Three of Chambers’ children are asking to be the executor of his estate | State and region
The Raleigh County Commission is considering separate applications by three of Madrith Chambers’ five children to be executors of her estate.
Chambers, the prominent citizen of Beckley and the late distinguished West Virginian honored by Governor Jim Justice, died Dec. 17 at the age of 86 and did not leave a will or name an executor until her death. dead, according to one of his children. .
Chambers lived in Beckley with his daughter, Jennifer Chambers, but had moved in with his son Patrick Bennett and his fiancée, Shavonne English-Smith, according to attorneys’ statements. His intention was to return to live in his house with Jennifer.
During her time with Bennett, however, Chambers fell and broke her hip. She underwent surgery and died two days later, according to statements given to the commission by Brandon Gray, an attorney for Chambers’ daughter, Stephanie Rosario, of California.
Bennett’s attorney Robert Dunlap, who also sits on Beckley Common Council, said that several days before his death, Chambers had signed legal documents that gave Bennett general and medical powers of attorney.
Dunlap was Chambers’ lawyer and personal friend.
Chambers did not make a will, nor did he name an executor of his estate, Dunlap said.
According to Dunlap, however, Chambers had stated that she wanted Bennett to be her executor.
Chambers was the mother of five children: Rosario, 63; Bennet; Gregory Bennett; Shari Chambers-Austin; and Jennifer Chambers.
She was a former council member of Beckley Common Council, where she led efforts that led to the annexation of the Red Brush district to the city limits, community policing and the establishment of the Kids Classic Festival.
In 2020, Governor Jim Justice named her a “Distinguished West Virginian”, the highest honor a governor can bestow on a West Virginian.
Along with Bennett, Jennifer Chambers and Rosario petitioned the Commission to name them executor of Chambers’ estate.
Dunlap asked the Commission to honor Patrick’s request, saying Patrick made the original request.
At the regular Commission meeting on Tuesday, commissioners heard the 911 call made by Patrick and Shavonne to request an ambulance after Chambers fell.
Gray, Rosario’s attorney, said Bennett informed hospital staff that Chambers had fallen “at home,” which was on her death certificate. Gray said she fell at Bennett’s.
“The injury happened, actually, to Mr. Bennett or his girlfriend,” Gray said. “It wasn’t her house.
“It creates a conflict of interest,” Gray said. “He cannot represent the estate because he has a conflict of interest, because it happened at his home.”
Gray said that “there is personal injury” that occurred in Bennett’s home and mentioned “wrongful death”. Dunlap countered that Bennett did not intentionally provide false information.
“I imagine that in a moment of grief and upheaval, he said his mother died ‘at home,'” Dunlap said. “Where is his house? He gave her his home address.
Chambers had chosen Bennett to handle her financial affairs, Dunlap said, and she trusted him.
Rosario approached the commission and asked to be Chambers’ executor. She said Chambers made a will and sent it to her in California and asked Rosario to be the executor.
The will was not at City National Bank, Rosario said, and she did not have a copy. She said she would move to West Virginia to take care of Chambers’ estate. She had been unable to attend her mother’s funeral due to her children’s and grandchildren’s holiday plans and Covid restrictions.
Dunlap said Chambers had no will.
Commission Chairman Dave Tolliver said county prosecutors will continue to investigate the Chambers children’s claims.
“There are a lot of things our lawyers have to go through,” he said.
He said the Commission could make a decision as early as April 5.
“I knew your mom,” Tolliver added. “She was a very good lady. Very good lady, so we will do our best, by April 5, to make a decision on that.
In other actions:
- The Commission appointed Rebecca Calloway and James Songer to the Zoning and Appeals Board.
- The Commission accepted a $20 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) for use at Raleigh County Memorial Airport.
- The Commission has approved construction of an airport access road for Glockner, a company that brings 100 better-paying jobs to the area, Tolliver said. The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) will provide $1.5 million in funds while the EDA will match, for a total of $3 million for the construction of the road.
- Senator Rollan Roberts briefed the commission on his work in Charleston, saying he had secured approval for a 90-bed veterans’ retirement home to be built in Beckley and named in honor of the late Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dennis Davis, a longtime supporter of the retirement home. Davis died of Covid in January 2021, prompting Roberts to pursue the honorary nomination.
- Roberts also reported that a new law in West Virginia will expand oral health care to residents, which may contribute to better heart health.