Thanks to Barney R for the editing. As always, I had to mess with it some more. Therefore all mistakes and omissions are on me.
My first wife cheated on me and tore my heart out. My childhood best friend brought me back.
My name is Carl Thomas. I’m 38 and married twice. I have 2 sons 7 and 5 and a daughter 8, all from my first marriage. I also have a stepdaughter who is now 16. This is the story of how my first marriage turned to shit and how my redemption was right in my own house.
I met Laura Stimpson when I was 25 and I walked into the building where she worked. She was a receptionist at the information desk for an office building. I was looking for a specific law office in a building of law firms. I was just out of college and new on my job when I walked into the lawyer’s office to hear my maternal grandfather’s will. He had passed more than a year ago but had specified that the will not be read until I completed my degree in Business Management. I am somewhat of a numbers guy, and I wanted to help my grandfather’s businesses. Unfortunately he died before my senior year.
I arrived early (I hate being late, so sue me) so Laura showed me to a waiting area and as it was near her desk, we talked until my appointment time. I found her attractive, an interesting conversationalist, and funny. She related several stories of people who could not handle the suspense of waiting for the good or the bad news being in a lawyer’s offices.
When the time came, I was escorted, into the office of John Chambers, my grandfather’s attorney, who also later became mine. John greeted me very warmly. He mentioned that my grandfather and his father were good friends and golfing buddies.
John (he insisted on first names) sat me down and told me that I was not the only person specifically mentioned in his will but he said that there were some conditions that I had to fulfill before I could collect the total amount of $14,000,000 plus all of his properties left to me. I would get $2,000,000 and all of the real property immediately, and I was to use that to fulfill the conditions. One thing I had to do was set up equal post-secondary education funds for any siblings, the amount had to be more than $200,000 each. Judy, my sister was 14 a freshman (she skipped 7th grade) and a straight-A student in AP classes at the time. No Brainer. My brother, on the other hand, was 17, a sophomore (he flunked 4th grade because of a long illness), a gear head, and lazy as a stump except for working on vehicles. I asked John if I had to set the funds for college or could I set my up technical school fund for Greg. John said the will only stipulated that any funds left after successful completion of the recipient’s post-secondary educational course the fund balance became theirs. If the fund recipient did not use the fund for school, he or she could not receive a penny from the fund. I laughed and said grandpa did that because he knew Greg was lazy but greedy and this way he would be required to learn something.
Another condition was that I had to live in Grandpa’s house on the estate and use his housekeeper and cook for the next five years. Again a no brainer, it was a very big and very nice house. I had always loved staying there when visiting grandpa. It did become my house, but the will said I could not keep it or live in it without those two ladies, and they were ladies. Julia, the housekeeper was my age and had lived in one of the guesthouses all her life because her mother was the housekeeper before her. When I was a kid Julia and I explored the big house and grounds. She was also a real doll who had married a very nice man and had a daughter Casey who was at that time 5 years old. Grandpa also left her a sum of money equal to 10 years of her salary if she stayed for at least two years after the reading of the will.
Abigail, the cook, was not only magic in the kitchen but was health-conscious. She lived in another guest house. The food was always tasty, and not loaded with fats and salt. She was worth her weight in gold as our family had a history of heart disease. Not a problem. She was probably in her early forties. She also had the same conditions as Julia and the same rewards.
The groundskeeper and the security were at my discretion; I could keep them or get different ones. The groundskeeper got some money also. The groundskeeper who was almost 60 years old had told John that he was not staying on after the new owner took possession. John also recommended a different security company.
So far nothing seemed outrageous. So I asked John if there were any other conditions. He said yes if I get married before the residency requirement expired; I would need a prenuptial agreement that would not allow a gold digger to take any of the money.
My grandpa was not against women, he just wanted to protect me from someone like my mother (his daughter) who took almost everything except the kitchen sink when she divorced dad. I asked John if there would be a problem with setting up a trust fund with the remaining estate and stipulating that I was to get a fixed yearly amount that could not be assigned by a divorce decree. Also, would it be possible for the entire estate, including the house and all of the other real estate to be included in the trust?
John laughed and said; “Now I know why you were left the estate. That’s very smart.”
I asked John to investigate a few accountants that specialized in trust funds. He said he would. He asked if I wanted to set up one trust with three beneficiaries, or three separate. I told him that I would think about it and let the accountant we agreed to know what I wanted. I then asked John to go on retainer as my legal advisor and legal advocate if needed. I told him to take $25,000 out of the two million and to let me know when that ran out. I later decided to manage my own trust and set up the sibling’s education trusts at $250,000 I also added to those trusts as time went on. I did not manage them for fiduciary reasons.
He agreed to that and we signed all of the necessary paperwork. Then John handed me a check for over 1.9 million dollars. I locked the check into my briefcase.
John then warned me that my mother was contesting the will as the only direct descendant. He said she really did not have a chance, but he opined that she was after a payoff.
