If you missed PART 1, click HERE to catch up.

{Part 2}

At this point in my story, I feel its pertinent to tell you what was going on in my mind.

Because of the sketchy behavior of my Great Uncle Herb, I suspected that he was to blame.  He loaded up his new car which he inherited from Popop full of electronics and precious memories.  He was leading the charge of handling all of the paperwork and legal issues with the estate.  PJ was someone I felt that was on my side and would stand up beside me if I needed her.  It was no surprise that I didn’t hear from PJ because I knew I would have to make an effort to keep our friendship going.   With Popop’s death behind us, there really was nothing left to deal with or catch up on.  My assumption was that Herb was rolling in a bed full of money that he got from my Grandfather’s investment and sadly, since we were not close, neither myself nor my children would never see it.

I got a call in late July from my Uncle Herb which surprised me as I didn’t think I would hear from him ever again.  He asked me if I knew about my Grandfather’s final wishes.  I thought this might be my chance to clear the air with him and tell him how he hurt me.  I told him that Popop’s wishes were very easy:

1.  Herb would get his car and belongings out of his home (clothes, furniture, etc).
2.  Another family member was set to get jewelry which I figured Herb handled.
3.  That there was an investment at Wells Fargo which was intended for me and my children’s future.
Pretty easy!
  Honestly, by now I had resolved to the fact that Herb got the money and planned to keep it and ride off into the sunset.  I had a lot of anger towards him for how he handled the estate and treated me.  He asked me how I knew about the investment.  I told him that Popop had asked for my Dad’s help on where would be best to invest it and that PJ had ultimately directed him to an advisor at Wells Fargo where she banked.  I flat out said that assumed that he took it.  I was shaking on the phone with him.  Herb said he did not get the money.  I was shocked to hear this.  Herb went on to tell me that Popop had told him what I already knew;  specifically that the money was set aside in the investment for me and my children’s future. 

{My heart was dropping during this call} 
Herb continued to tell me that he received a document from Wells Fargo.  It was a final statement from Popop’s account which had shown to be closed.  The summary was that the money had been transferred upon death to PJ as the person listed for TOD.

WHAT!?  I couldn’t believe this!  PJ!!?!? NO WAY!  He quickly faxed me copy of the documents so that I could see them for myself.  I called my Dad promptly and told him what I just learned and he was as shocked as I was.  My Dad’s gut reaction was that this was some sort of a mistake

Looking at the document from Wells Fargo, it shows that the TOD (transfer on death) was done on June 28th.  My mind was reeling back to memories of this time and trying to make sense of it all.

I know I told PJ about my inquiry to find out who was listed as the TOD.  She never said a word and even told me at one point that she “had no idea!?”

Was this the reason she declined our invitation for July 4th?

My Dad called PJ and told her what we had just learned.  He asked her if this was some sort of a mistake?  She responded to him, “This is apparently what Dick (my Popop’s nick name) wanted”. My Dad assured her that it was not what he wanted, and said “PJ, you and I both know that money was for Janette and her children!”  She did not sound as if she thought this was a mistake!  My Dad proceeded to ask her what she intended to do with the money to which she replied she didn’t know.  I think the fury and unexplainable situation was the only thing that prompted him to say that “If you don’t do the right thing PJ, you will be hearing from the District Attorney’s Office!”  She hung up. 

And that was it.

Shock.  Hurt.  Sad.  Confused.  MAD.  Disgusted.  Irate.

I can’t even think of all of the words I was feeling at this point.  This person whom I opened my heart to and welcomed into my family has become a snake in the grass

I had no idea what to do or say but didn’t want to do anything I would regret.  I also did not want to allow myself to lower my morals to retaliate.  

I questioned myself.  I questioned my Grandfather.  I questioned everything I was told.  I still cannot make sense of anything.  Why would she keep the money?  She told us she had no interest in his money because she was wealthy from money her husband left her when he passed away.  Surely she will succumb to the fact that it was not actually for her!

I did the only thing I knew I could do and wrote PJ a letter.  I am sharing it with you so you can see how I approached it and even after 6 months since this happened, I think I said the right thing.

