Here's a partial transcription of the letter (as I'm to understand it; it was dictated to me over the phone by my father, James Cosgrove on 9 July 2013):
Bank of America
San Diego District Trust Office
PO Box 1631
San Diego, CA 92112
Mrs. Victor Wersel
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
Elmhurst National Bank
Mr. M. W. Huey
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
June 23, 1966
Enclosed is our trust ….[redacted]
In the matter of the Trust of Estella A. Wersel: [redacted]...you will receive a 1/27th share of the Trust. The cost basis was determined on July 9th 1956 the date of her death.
[Letter was signed by]
H E Johnson, Jr
Bond form number #1083567 (list of assets)
[Signed by] Sally Cuff
I 'know' that, according to two separate sources (unknown to one another), the person who wrote the original Trust for Estella Anna Wersel did so with a potentially nefarious intent. He was, again according to both of these sources, a 'cousin' or 'relative' of Stella Wersel's. The fact that the document ensured that Stella's long time companion, Stella Piper, was cared for until her death was a bit of a surprise. However, I have to believe the bigger surprise was the fact that, although Stella Piper was two years Stella Wersel's senior, she lived nearly 10 years longer and was 92 years old when she died in 1965.
It was only because a fairly well-to-do relative (my grandmother's sister-in-law) had hired an attorney in San Diego to follow up with regard to the Estate that my family even learned there WAS an estate. The attorney notified the Bank that there were living heirs and provided contact information for my grandmother and relatives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I was able to uncover that the same person who wrote the original Trust also made arrangements for Stella Piper, and that he'd written a 'no obituary, no service' clause in her Will. This seemed strange to me at the time I found out (through the Funeral home that took care of her body) and I don't know (and doubt we'll ever find out) whether Stella really knew he'd done this. What I do know is that, by eliminating the obituary and any services that a notice would've been published for, it would've been close to impossible for the relatives outside of California to know of Stella's passing and thus the disbursement of the Estate. I've come to believe that he intended to passively keep Stella Piper's passing secret, which would ensure the Estate (which I've heard from different sources was between $100,000 - $1,000,000 in 1966) would have gone to him as the 'sole' living heir. Obviously, this is entirely conjecture on my part, which is why I have not named this person. It is also entirely possible that he was simply following the wishes of the Stellas and that he would have contacted the family eventually.
So, the $64,000 question, no pun intended, is this:
Would some record of to who the Trust was distributed exist?
In 1966 California, would a notice have been posted in a newspaper to allow the heirs time to contact the Bank, or would it have been the Bank's obligation to locate all living heirs?
Does anyone from California know if BofA has an archives where these documents might reside?
Would there be ANY court records of this transaction, either when the Trust was originally enforced after 9 July 1956 or after the death of the first beneficiary in 1965? (Note: Orange and L.A. Probate records were checked and no record was found.)
Am I EVER gonna get my hands on any evidence from Estella's estate?