Probate Problems: S.A. woman named in will denied her fair share


by Dillon Collier


Posted on April 25, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 25 at 11:10 AM

SAN ANTONIO -- Four years after the death of Ardella Baker, the fight over her assets rages on.

Baker died in May 2010 at the age of 85.

She left her west San Antonio home and a small amount of money to her nine nieces and nephews and a foster daughter named Rosemary Mascorro.

However, Rosemary never received her share of Ardella's estate.

According to Rosemary, the two women knew each other 37 years.

Ardella made it a point to include Rosemary in a will written 20 years before Ardella died.

But when the will went through Bexar County Probate Court in late 2010, Rosemary was not included in it.

Court records indicate Rosemary's whereabouts were listed as "unknown".

Rosemary called that assertion troubling, during a recent interview with the I-Team, since she's lived in San Antonio her entire life and at her current address for decades.

"I just want the wishes that Ardella wanted to come through. That's what I want," said Rosemary, who said she has received anonymous threats since coming forward to contest the will.

"I think she has a valid claim to make," said local attorney William Wilson, who agreed to review the case since he is not associated with it.

An attorney representing Ardella's niece Dorothy Hamilton, the executor of Ardella's will, did not return several calls in recent weeks.

The KENS 5 I-Team attempted to speak with Hamilton outside her home.

She declined to address the dispute during a brief, expletive filled response.

The I-Team discovered Dorothy and her husband filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy several years after Dorothy was named executor of the will.

Additionally, court records released to the I-Team indicate at least one other person named in the will has publicly accused Dorothy of trying to falsify receipts and attempting to name herself as a beneficiary on Ardella's life insurance policies.

An attorney for Bexar County Probate Court said letters accusing Dorothy of wrongdoing have been forwarded to her attorney.

Ardella's home has not been sold, despite several people named in the will signing over their shares to Dorothy in recent years.

Bexar County tax assessor records indicate Rosemary is now listed on the deed to the home, even though she was not awarded her share.

Rosemary has hired an attorney, who filed a pleading with the court to reexamine the will April 7.

KENS 5 asked if viewers had questions about probate law. Click here for Wilson's answers.