5 on Your Side helps 91-year-old keep her home

ST. LOUIS - Still grieving the sudden death of her son, a 91-year-old woman says she fears she'll be evicted from the house she's lived in for a dozen years. All because her son donated his estate to the St. Louis Shriners Hospital for Children.

Everywhere she looks, Effie Dugan is reminded of her late son, Wayne Ray. From his bible in the den, to his Corvette in the garage, to the flowers she bought for his memorial.

"Parents are supposed to die first. It didn't work out that way," said Dugan.

The 72-year-old died suddenly in February following a ruptured spleen.

"It was horrible," said Dugan, choking back tears.

In his will, the longtime Mason left his estate to the St. Louis Shriners Hospital for Children, including the house he owned and shared with his mother.

"I thought I would get to live here for the rest of my life because that's what Wayne had told me," she said.

Unfortunately, Wayne did not write that wish in his will. Soon, a letter from the Shriners came stating the house needed to be sold.

"He'd turn over in his grave," said the 91-year-old.

Dugan is beside herself.

"I started looking for apartments and crying. I didn't want to move," she said.

Despite ongoing letters between lawyers for her son's estate and Shriners Hospital, Dugan assumes she'll be kicked out.

But John McCabe, executive vice president at Shriners Hospitals for Children, tells 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush, "Absolutely not. We do not want her to leave the property. We want her to stay on the property and live out the rest of her life on that property."

It's a relief to the grieving mother who knows it's what her son would have wanted.

"He was a good boy," she said.

One option, according to the Shriners, is a life estate that will give Dugan ownership of the property until her death. Dugan says the lawyer for her son's estate never brought that up.

5 on Your Side's Mike Rush was able to find another estate lawyer in her area who has agreed to look at her case for free and the Shriners say they will do what it takes to keep her in her home.


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