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Posted by Diana, a Estate Planning client,
Three years ago both my parents died of cancer within months of each other. Sadly English was my mother's second language and Todd Stephens took advantage of her drawing a will appointing himself and his partner David Schrauth as both Executor and Trustee of the Estate even though I was in my thirties. I was the only child and Todd Stephens advised my mother that since I was the only child to appoint himself as Trustee even though I was of sound mind and of legal age to take care of those duties by myself. He also conveniently kept my mother's property under her Estate name and did not fulfill the obligations of the will. In fact I consulted with three attorneys in Illinois and there was no start or finish date to the will and trust. In conclusion it has now been three years and Todd Stephens has not cooperated or fulfilled his one duty which was to simply legally turn the property over to me under my legal name. I will now have to invest money to sue Todd Stephens for misconduct. After my mother died I had to personally visit all the banking institutions where my mother had funds and do all the work on my own, pay taxes on the property and place renters on the property but until the property is under my legal name I am unable to sell it. Clearly Todd Stephens should not be trusted and the will was so poorly constructed that I will have to reopen this in a Court of law and pay needless fees. Todd Stephens is a slick con man, very snide and very cunning. He requested I pay him $2,500 three years ago to legally place my mother's property under my legal name because he claims she "owed him money and that is what he is owed". He also falsely claimed that the estate had to go through Probate court in Illinois even though my mother died with a will that is legally binding. Please note as Executor of a will you are hired by your client to turn over any property or money from the Estate to the Beneficiary. I am the Beneficiary but because there is no starting age or ending age included in this will I must now go after Todd Stephen myself. He lied about needed $2,500 to place the estate under Probate Court because I am the only child and living relative. There are no current claims against the property and when I went to the Daley Center it appears Todd Stephens filed the paper work and made an appointment to show up in court but then never appeared in court to finish the job. My mother told me right before she died that it was Todd Stephens advice to her to legally keep her home under her Estate name and under her legal name so that my father's nursing home could not take that property away from me but when I discussed these concerns a few months ago at the Daley Center they told me that is false and that a nursing home is not permitted to take away property if it is part of your inheritance. This man is a liar and he is very difficult to deal with. Last summer I even offered to pay Todd Stephens his high fee of $2,500 but even then he stalled and did not send me any paperwork. At the time one of my friends was willing to pay Todd Stephens office and all they needed to do was send the paperwork to me and my friend and they would not comply. Find someone else to set up your last will and testament. This man is impossible to deal with and very unethical.