Loni contacted me at the office yesterday. She said, my brother stole my inheritance. He stole my inheritance! Can you believe it? I remained silent allowing her to go on. I love my brother, he's everything to me. I love his wife and kids. We just celebrated Christmas at his house. Our kids play together. I can't believe he did that to me, to my family. What's your brother's name? It's Michael. He's my oldest brother. He's suppose to protect me. I trusted him with everything. How could I be so stupid. How could he take advantage of me like that. My mother would turn over in her grave if she knew this was happening. Then came the tears. My mother was struck by....
(Needless to say, it was a long telephone call. Loni was suffering from the classic symptoms associated with grief. She verbalized shock, denial and disbelief. After suddenly losing her mother to a freak accident, she was about to lose her brother and inheritance to greed. Her family dynamics would never be the same. She was trying to come to terms with those unfortunate events in one telephone call.)
To help, we needed to switch roles. I needed to take charge. It was time to provide clear and specific instructions. I had to act fast. I needed estate plans, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, all financial related documents, such as, bank and brokerage statements, asset records, titles, deeds, business agreements, life insurance policies, tax returns and witness statements. It would be helpful to also have Michael's personal and financial information. I needed those things to start my investigation. We had to act fast because stolen assets have a tendency to gradually disappear over time.
After hanging up the telephone, I remember being impressed with Loni. Most people in her situation would have been paralyzed by denial. They would have waited, hoping to wake from the nightmare and resume their normal lives. Not Loni. She didn't sweep anything under the carpet. She was dealing with this matter head on. I have a good feeling about this case.