Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gold Found in the Garbage

WillsWhile this news would seem like a happy discovery, in this case it only raised more questions surrounding the events of the already bitter Rebecca Derzon estate dispute. The gold jewelry was found in trash bags in a dumpster belonging to the Derzon Coin Store, which belonged to the late owner Rebecca Derzon and her husband. The administrator of the estate, Ben Stern, stated that the jewelery was worth only a small fortune, considering that the estate is supposedly worth $3 million. The attorney for the sons of Rebecca Derzon, Kevin Demet, believes that the finding of jewelery is quite suspicious.

The hearing where this was revealed to the court was held after the administrator learned that close to $800,000 was missing from the store. The two women who took the funds were Lori Laatsch and Diane Mehalko. Laatsch and Mehalko claimed that the funds represented their personal share of the proceeds from the store. After the ladies returned the funds, the administrator closed the store until he could determine the value of the business. The two ladies that took these funds claim that they own most if not all of the business. Laatsch apparently owned 75% and Mehalko owned 25%, which they claim they received from Rebecca Derzon, the wife of the owner of Derzon Coin Store, in her will. Now, the two ladies have lost it all because the court has ruled that the will that granted them their share is void. The will in question that granted them their portion was signed just five months before the death of Rebecca. That same court reinstated the old will that gave her sons a portion of the estate. 

See Cary Spivak, Bags of Gold Found in Derzon Coin Garbage Bin, Journal Sentinel Online, Aug. 31, 2012.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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