Below are a list of documents from the case of Youth Town & St. Jude’s Children Hospital vs. Peggy Wilkes and Earl Allen:
John Stevens visited Mrs. Ruth Karas in Jackson-Madison County General Hospital on November 15th, 2009. Throughout the visit, Mrs. Karas appeared to be asleep and completely nonresponsive, and he agreed with the nurse that Mrs. Karas was not competent at that time. John Stevens had no interaction with Mrs. Karas and she passed away the following day, November 16th, 2009.
Nurse Amy Naylor offers a deposition. According to Mrs. Naylor, Stevens told her that Mrs. Karas had instructed Stevens to destroy her last will and testament before she was terminally ill. Stevens, as the video shows, destroyed Mrs. Karas’ will in the hospital room, while she lay in bed in critical condition.
On November 13th, 2009, John Stevens prepared the Karas Revocable Living Trust, which Peggy Wilkes executed. Peggy Wilkes is believed to be the beneficiary of the Trust created by herself under a Power of Attorney for Ruth Karas on November 13th, 2009. Peggy Wilkes went to approximately five banks and transferred accounts previously in Ruth Karas’ name. Also on November 13th, 2009, Peggy Wilkes signed a Quitclaim Deed prepared by John Stevens purportedly transferring real property owned by Peggy Wilkes to the Trust. Mrs. Ruth Karas had lost consciousness on November 11th, 2009 and was unconscious on November 13th, 2009.
The Defendants, Peggy Wilkes and Earl Allen, admit that Mrs. Karas was in serious condition beginning on November 11th, 2009, but did not admit or deny whether she was conscious. The Defendants admit that some number of Mrs. Karas’ bank accounts were transferred to the Karas Revocable Living Trust. They assert that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that Mrs. Karas’ death was imminent, but admits she was in declining health.
Peggy Wilkes admits that she relied upon the advice of John Stevens to sign the Karas Family Trust on November 12th, 2009.
The Power of Attorney did not authorize the creation of the Trust, which benefitted Peggy Wilkes. Tennessee law does not permit an attorney-in-fact to create a trust, which benefits the attorney-in-fact. The Power of Attorney did not authorize Peggy Wilkes to transfer of real property or personal property to the Trust.
Ruth Karas executed a will in 2002, prepared by Walton West, in which she left her entire estate equally to St. Jude and Youth Town. In 2003, she executed a new will in which she created a Trust of $100,000 to benefit her brother, Earl Allen, and the remainder of the state was left equally to St. Jude and Youth Town. On November 11th, John Stevens prepared the Karas Revocable Living Trust under Power of Attorney. The assets were left equally for Peggy Wilkes and Earl Allen. On November 15th, 2009, John Stevens tore the 2003 Will into four pieces in Mrs. Karas’s hospital room, while she lay unconscious, asleep, and nonresponsive.
An order has been entered in the Estate finding that the attempted spoliation of the Will by John Stevens was not properly done, and therefore the Will was not revoked, and therefore the Will is the valid and probatable Will of Ruth Karas, deceased. Descendent owned property at the time of her death subject to court supervised administration worth over $10,000.00, and the Petitioner is ready, willing, and able to serve as Executor to the Decedent’s Estate according to the provisions of her last Will and Testament.