RUTHERFORD COUNTY — When the patriarch of the Richards clan died 2011, he never dreamed of how his death and his estate could cause so many problems. Just like many other situations affecting people with traumatic family change, the death of a parent allows all the growing-up sibling issues and relationships come into play.
Adding to the grief in the Clarence Richard’ clan is the multiple issues with the Rutherford County Clerk of Court’s estate settlement. The administration of the estate has left the family unsatisfied as the “judge” (in reality an assistant clerk of court) attempts to close the estate.
The elder Mr. Richard left a 103.91 acre plot of farmland to be divided among his seven children. The land was to be sold and the proceeds distributed equally. The personal property was to be returned to the owners or sold. While the estate was unsettled, a portion of the property was rented out to a local farmer.
As time continued to drag on, Bo Richard filed several objections to the Superior Clerk of Court about the way the estate was handled by his sister, the executor. Richard questioned the assigned clerk, Valerie Webb, in estates about the monies his sister collected for rent of a portion of the farmland, the distribution of assets, and the removal of his personal property.
Eventually Richards hired attorney Edna Walker to represent his claim on the estate and attorney Robert Wolf represented the other six claimants.
The farm tract was listed with Odeen Keever Real Estate agent Ronnie Blanton on 6-1-2017. Meanwhile an offer of $325,000 by Jackie Lee was made through the real estate agent. Lee never received notice of the status of his offer. Attorney Wolfe rejected the offer stating he didn’t think Lee could come up with the financing. The sellers were not presented the offer.
When the 103.91 acre farm did not receive an acceptable offer according to Wolfe, the parcel was legally partitioned into three separate parcels. However the real estate contract listed the wrong property, had Ms. Walker’s signatures in the wrong place, and at the real estate agent’s request, tanks belonging to Bo Richard were removed from the property without his knowledge.
When Ms. Walker lost her license to practice law last year that left Bo Richard without representation, clerk of court Victoria Webb did not assign Robert Wolfe until Feb. 2018 to represent both parties. By that time, the property had already been put up for court sale and the upstate bid 10-day period had already expired. None of the heirs had been notified of the sales.
Additionally Tommy Richard had wanted to place an upset bid for 29 acres of that property, but did not know of the court sale. Richard wanted to offer $14,500 over the current price. While Wolfe stated he was not obligated to inform the parties of his actions, none of the siblings claim to know of the sale.
Even though the executor Ruth Dobbins pled to have the sale reopened in hopes Tommy Richard could place an upset bid, Webb ruled the sales as final.
In the end none of the siblings were happy.