Shocking Case Of Alleged Theft Of Rich Woman's Estate Dismissed
The Delaware Court of Chancery says the claims are time barred or collateral attacks on the wishes of the decedent.
A Master of the Delaware Court of Chancery this week dismissed a case involving a former teacher who created a program, ElderAssist, Inc., that gave her entree to inheriting $14 million from a childless wealthy woman.
According to court documents, Kimberly S. Fischer gradually gained control over the estate of Ellan Levitsky Orkin, who died in 2019 at the age of 99, cutting out family members and other original beneficiaries.
Orkin and her sister, Dorothy Levitsky-Sinner, who predeceased her in 2015, were both heroes.
The sisters served as registered nurses in the U.S. Army in combat zones during WW II, and were present at D-Day in Normandy France. They each received the French Legion Honor Medal in Washington, D.C. in 2012.
The petitioner in the case was their cousin, Tina Renee Rambo, who lived nearby and visited them frequently.
Can I Be An Adopted Daughter?
Rambo said she was introduced to Fischer in 1998, shortly after Fischer left a teaching position at Delaware Technical and Community College, formed ElderAssist, and offered to help the women.
“[Fisher’s] intention from the beginning was to ingratiate herself into these wealthy families, instill herself as an ‘adopted daughter’, and eventually gain control of their significant wealth, “ said Rambo.
In 2003, Orkin, in a handwritten codicil to her will, replaced a synagogue with Fischer as the recipient of a $10,000 specific bequest. Then, in another handwritten codicil, Orkin named Fischer to be her executor, replacing her family attorney.
Over the years, Orkin executed numerous new wills and trusts until the final versions were executed in April 18, 2017. At that point, Fisher’s share had increased to 37.8% of the trust, a specific bequest of $250,000 and “the entire residuary.” She inherited $14,000,000.00 from the estate.
Ups and Downs
While Fischer’s inheritance increased, Rambo’s inheritance “decreased, from her largest expectation of receiving 50% of the residuary, an estimated five to ten million dollars, to a $750,0000 specific bequest.”
Fischer had earlier become executrix of Orkin’s sister’s last will and successor trustee of her estate. Both sisters husbands predeceased them and both were childless. The sisters lived together in their later years.
According to Rambo, Fisher told the sisters that she was not close to her own mother and would not inherit from her family and asked therefore “if she could be part of their family instead.”
After Dorothy’s death in 2015, Rambo said Fischer isolated Orkin from friends and family by using her power of attorney. She said Fischer “assumed complete control” over Orkin’s life, monitoring her email and phone, and installing security cameras. She allegedly convinced Orkin that she did not have substantial wealth and needed to be frugal.
Rambo says Orkin began to decline mentally and physically after her sister died in 2015 and became “consistently depressed, crying in pain, repetitive, and incomprehensible.”
Master Selena E. Molina dismissed Rambo’s lawsuit in full, with prejudice (meaning she can’t refile it), on the grounds that most of her claims were “expressly time barred or seek a collateral attack on the Decedent’s uncontestable final wishes.”
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