“Dear PJ,

I hope this message finds you doing well.  I felt like I needed to write down my thoughts and feelings, and wanted to share them with you in hopes that you can help me understand everything.

I have been playing back all of the conversations I have had with you, my grandfather, other members of my family and trying to sort things out.  I was brought back to the beginning when Popop was getting sicker, and sitting with him in his living room asking him to share his plans and wishes with me and my Dad, Stephen.  I remember feeling so awkward asking him to tell me where things were located and how he wanted his matters handled, so I tried to keep things very general out of respect for him and to remain positive that I didn’t really need to worry with those details.

I am brought back to the moment when I asked Popop about his executor of his will.  At the time, he stated that he did not have one but that he considered giving the responsibility to you, PJ.  I didn’t understand why he would have considered you until I got to know you better and went through everything with you.   He never followed through with making the changes to have you be executor, but when he passed and I was dealing with Herb and thinking to myself, “Now I know why Popop was considering picking PJ”.  It became clear to me after watching Herb handle things that Popop thought that you, PJ were the unbiased party within all of the mayhem of our family.

He told us (Stephen & me, along with John, his best friend) that you were someone we could trust and that you were not a threat or after his money as people had probably been thinking after his divorce with Millie and her behavior.  He told my Dad that he knew you weren’t after his money because your husband had left you more than 2 million dollars. I think there were even conversations during the process of handing Popop’s matters that you stated that you were not interested in his money because you didn't need it and that you weren’t interested in anything of his, but that you were his friend and that was it.  I know at the end of the day, I felt more assured hearing you say that and I think that is why I felt like I could tell you anything and ask you for your help and opinions.  I thought you were truly a friend who wanted nothing but the best for my Grandfather and for me and his great –grandchildren as you stated on several occasions.

I was eager to open my home and family to you to be my stand-in grandparent since Popop was my last living grandparent.  You were so sweet with my children and I loved spending time with you when you were around.

I then recall trying to help Herb sort things out, as much as he would allow.  I knew that Popop had told me and my Dad, and Herb that he had an investment with Wells Fargo that you helped him to set up with your broker.  Herb told my Dad that Popop said this was for my children’s college fund. When I called Wells Fargo, after Poppop’s passing, to inquire about the Transfer on Death name listed, I was told that I was not listed and that the person who was had been contacted.  I remember feeling so confused by what Popop had said and what he actually did.  When I called you and asked you if you knew who he put down you said “No, I have no idea”.  I trusted that you really didn’t know.  I assumed since Herb was so secretive about everything there toward the end, that he must have been listed and perhaps was going to keep the money. I figured I would likely never hear from him again.  However, I thought surely Herb would eventually do the right thing and give the money to me for my kids as Popop had indicated that he wanted done.   So it came as a surprise when Herb sent me a copy of the Wells Fargo statement showing that the money had been given to you, PJ.  What was more surprising was that the money was transferred over to you almost a month ago and you never mentioned it when we spoke, and I haven’t heard a word from you since. 

My honest gut reaction when I saw it was given to you was a sigh of relief because I honestly thought that you might have been given the money based on my grandfather’s trust that you would give it to the right parties because you were the neutral person in this whole thing.  After all, Popop knew you were already financially stable and were not with him for his money, moreover that you didn’t need it.  It really hurt though as I was thinking that if you really were the neutral party in this whole matter, that I would have heard something from you by now.

I couldn’t help but to wonder if you knew all along that you were listed on the document.  As a friend to my grandfather, he would have had to ask you for your social security number when he opened the account.  So, does that mean that you have known that you were listed as the beneficiary—since the day he opened the account?

It just doesn’t seem to add up to me and I am trying very hard not to think that you were after my grandfather’s money all along.  I know you have said OVER AND OVER again that it took you 7 years to get your ducks in a row with my grandfather and when you guys finally are on the same page, he is taken from you.  I do not believe that the past 7 years have been anything other than a friendship between you two as you stated that you were not even emotionally ready for anything more.

In my heart of hearts, I think you are a kind and loving person and I do not want to think ill of you or your intentions for my grandfather.  The money he had invested in Wells Fargo was his life’s savings.  I am sure that he did not mean for you to have the money and actually keep it for yourself.  Why would he?  He thought you were wealthy.

