What to do about a grand jury investigation into my handling of my mother’s estate?

I was the POA for my mother’s trust and a beneficary. I was also the executor to her Will and a 70% heir to the estate; my only brother was 30%. He sued to become her guardian but my mother died during the process and there were outstanding bills and nothing left to probate. Now I have been given a grand jury subpoena investigating me for theft and to produce records from my mom’s trust. There was no date was given to produce and my mom died over a year ago and the guardianship/probate was closed. I don’t have most of the documents anymore; they were shredded. Can I challenge the subpoena? And can the grand jury try to indict me alleging that I stole my inheritance?

Asked on July 4, 2012 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, you can't produce what you don't have.  If you know where copies are (like filed with a probate court, or with an attorney that handled the probate), you may want to advise the grand jury of where they can get the requested documents.  Second, as far as indicting you... it will depend on the evidence presented to the grand jury.  If they feel they have enough evidence to move forward, then yes they can indict you -- even if many of the documents have been lost or shredded.  If you are not sure about how to respond to a question or a request for certain records, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney in your area.  Many will charge a nominal fee for a consultation relating to a grand jury sub-- getting help at this point to fight the charges is easier than trying to fight them after indictment.


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