The above is the first page of the documents from Cleo’s estate’s probate proceedings. I include it, not because it’s meaningful, which it clearly isn’t, but for the sake of being complete.
What follows is everything I have, placed in chronological order. At least, I tried to get it all ordered. If I find stuff I omitted by accident, I’ll insert those in the proper place. Because of the large number of images, I am breaking this into two separate posts.
This first group is the appraisal reports on Cleo’s various properties.
This is the first filing they made with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. This is not about income tax. It does not involve the IRS. It is about estate taxes and involves only the state of Pennsylvania.
There are numerous pages (schedules) marked with letters of the alphabet, and some supporting documents required by state law. As you can see, they had to file a copy of the will as well. I’m not including that because it’s already been posted earlier.
This is a second copy of Schedule A, which has the addition of the property valuation of the Department of Revenue (which, of course, is the final word). I assume this was generated after the original was filed, but I don’t know exactly when, so I’m including it here.
Please notice that there was a question about exactly how to value the sale of the farm to Bethel Baptist Church. That’s because it was a slightly odd situation.
The appraiser was trying to figure out exactly what portion of that agreement between Cleo and McIntire should be assigned to Cleo’s estate and thus subject to estate taxes. Cleo’s attorney thought about $83,000. The state said no, and came up with a larger figure.
This Schedule D seems to have been added later, as you can see. I’m putting it here just because it makes the whole “filing estate taxes” more complete. Cleo had loaned somebody $1400 and they stiffed her.
Here’s another addition. When these were found, they were added.
Below are the debts that Cleo owed at the time of her death plus the expenses associated with fiddling around tidying up her estate, disposing of her property, etc.
What follows is correspondence between the various parties involved over a couple of years.
Estates take a long time to probate, longer than most people realize. If you have more than one piece of real estate, it gets even longer. My dad’s estate wasn’t finalized for more than three years and it was relatively simple, not nearly as complicated as Cleo’s.
There is nothing unusual about the time element here.
By the spring of 1981, Flint (Cleo’s attorney) was getting a little impatient with the Department of Revenue. They had had the information filed for probably 18 months, and Flint had paid what he thought was the tax owed, yet there was no clearance letter. He knew there would likely be an amended amount owed and he was looking for that final bill and closure.
The clearance letter is required or the judge can’t proceed.
They go to some pains to explain the straw man situation to the Register of Wills. They’re adding in one more straw man name which, as Flint says, won’t amount to anything much, but it has to be done to make the whole affair complete.
What follows here is an accounting by Richard Harris of the estate funds. Keep in mind that Harris had to mess with this for, ultimately, five years. This filing was done a year previous to that, so it entails four solid years of expenses and earnings and bills paid and money taken in.
What I take away from this is that oh, my god, I want to avoid probate if possible and I really don’t want to serve as executor of anyone’s estate.
I would like to point out here that Cleo obviously provided Cathy with medical care. You have to wonder about why an evil woman like Cleo bothered to do that. Furthermore, it looks like routine medical care, well checks, maybe a visit for the flu. What I don’t see are any bills for physical therapy or bills from any specialists, you know, like a dermatologist to check on her supposed skin grafting, or anything like that. Maybe Cleo just paid all of those before she died, so they aren’t listed. Or perhaps Cathy healed very quickly and didn’t require long-term physical therapy. She didn’t have any physical therapy after she had the supposed bone-saving surgery on her arm due to her Stage IV bone cancer, so perhaps she’s just super-human like that.
Anyway, it is what it is.