VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - As the police investigation into a Virginia Beach man’s sudden death continues, NewsChannel 3 has learned that on April 4, the man’s girlfriend, Debbie Siers-Hill withdrew as a co-trustee in his estate plan.
The man, Fred Brooks, was pulled out of his home unconscious in February 2016. He died in the hospital less than 24 hours later.
Recently, family members of Fred Brooks accused his girlfriend of poisoning him to death in order to gain control of his estate.
The allegations were made in a lawsuit filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
Court records show Brooks’ estate plan was changed just nine days before his death, naming Siers-Hill as one of the co-trustees of his estate.
Siers-Hill denies the allegations.
The lawsuit sparked a police investigation, and around the same time Siers-Hill withdrew as a co-trustee, police raided Brooks’ home searching for evidence in his death. One on occasion, Siers-Hill was present and so was NewsChannel 3’s Merris Badcock.
When asked what she wanted the public to know, Siers-Hill told NewsChannel 3, “...there were three kids, who got one million dollars, and were making accusations falsely.”
Legal analyst Scott Alperin in Virginia Beach took a look at this case. He is not affiliated with the plaintiffs or the defendants.
Alperin told NewsChannel 3 a trustee (such as Siers-Hill) has fiduciary duty to execute a dying person’s last wishes. However, the trustee could always choose not to follow the wishes set forth in an estate’s trust.
“You could certainly breech your fiduciary duty by doing something that is contrary to the terms of the trust," said Alperin.
Brooks’ children question whether this happened in their father’s case. In the lawsuit, his three children allege Siers-Hill forged a document which left 72 percent of Brooks’ personal property to her.
NewsChannel 3 reached out to attorneys for Siers-Hill and Fred Brooks’ family, but neither party returned our phone calls. Virginia Beach Police did confirm that a criminal investigation surrounding Siers-Hill is still ongoing.
Court records show Brooks' family is expected back in court on Wednesday.