By William Thornton
An Etowah County woman will end up returning more than $3.85 million to her mother’s estate as the result of a judge’s ruling.
The case, decided last month in Etowah County Circuit Court, dealt with the conservatory and custodial duties of a woman appointed co-conservator of her mother. Circuit Judge George Day Jr., ruled that the woman, who has not been charged with any crime, “breached her fiduciary duty to her mother’s Conservatorship estate, has failed to properly account for her actions and the funds and assets under her control, all of which has caused substantial damage” to the estate.
Additionally, the Court awarded a judgment against the daughter in relation to the custodial accounts for the incapacitated woman’s granddaughter, totaling $393,509.
Chris Hamer and Rebecca Wright of the Hamer Law Group represented the incapacitated woman’s conservator, an attorney who was appointed after the daughter resigned as conservator. The case has also generated a federal court action.
“This case represents the most egregious breach of fiduciary duties we’ve ever seen,” Hamer said in a statement. “Cases involving misappropriation and misuse of assets by family members appointed as fiduciaries are especially distressing for all involved.”
As a result of the decision, all money in the estate has been accounted for, attorneys said. According to court documents, the daughter of the incapacitated woman became conservator of her then-77-year-old mother in 2014. The woman, who died earlier this year, had 12 children.

The daughter in 2017 filed a petition for partial settlement with the Etowah County Probate Court, alleging that more than $9 million from the estate and its holdings came into her hands during the prior three-year period of her conservatorship, and about $2.57 million remained in the conservatorship estate. The woman paid out about $3.9 million to family members.
The case was removed from probate to circuit court in February 2018 and a Gadsden attorney was appointed as guardian ad litem for the incapacitated woman. A month later, the daughter resigned as co-conservator and paid $1.34 million to the court.
According to documents, she attributed about $306,000 for a return of payments to her personal credit card, $760,000 to her personal E*TRADE account, and $275,000 to transfers out of the conservatorship to herself. The $3.8 million in the judge’s decision includes what she has already paid back.

Another attorney was appointed conservator in the daughter’s place, who then retained Hamer Law Group to represent him in the final settlement and accounting of the daughter’s conservatorship.

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Judge: Guardian must return $3.8 million in Gadsden case