The former housekeeper of a deceased Abbotsford man who was a war veteran and founder of the local table tennis club has been ordered to pay back $110,000 in loans and other transactions to the man’s estate.
A civil lawsuit was filed in July 2021 by Lynette Church, the daughter of Harold (Andy) Anderson.
Anderson died of COVID-19 on Feb. 23, 2021 at the age of 95. He was the founder of the Abbotsford Table Tennis Club and had served as a driver and mechanic with the Royal Canadian Scottish Regiment during the Second World War.
In the notice of civil claim, Church stated that Mary Jean Seebach had neglected to pay back $110,000 after Anderson’s death. But Seebach argued she didn’t owe anything because the funds were a gift to her.
Church’s lawsuit stated that Seebach was hired to provide care for Anderson’s wife, Thelma, in 2014 until her death on Sept. 21, 2015.
Seebach was then hired to provide housekeeping services for Anderson, and she moved in with him temporarily in 2017, the claim states.
The documents also state that Seebach obtained a power of attorney to act on Anderson’s behalf in October 2018.
“During the last few years of life, the deceased became increasingly vulnerable and reliant on the defendant to manage his affairs and provide him with information and advice on his financial matters,” the documents state.
“The deceased entrusted and relied upon the defendant to act in his best interest and on his behalf.”
Church states in the claim that Anderson was assessed as “mentally incapable” by December 2020, and he was in and out of hospital that month and in January 2021.
Church stated that in March 2018, Anderson loaned $6,000 to Seebach to bring her sister to Canada and $5,000 in relation to her vehicle.
Church also said that in June 2020, $85,000 was transferred from Anderson’s accounts to Seebach “in relation to the purchase of a property that did not complete.”
None of the money was paid back, the documents state.
The lawsuit also said that Anderson’s accounts were used for “numerous transactions that were not to his benefit” in 2020 and 2021.
Church says her dad “lacked the capacity” to consent to these transactions.
She stated in the lawsuit that Seebach had been asked to account for the money transfers but she had “refused or neglected to account for any such funds.”
In his will, Anderson left $40,000 to Seebach, and the remainder of the estate was to be divided between Church and her sister.
In her response to the civil claim, Seebach denied that she owed anything, saying the money from Anderson was gifted or owed to her and was not a loan.
“Any financial transactions the defendant conducted on the deceased’s behalf were conducted at the direction of the deceased. The deceased had specific knowledge of these transactions,” the documents state.
Seebach’s claim said that the $85,000 transfer was for payment for the assistance she had already provided to Anderson and for future assistance, as well as money he gave her as a gift.
She said in the months leading up to Anderson’s hospitalization, his health did not appear to be deteriorating. Seebach said he drove himself to restaurants each day, organized tennis club meetings, attended Abbotsford Euchre Club meetings weekly, and attended the Abbotsford Legion two or three times a week.
She said Church had never requested an accounting of the financial transactions. She said she “always acted at the deceased’s instructions and in the deceased’s best interests.”
But the judge ruled on Jan. 19 of this year that Seebach owed Anderson’s estate $110,000, minus the $40,000 she was gifted in his will, leaving an amount payable of $70,000.
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