Philanthropist's $9.6 million will short on details
By Elaine Morris Roberts, Staff Writer
Thursday, July 31, 2008
SPRINGFIELD - When longtime local philanthropist Mary E. Petticrew died this year, she left an estate of approximately $9.6 million along with a will that stated the majority of her assets should be used for the good of the community.
But her will left few instructions as to how that should be done, and a probate court case is under way to determine the fate of her fortune.
In her will, written in 1987, she bequeathed cash totaling about $580,000 to her son, stepchildren and other family members and friends. She left the bulk of her assets to a charitable trust she named "The Stanley S. Petticrew and Mary E. Petticrew Foundation."
Even though Petticrew's will directs that the trust be established, she did not leave any written instructions for her executor, Columbus financial adviser Montford Will, as to how he should administer the trust.
Petticrew died at age 95 on Jan. 7.
Will filed a motion with the Clark County Probate Court in May through attorney Edward Bailey asking the court for instructions as to how he should proceed.
Documents filed with the court ask that the court provide Will with "construction of and instruction as to" Petticrew's will, specifically with regard to "the disposition of the 'rest and residue' of the estate."
The "rest and residue" of the estate is the approximately $9 million left to the trust.
Will did not return a call for comment. A spokesperson from Bailey's office said he was unavailable for comment on the case.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office became involved after Bailey informed the office he would be filing the motion on behalf of Will. The AG's office is involved because there were no instructions left regarding the trust, according to Daniel Fausey, the attorney representing Ohio in the matter.
The office stated in a motion that Petticrew's trust was established properly and should stand as per her wishes.
"Mary Petticrew was a very benevolent person in the community ... during her life and we believe this (trust) is an extension of what she did during her life," Fausey said.
Petticrew married for a second time in 2001, but her second husband, Dr. Louis Bourekis, was not added to her will. In April, he filed a claim against the will as the surviving spouse.
"Dr. Bourekis's statutory share will be calculated under the law and the rest (of the estate) will go under the will. The court has not made a distribution, but he is entitled to a share of the estate not to exceed half," said his attorney Mark Roberts.
Petticrew's only natural child, Thomas Flegge, has also filed a claim against the will, seeking a portion of his late mother's estate.
"Mr. Flegge has a belief that he is entitled to the other half of his mother's estate," said Fleege's attorney, Dan Harkins. "It is our belief that Mrs. Petticrew would want to provide for her natural child."
According to Fausey, discovery in response the AG's motion is required by mid-September and any hearings and subsequent rulings may come about by the end of the year.
"We don't expect this to be any different than any other case in Ohio," most of which average two years, he said.
Petticrew fortune not going to charity
By Andrew McGinn, Staff WriterAugust 7, 2009
SPRINGFIELD - When she died in 2008, Mary E. Petticrew’s will left about $9 million to create a charitable trust.
But that money will be going elsewhere, according to a decision made Friday, Aug. 7, by the Clark County Court of Appeals.
Petticrew’s only natural child, Thomas Flegge, will get half the residue of her estate unless the Ohio Attorney General’s Office appeals, said his attorney, Dan Harkins.
“It’s a substantial sum,” Harkins said.
The exact sum hasn’t been determined, he added.
“We’re pleased with the decision of the court of appeals,” Harkins said, “and its vindication of Tom’s interest as Mary’s surviving son.”
The attorney general’s office, which had stated the trust should stand as per her wishes, said Friday it was too premature to comment.
The other half of the residue already was awarded to Petticrew’s second husband, local dentist Dr. Louis Bourekis, Harkins said. Bourekis was not listed in her will but filed a claim as the surviving spouse.
“It’s involved because of the family relationships that existed,” Harkins said, explaining that Flegge was born prior to Petticrew’s marriage to Stanley S. Petticrew.
A local philanthropist, Mary Petticrew left behind about $9.6 million when she died at age 95 in January 2008. In her will, she bequeathed close to $580,000 to Flegge, stepchildren and others.
The residue - about $9 million - was to have created a charitable foundation.
