The family of Helen Plummer finally hashed out a settlement agreement Wednesday that leaves Plummer's money to her daughter and great-grandchildren, cutting out administrative fees that Council on Aging Executive Director Tasha Clark-Amar stood to collect under the will as originally written.
Plummer died at age 95 in March 2017. A will that she signed in July 2016 at the Southern University Elder Law Clinic named Clark-Amar as the executrix and trustee of Plummer's estate, which allowed Clark-Amar to collect around $120,000 in administrative fees over the course of 20 years. Plummer was a client of the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging.
Shortly after Plummer's death, her family publicly disputed her will. They accused Clark-Amar of using her position of power to unduly influence Plummer and take advantage of her. Plummer, they said, was a frugal woman who never would have directed so much money to someone outside of her family.
Clark-Amar maintained that she and Plummer had a close friendship. Southern University Law Professor and Elder Law Clinic Director Dorothy Jackson wrote the will, and a series of documents from Southern show Jackson saying that Plummer specifically wanted to exclude her children and grandchildren from receiving money from her estate. Jackson told faculty members at Southern that Plummer did not trust her grandchildren with her money.
The state Inspector General's office has issued at least five subpoenas in an investigation into the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging's execu…
After Plummer's family went public with their grievances against Clark-Amar and Jackson, the two tried to disentangle themselves from the case. Clark-Amar asked to be removed as executrix and trustee, while Jackson asked to be removed as the attorney for the estate. Clark-Amar also filed a defamation lawsuit against Plummer's family. A number of agencies are investigating Clark-Amar and Jackson's behavior, including the Office of State Inspector General.
Plummer's family went to court Wednesday to try to change the will to what they believe she would have wanted. The process of agreeing on a settlement was a lengthy one, largely because the case was originally assigned to Clark-Amar's mother, state Judge Janice Clark.
Clark did not recuse herself from overseeing the settlement agreement until eight months passed, media attention mounted and state Judge Don Johnson threatened to file a judicial complaint against her.
Eight months after she was first assigned the case, state District Court Judge Janice Clark has recused herself from a legal matter related to…
On Wednesday, retired 18th Judicial District Judge William Dupont signed off on the settlement agreement. He was filling in for 19th Judicial District Judge William Morvant, Plummer's family said. The settlement will return to Johnson for a final approval, as Johnson has overseen Plummer's succession.
"I don't think the will was my grandmother's wishes," said Plummer's granddaughter, Tracie Davis, on Wednesday as she stood outside of a 19th Judicial District courtroom. "The settlement looks like what she would have wanted done."
Plummer's original will left three beneficiaries: two minor great-grandchildren and an adult grand-niece. She asked for her estate to be split into three separate shares, while Clark-Amar would also have been paid out of a trust. Attorney David Koch, who was appointed executor of the estate in place of Clark-Amar, valued Plummer's estate at more than $650,000. The estate includes two homes, savings accounts and more.
The settlement agreement allows the adult grand-niece to receive $100,000 from Plummer's estate, while trust funds will be set up for Plummer's great grandchildren to receive $60,000 apiece.
At least 11 wills that Southern University Law professor Dorothy Jackson drafted between 2013 and 2016 included a phrase in which she named he…
The biggest change to the will is the new inclusion of Plummer's daughter, Jacquelyn Antoine, who was originally excluded entirely from Plummer's will. The settlement agreement allows Antoine to keep Plummer's two homes in Baton Rouge and New Orleans and the remainder of Plummer's estate that does not go to the great-grandchildren.
Davis disputed that the values of the homes are as high as Koch estimated, given that the Baton Rouge home flooded in August 2016 and still has not been repaired.
Neither Davis, nor her brother Dan Freeman, will receive money through the new arrangement, though they will oversee the trusts set up for their children. Davis said the length of time it took to reach the settlement and have a judge agree to it left a bitter taste in her mouth.
"This has been ridiculous and it was costly," she said.
An unsigned court petition is delaying a settlement agreement in the long-running estate case of Helen Plummer which enveloped the East Baton …