I have prayed a lot about it and firmly believe that if he did put your name down, it was to act as a friend who cared about him and as a neutral party in his estate to put his money where he planned for it to go and to keep people like my mother, Stacey and Mark from getting to it.  I don’t know why else he would tell me, my Dad, Herb and others that he had that money set aside for me and my children to help with their college futures.

I just can’t wrap my head around this at all.  If you really didn't know that PopPop was going to leave you that money, was there a reason you didn't contact me when you were notified over a month ago and then when the money was transferred to your account?  I know Stephen called and asked what you planned to do with the money and you were unsure.  Do you feel like Popop wanted you to have the money and if so, why?  Why would he have thought you needed the money more than his own grandkids?  That just makes no sense.  Popop told us all that your husband left you a great deal and yet you told Stephen when he was asking about this that your husband only left you $6,000?  It is so different than what we were told and what Popop indicated you had.

Even John, Popop’s best friend said he thought you had money; his words to me were that “PJ is loaded”.  Where did he get that if not from Popop or you?  If that is not the case, that is what everyone’s impressions were and again, why I think we felt you were someone that could be trusted.

Time and time again, you told me that you grabbed the plants off of his balcony to try to bring them back to life and get them growing again and that if I ever wanted them, I was welcome to them.  I just can’t understand why you would be willing to hand over plants that belonged to my grandfather but somehow you deserve to keep all of his life savings.  You even declared that Herb was awful for not allowing me the chance to look through Popop’s keepsakes and hold on to the items before he gave them away or packed them up.

I’d just ask that you try to see it from the other side.  What if this was your grandchildren and you trusted someone close to you to make sure they were taken care of and instead, the person who you trusted so much just kept it for themself? Your grandchildren get nothing.  I know you love your grandchildren as much as Popop loved me and my children.  I just hope you can see the bigger picture.

I do not want to pretend that I know your financial situation but the money Popop left behind was all he had and would be instrumental in helping to make sure his great grandchildren are given the future that he had intended.  I can only pray that you will consider all that I have said and do what you think is right.  I know you have a good heart and I trust that you will do what you think Popop would have wanted.

I'm just torn & hurt.

Best Regards,


No response.  I even sent a text asking if she got my email a week or so later and resent it asking if she would please just respond to answer the questions as I am feeling very confused. 


Click HERE for Part 3, Final Thoughts.

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Stacie said...

Have you thought about sending your letter via certified mail, something that she would have to sign for? At least you would know that she had received it. This is so awful, I can't imagine how devastating it is for you.

Anonymous said...

I had a feeling reading yesterday that she was the one that got the money.

I am so sorry you had to go through this Janette.

Sarah Kate said...

The letter you wrote to PJ brought tears to my eyes. Only a very evil person could read that and still keep something that wasn't theirs. You said all the right things in that letter, too.

I am so glad you've decided to blog about this. This story packs a triple punch of loss - first sweet Popop's death, then money that is rightfully yours is taken, and a friend betrays your trust. It's just awful. I'm so sorry that this has happened to you and your family.

becca said...

so sorry to hear this hugs

Impulsive Addict said...

Stacie had a good idea! Do that! What a bitch. I'm so sorry Janette. Call the news. It would make for good tv like on Dateline!

Heather SettingforFour said...

So sorry you have had someone so wicked enter your life Janette!

Emmy said...

Yes, send the letter again certified! And love what Sarah Kate said-- though in order for her to do something like this in the first place it shows she really is not that good of a person; but maybe, hopefully she will change.

That letter you wrote truly was wonderful and so much more forgiving then I think I would be at the time.

Oh girl, I am so so sorry.

Myya said...

Uggghhh this just breaks my heart. I just do not understand how someone could do something so clearly wrong. I want to see the good in people but oh my gosh when they show their true colors like this it just disgusts me.
I soooo hope that somewhere in the depts of her heart she really regrets her decisions & does the right thing.

Anonymous said...

I had to go back and catch up and I am in awe!

I have not read the other comments but I can always mention karma, digging deeper into this, legal action, etc. But truth is, you are hurt and I am sorry.