for Scott showed up in court to have Jackie removed. Normally, for an attorney to represent a party in court, an Appearance must be filed. This attorney hadn't filed one. Twice Judge Chmiel told the attorney that he was very concerned that the attorney was there claiming to represent the (by then, former) executor but hadn't filed an Appearance. And then the "concern" passed into history.

There had been a previous court date, before the case got to Judge Chmiel, when an attorney told the judge that he represented an heir in the probate. The judge said there was no Appearance in the file jacket, and the attorney said that he had filed it that morning and, if he hadn't, he would.

He hadn't, and he didn't. (The transcript reflects his statements.) The judge never did anything about it.

Judge Chmiel removed Jackie and refused to re-appoint Scott. Instead, he appointed a Woodstock attorney as the second successor executor. He stayed on board for a couple of months, and then Judge Chmiel appointed a third successor executor, another Woodstock attorney.

This last executor hasn't been able to track down the original assets of the estates, which might have included substantial cash and securities, along with valuable personal and household property. It vanished into thin area.

He also hasn't sold the house. A possible reason? A person is living in the house. This last attorney/executor has referred to the tenant in court documents as a "squatter". The person could be kicked out of the house. Or the house could be sold, and then the person kicked out.

So for almost 2½ years a valuable asset in Audrey's estate has sat idle. Not producing income. Not being sold to generate cash that could pay debts and even legal fees for estate administration. Presumably, its condition has been maintained, and presumably it has been insured.

Judge Chmiel should be asking some really hard questions on November 18. And he ought to demand answers - clear, complete, unequivocal answers about estate values and what happened to the estate assets after June 7, 2011.

No comments: