There is someone or a type or category of person who should not be allowed to be the representative of a decedent who died by ending her or his own life (i.e., by suicide), or to control, or to get the decedent’s remains, property or assets – every state needs a law and a cause of action to prevent this – below is draft wording that I propose:
(1) If someone ends her or his own life, i.e., commits suicide,
(2) At least in part because of someone else, or because of something that someone else did or did not do, or because of a bad relationship, that in some manner contributed to, or was relevant to, or was associated with, or was involved in, or that influenced the decedent ending her or his own life,
(3) And if that person or that person’s action or inaction was in some manner a breach of a duty that that person had or owed to the decedent,
(4) Each state should have a law that allows for a claim or cause of action to be made that the person who breached the duty cannot be the representative of the decedent or inherit, recover or receive the things, property and assets in which the decedent had an interest or benefit prior to her or his death, regardless of the estate planning documents, representation documents, property ownership documents or other similar documents of the decedent, and regardless of the other representation and inheritance or asset statutes and laws that exist at the time of the decedent’s death.
Because whatever the documents or the statutory provisions were at the time, under those circumstances the decedent would not or might not want or wish for the other person to be her or his representative, or to inherit, recover or receive her or his real property, personal property and other assets and things – and under the circumstances it is not likely and would not be expected that the person who is going to commit suicide is going to run out and change her or his documents before ending her or his life. The overriding consideration and objective is that the decedent’s representative, and to whom the decedent’s things, property and asset are distributed should be in accord with the decedent’s wishes as best as they can be determined at the time of decedent’s death after taking everything into consideration.
Or, in the alternative, version two:
(1) If someone ends her or his own life, i.e., commits suicide,
(2) And if the decedent had in some manner communicated or provided some manner of communication arguably evidencing in some manner that she or he would not want a particular person, or particular people, to be the representative of the decedent or inherit, recover or receive the things, property and assets in which the decedent had an interest or benefit prior to her or his death,
(3) Each state should have a law that allows for a claim or cause of action to be made that the person or people identified in (2) above cannot be the representative of the decedent or inherit, recover or receive the things, property and assets in which the decedent had an interest or benefit prior to her or his death, regardless of the estate planning documents, representation documents, property ownership documents or other similar documents of the decedent, and regardless of the other representation and inheritance or asset statutes and laws that exist at the time of the decedent’s death.
Again, because whatever the documents or the statutory provisions were at the time, under those circumstances the decedent would not or might not want or wish for the other person or people to be her or his representative, or to inherit, recover or receive her or his real property, personal property and other assets and things – and under the circumstances it is not likely and would not be expected that the person who is going to commit suicide is going to run out and change her or his documents before ending her or his life. Again, the overriding consideration and objective is that the decedent’s representative, and to whom the decedent’s things, property and asset are distributed should be in accord with the decedent’s wishes as best as they can be determined at the time of decedent’s death after taking everything into consideration.
Does your state have such a law, claim or cause of action? Your state should. These are issues and situations of law, fact and evidence, relationships, personalities, and duties, actions and conduct, about which I will continue to connect, share and collaborate with other people who have similar concerns. Depending on the relationships of the people involved, and on the age of the decedent, an argument might also be made that dishonoring the wishes of the decedent it might be considered a form of spousal and/or elder abuse, or perhaps decedent abuse, but occurring post-death. However, I am not aware that state laws have progressed that far.
In Loving Memory of Deborah Ann Tate Trotta (September 12, 2021). Discussion is provided below.
Deb and her beloved Annie:
My beloved sister Deb’s body was found on September 12, 2021, at a beach that she frequented only a few miles from her home in Hobe Sound, Florida. When I was called by husband on September 12, 2021, and was told that Deb had been missing since the prior morning of September 11 (24+ hours), and when I then spoke with the detective a short time later on September 12 after Deb’s body was found at the beach reserve, I said that I wanted to know what had happened, and everything that had occurred and a full investigation. I was looking for answers – who wouldn’t want answers in these situations? There are also a couple of my earlier posts about Deb, and her situation before and after her death.
Deb’s death was tragic, and I have learned and have come to know much. Now when I read or hear in the news that someone has ended her or his own life I wonder why, what were the causal circumstances, what was said or not, what were the relationships, and what could or might have been done (in some circumstances legally should have been done) to prevent and avoid this tragedy? And in Deb’s case made all the more tragic by what has occurred post- death, which should not happen to or be caused upon any decedent or her or his remains and property in violation and breach of her or his wishes in the circumstance of suicide or in any circumstance – and also should not happen to or be caused upon the family, relatives and life-long friends who loved and cared about Deb.
Unfortunately getting Deb’s ashes to be spread in California as Deb wished, Deb’s things and personal items and property, and easily available information all have been denied. Since September 12, 2021, absolutely everything even including Deb’s ashes, pictures, phone, videos, clothes, Annie, and all personal and Tate legacy and ancestry property has been kept, kept secret, and controlled in Florida – this has been a learning process – at that time I never would have believed that this would occur or that someone would do this, but I certainly do now with what I have experienced and have come to learn and know.
It has been 15+ months, and counting, and two Christmases since Deb’s body was found. Two elder people who cared about Deb have also themselves passed during that time. Long ago Deb should have been freed and released and her ashes obtained from Florida control, possession and secrecy to be spread in California as Deb wished, and to allow some closure for Deb, her family and relatives, Deb’s life-long friends, and ancestors. Long ago Deb’s personal property including Tate legacy and ancestry items and things, pictures, videos, notes and writings, messages, texts, and emails, jewelry, phone, Annie, a particular blanket, and other things and items also should have been freed and released and obtained from Florida possession, control and secrecy. What person would not simply do so, at least for Deb?
I tried several, perhaps many, times to resolve this and to get Deb’s ashes to California. It is difficult to imagine a situation and a case that would not be easier to resolve, except for the possession, control, secrecy and personality issues that exist.
Deb was a naturally positive and beautiful person who looked for the good in people and situations with a view toward making things better. The Medical Examiner has said that Deb ended her own life. Prior to Deb’s situation I had never been directly impacted by someone ending their own life. Whatever the circumstances are, and certainly the circumstances vary from person to person, it must mean that at that time the person is so distraught and unhappy and that she or he cannot get out of or solve the problem circumstances, situation, predicament, or relationship, such that she or he can only see ending her or his life as the sole choice and solution.
Indeed, there was a supposed note. I say supposed because what happened to the supposed note was controlled and I was denied access. I did obtain the short wording of the possible note that was typed in the Sheriff’s report. There is also other information including September 11-12, 2021, information on Deb’s phone and the phone account to which I have also been denied all access. Regarding the supposed note, at times Deb could also be a doodler who would simply write things to herself just for consideration or thinking purposes. A lot of people do that.
The supposed note does not mention ending her life – it is a very short note – but it does start with, and end with the same two words “Best Solution.” That is really sad – that with what had occurred and when Deb considered her circumstances, predicament, relationship, and the personalities, ending her own life by gunshot was her best and only solution. There should have been other options available as instead Deb was getting a divorce attorney with the help of others, and Deb talked about her wish that she could get access to money (i.e., get access to her money, investments and financial resources) to move back to California with her beloved Annie (her standard poodle who Deb named after Anne (Zitter) Tate). Deb said that a private investigator should be hired so that she could find out and get access to the accounts and what was and should have been Deb’s money and investments. About Annie who Deb loved 100% unconditionally, Deb named a few people to whom Annie should go if the need ever arose – and Deb communicated that under no circumstances should Annie ever go to husband.
With the help of others, I now know enough about what had been happening and what happened. We will never know all of the facts as things, information and access have been controlled and denied.
They had an argument on September 11, 2021 (as noted per the Sheriff’s report). There is independent information about what was said about divorce, which also confirms what Deb had said about threat of divorce and a day or two earlier that she had finally decided to go forward with the divorce. Unfortunately, other than that there had been an argument, the Sheriff’s report contains no other information about the relationship or the argument, or about what was said, or anything about divorce – instead, what the detective was told was that Deb suffered from extreme paranoia and would practice suicide. Consider, if that had been true, after the argument the morning of September 11, no phone calls were made to Deb’s family, relatives, or close life-long friends, not even to Deb’s local, close Florida relatives.
The scenario that I have been experiencing post-Deb’s death, i.e., that absolutely everything even including Deb’s ashes, pictures, phone, videos, clothes, jewelry and keepsakes, and all personal and Tate legacy and ancestry property and things have all been kept, kept secret, and controlled in Florida, has been as Deb had been describing her situation and relationship. Deb had also expressed concern about her lack of access to and her lack of information about the money, investments and finances, and her wanting to know where they were or why they were gone?
Based on information that has been presented, on the morning of September 11, the argument and the divorce process and financial terms that were told or directed at Deb were limiting, controlling, restricting and unfavorable to Deb and her entitlements after being in that marriage for 20 years. A different approach would have been easy, such as: Deb, here is the information that you want about the accounts, money, investments and finances; here is $30,000 to $50,000 right now; yes, instead of my attorney also representing you, you should hire your own separate independent attorney to represent your interests; and the attorneys will work out the alimony, sale of asset and divisions after full disclosure of information and production of documents.
Despite the denials of access and the possible presumptions of evidence that those denials raise, Deb’s texts and what she said, in addition to information from other people close to Deb and the affidavits filed, provide evidence of much of what had occurred and was said. And now in keeping with pre-death as Deb described, post- Deb’s death it has been made necessary to fight in Court just to get anything at all including Deb’s ashes, Deb’s personal matters, information, etc., from husband who was divorcing Deb and who Deb was finally divorcing before instead becoming convinced that ending her own life by gunshot was her “Best Solution.”
I now truly believe that unless it is ordered by the Court, we will never have Deb’s ashes to be spread in the locations in California as Deb had wished, nor will we ever have Deb’s personal property and the Tate legacy and ancestry personal property. I will never understand why someone, anyone, would ever control and deny Deb’s ashes and her personal items, and Deb’s wishes, and in a relationship that Deb expressed as very bad (and worse) and headed for divorce. In fact, we do not know what if anything still exists (the existence of Deb’s ashes, Deb’s personal and Tate property, Deb’s other things and assets are all still controlled and being kept secret and unknown). An order to compel production and even information is required. For all we know, Deb/Deb’s ashes and her property all were disposed of after her death. The continuing possession, control and secrecy reflect what Deb had been describing before her death.
People have differing views of what happens to the soul or spirit of a person after death and the hereafter. It is impossible for me to reconcile that post-death the spreading of Deb’s ashes in the locations that Deb loved and as Deb had wished in Marin and Sonoma Counties, California, and some manner of closure for Deb, and for her family, life-long friends, and ancestors is being controlled and prevented by someone who was divorcing from Deb and who Deb had decided to divorce.
Months of texts from Deb and her communications have been attached to my affidavit filed with the Court, in addition to two additional affidavits, and also including communications from divorcing husband.
Consider my comments above about the need for states to have a law and a cause of action (I’ll call it Deb’s law). Please also learn more about mental health, damaging and dangerous relationships and personalities, spousal duties, elder and spousal abuse, and actions that can be taken to understand and to help people who are or who might be considering ending their own life.
These have become issues and situations of law, fact and evidence about which I am now and will continue to be involved. I am also tweaking my approach a bit and working to include, suggest, discuss, and involve professions, professionals within a profession, groups and organizations that have experience, backgrounds, and connections that are different than mine and who wear different hats. For example, estate planning and elder attorneys (whereas I primarily do litigation and disputes in those areas); investment, FINRA, and wealth advisors; CPAs, financial planners, and tax preparers; bankers and financial institutions; health and medical professionals including mental and physical health; fiduciaries including trustees, executors, and attorneys in fact under a power of attorney, people who are designated as trusted contacts; trusted family; trusted friends; and others. Please excuse if some of the above parts might sound a bit repetitive; however, what had been occurring and the situation before Deb’s death, and post- Deb’s death what has continued to happen, and is happening and being caused upon Deb and her family, relatives, life-long friends and ancestors are wrong and inappropriate, secretive, controlling and possessive, like a macabre twilight zone or nightmare, or there is an intent. We have reached the end of 2022 and move into 2023. More to follow.
Good people need to be on the lookout, and take actions.
Thank you for reading. Please feel free to pass this blog and blog post and information to other people who would be interested.
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Best to you,
David Tate, Esq. (and inactive CPA)
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Remember, every case and situation is different. It is important to obtain and evaluate all of the evidence that is available, and to apply that evidence to the applicable standards and laws. You do need to consult with an attorney and other professionals about your particular situation. This post is not a solicitation for legal or other services inside of or outside of California, and, of course, this post only is a summary of information that changes from time to time, and does not apply to any particular situation or to your specific situation. So . . . you cannot rely on this post for your situation or as legal or other professional advice or representation, or as or for my opinions and views on the subject matter.
Also note – sometimes I include links to or comments about materials from other organizations or people – if I do so, it is because I believe that the materials are worthwhile reading or viewing; however, that doesn’t mean that I don’t or might not have a different view about some or even all of the subject matter or materials, or that I necessarily agree with, or agree with everything about or relating to, that organization or person, or those materials or the subject matter.
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David Tate, Esq. (and inactive California CPA) – practicing only as an attorney in California.