I laughed and said; “You mean the loving mother that abandoned my father with 3 kids and took all of the money my father had saved? The same one who fucked my dad’s brother Jack behind dad’s back and swindled Jack out of a lot of his money. You mean the same one who falsely accused my father of sexually abusing my sister who was 5 at the time. That woman is not my mother she is only the whore who gave birth to me.”
I continued; “I don’t care if it costs me 15 million dollars in legal fees defending the will, her father formally and legally disowned her because of her money grubbing ways. If she wants to fight it, let her. But please tell her that I will not willingly let her have a penny of that money. If I understand it correctly, since she was disowned, she has no legal claim. If she is trying to overturn the legal papers that disowned her, I am authorizing you to spend whatever is necessary to see that that does not happen. Oh, let her know that I will insist on any settlement include the stipulation that she has to pay all of my legal fees and court costs”
John smiled and said; “Your grandpa set aside some monies for both of those instances. I will let you know when we have to go before the judge and if we need more money.”
He then said something surprising. “You don’t know it, but your Grandpa convinced your dad and your uncle each swear out a fraud complaint against your mother. Those complaints will be brought up at the hearing of the disowned case and the case contesting the will. He also gave them both some money before he died. It was equal to the money she defrauded them out of.”
He shook my hand and said; “Don’t worry, your mother may delay the disbursements, but she won’t be able to change them.”
On my way out of the building, I stopped to thank Laura for her help, and she and I talked until it was lunchtime. I asked her if she would like to join me for lunch, my treat.
Over lunch, I asked if she was in a relationship, and she said she was dating, but no one was “the special one”. I asked for and got her address and phone number; with the promise of a dinner date. I walked her back to the office building and said my goodbyes.
I went to my bank, talked to the branch manager and deposited the check into a brokerage account that was part of their services. It paid a decent interest rate and was very accessible. I explained all of the future planned will stipulate transactions.
I called Laura that evening and asked when she would like to go to dinner. She said that the coming weekend would not work because she already had dates scheduled. She asked if I had a problem with waiting until the next weekend. I said it was not a problem as I had some studying to do for my new job and this weekend would let me visit my family also.
I visited my dad and my sister that weekend as Greg was in Center City for a car show. I told them what had happened at the attorney’s office. They were very happy for me. Judy was ecstatic that dad would not be burdened with any expenses for her college studies. I told Judy that if there was not enough in the fund to cover everything, I would make up the difference.
When Greg came home Sunday night, I got an entirely different reaction. He was very angry. He said; “Why can’t I just have the money now, and why do you get so much more than us? That old bastard just loved the way you sucked up to him. I bet you even sucked his cock for him, didn’t you?
Before I could get to him, dad stood up and slapped him so hard he took two steps back just to keep from falling down. Dad then screamed in Greg’s face; “Don’t you ever talk to anyone in my house like that. Even a guest does not deserve that kind of treatment. You either apologize or go hang out with your greasy handed friends. I love you, but right now I don’t like you.”
Greg said with some vehemence; “OK fine, I don’t need any fucking money from that old son of a bitch. When I get out of school I will go into the military. You can all kiss my ass.” With that, he stormed back out to his car and burned rubber all the way down the street. We did not hear from him or about him until a couple of months later he was arrested for drunk driving and minor in possession of alcohol.
When dad asked me to go with him to bail Greg out, I agreed without hesitation. When we got there Greg looked like death warmed over. He was also very contrite.
Greg apologized to dad and to me and asked if he could come home. Dad said he, of course, he could. I offered to have him come to the estate until school was finished if he wanted.
Greg looked at me like I had a big snotty, booger on my forehead.
“Why would you do that after how I acted and talked to you? I was a complete asshole. I know I apologized, but those words must have hurt.”
I said, “Greg, you are my brother, what you said to me was said in anger. I accept your apology. If you decide to go into the military, your education trust money will be there when you leave your service time. There is no time limit. I know you want to start an auto service shop. I will give you a zero-interest loan to start a shop. All you will need to do is do your service time, get the training for certification on whatever parts of the cars you want to specialize in. That will count for your education goal. Hell, if you want to start a dealership or a used car lot, I will partner with you.”
Greg was stunned and had very wet eyes when he grabbed me in a bear hug. “Thank you, big brother.”
I called a family meeting and explained all of the other conditions of the will. Then I told them that their education money was guaranteed, but other than what I already have received, there are a lot of conditions to meet.
My date with Laura went very well. We went to an upscale restaurant and had a great dinner. The conversation was very general, likes dislikes, goals and other things like that. After a brief lull in the conversation, she asked the question I could sense she wanted to ask. She said that I did not seem to be someone who needed an attorney. She politely asked if I minded her asking what I had been there for. She said that when I came out and talk to her I seemed distracted but not unhappy.
I laughed; “Now I know why you went out with me. Don’t you know that ‘curiosity killed the cat’? I had to talk to an attorney about my future. I was slightly distracted because I had to make some plans to secure that future.”
Laura said; “For some reason, there was no gossip in the building about why you were there and that fact made you an item of interest. I did not mean to pry, but the interest got to my nosey side.”