Auntie Julie: Murdered? Part IV
I wasn’t in the funeral director’s office when this took place, so I’ll have to relay what my mother told me. Remember, at this point we still had no idea how large Auntie Julie’s estate was.

The funeral director took my mother aside and said, “We need to see you in office.”

Thinking he had questions about the funeral procession or flower placement, my mother went with him. Slobodan, Jozia and her cousin, son of Slobodan, were in there waiting for her.

She sat down and Slobodan thrust a check at her. It was worth roughly $4 thousand and she was the payee.

“Julie took out an insurance policy with you as the beneficiary, since you were her godchild,” Slobodan informed her. “Her wishes were for you to use it to help defray the cost of the funeral. Just sign it over to the funeral home”

“It’s true,” Jozia interjected. “I heard her.” The funeral director fixed his eyes on my mom, waiting.

My mom, in a daze from the whirlwind of activities she had gone through the past couple of days, poised a pen over the back of the check, ready to sign it.

But then, her knowledge of funerals past kicked in. “Wait,” she said. “Until the estate is settled, the executor pays the expenses and then the remainder gets divided up according to the deceased’s wishes.”

She turned to Son of Slobodan. “What does the will say?” she asked him, because the last she heard, he was the executor.

Son of Slobodan merely shrugged his shoulders and pointed to his father.

“Wait a minute!” my mom exclaimed. “Since when are YOU executor? I don’t like this. I’m not signing ANYTHING. I want [my sister] in here!”

Auntie D (mom’s sister) was summoned and the situation was explained to her. Auntie D backed up my mom, and reiterated that the executor pays expenses out of the estate until it is settled.

They all sat glaring at one another until Son of Slobodan spoke up. “They’re right, dad. The executor pays out of the estate.”

Slobodan angrily snatched the check back, and they all exited the office, my mom shaken and my aunt incredulous.

It suddenly became clear why Slobodan and Jozia were being so cheap about the flowers and the casket; they didn’t even want to spring for the mushroom barley soup at the Polish restaurant across from the cemetery. (We have all our funeral luncheons there. That soup is the only thing that takes the edge off the grief!)

When my mom returned to the wake, we could tell something was horribly wrong. We were all stunned when she told us what had happened. We knew the Slobodan family was very materialistic; we just didn’t know the depths of their depravity before.

And that was before we knew the estate was worth in excess of $1 million, making Slobodan’s grab for that last $4 thousand all the more deplorable.
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