But Petticrew left behind no instructions for how to administer a trust.
“There was nothing drafted or signed by Mary Petticrew,” Harkins said.
Clark County Probate Judge Richard Carey ruled on Nov. 17 that the money should go to a trust “to be defined,” according to Harkins.
Flegge, who lives near Cleveland, appealed the decision, arguing that he should receive the second half.
“Our position,” Harkins said, “is that the trust failed because there never was a trust.”
Philanthropist's millions still in limbo; attorney general joins the battle
State wants Ohio Supreme Court to affirm that her will established a charitable trust.
By Valerie Lough, Staff WriterFriday, October 2, 2009
SPRINGFIELD - The attorney general’s office filed a memorandum last month asking the Ohio Supreme Court to review a case involving the estate of longtime local philanthropist Mary Petticrew.
Lawyers for the office are asking the Supreme Court to “reverse the 2nd District’s decision, and affirm the decision of the Clark County Probate Court that a charitable trust was created under the language of Mary E. Petticrew’s will,” according to court documents.
At issue is a residual portion of Petticrew’s estate that the attorney general’s office believes was intended to go into a charitable trust.
That intent was not specific or complete in the will, which means that Petticrew’s son, Thomas S. Flegge, is entitled to part of that residue, said his attorney, Dan Harkins.
“She never defined what the charity was or how it was to be used,” he said.
After Petticrew’s death in 2008, the Clark County Probate Court upheld a stipulation in her will that allocated $9 million to a charitable trust.
In August of this year, the 2nd District Court of Appeals reversed that decision, ruling that Flegge would get half the residue of the estate.
The attorney general’s office is hoping that the Supreme Court will agree to review the case, setting into motion a process by which the court could overturn the 2nd District Court decision.
“We think there is a great public interest in this case, so we’re asking the Supreme Court to consider the issues,” said Ted Hart, deputy director of media relations in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
If the Supreme Court decides not to review the case, the appellate court decision stands and Flegge inherits the residue from the estate.
Half of the residue has already been awarded to Petticrew’s second husband, Dr. Louis Bourekis. He wasn’t listed in her will, but filed a claim as the surviving spouse.
Top court won’t hear estate case
Ohio justices’ decision means Mary Petticrew’s son will inherit a portion of her estate worth millions.
By Valerie Lough, Staff WriterDecember 2, 2009
SPRINGFIELD - The son of the late philanthropist Mary Petticrew will inherit a portion of his mother’s estate after the Ohio Supreme Court announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, that it will not review that case.
At issue was a residual portion of Petticrew’s estate that the attorney general’s office believed was intended to go into a charitable trust.
Lawyers for the office had asked the Supreme Court to review a decision rendered earlier this year by the 2nd District Court of Appeals, which ruled that Petticrew’s son, Thomas S. Flegge, was entitled to a portion of the estate’s residue.
“We believe it’s clear that Mary Petticrew wanted, through her will, to carry on the charitable giving that was so important to her in her lifetime,” said Ted Hart, spokesman for the attorney general’s office. “We’re disappointed by the court’s decision.”
Petticrew, a longtime philanthropist and Alzheimer’s advocate, died last year at the age of 95.
The appellate court decision overturned a 2008 ruling by the Clark County probate court, which stipulated that a charitable trust had been created and that Flegge was not entitled to the residue.
“No charitable intent was defined, therefore no charitable provisions were made, since there was no charity ... the balance of the estate passes to her son and second husband,” said Flegge’s attorney, Dan Harkins.
Half of the $9 million residue has already been awarded to Petticrew’s second husband, Dr. Louis Bourekis. He wasn’t listed in her will, but filed a claim as the surviving spouse.
Stanley S. & Mary E. Petticrew Scholarship:
Mrs. Petticrew, Springfield, Ohio, an honorary alumna, established this scholarship in 1996 to honor the memory of her late husband and to assist Wittenberg students who are residents of Clark or Greene counties. Preference is given to those majoring in the natural sciences, mathematics, management, or pre-medical studies.