#brandonslaw Help thousands of grieving families

#brandonslaw Help thousands of grieving families

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A grieving mom started this petition to State Representative Anna Kelles and

This petition is to enable writing a Will more accessible to EVERYBODY. There is no reason the cost should be so much. If more people had a Will - stories like mine could be prevented....

My story begins January 10th, 2020. That is the day I tragically lost my son to an ATV accident. scl1001

Despite the devastation and grief, I stepped up and took initiative knowing my son had a lot of things that needed to be taken care of. I began making all the phone calls – documenting everything (times, dates, person spoke to and so on). I called and cancelled credit cards, contacted the policy for the ATV (there was still a lot of money owed for the ATV), CFCU which holds his truck loan, TCTC which owned his home-owners loan, and many more. With the help of my husband, the arrangements with the funeral parlor where made, the cremation was set up, and death certificates where purchased, etc. I was doing all the necessary things one does after her single son passes away, up to the point that no one would talk to me any more until I was appointed Administrator of his estate.

Let me tell you a bit about my son. Brandon has been working on cars most of his life alongside my husband who started teaching him at a very young age. At the age of 15 he was able to change a motor. He was always out in the garage working on something. He and my husband rebuilt a 1984 Monte Carlo. Mechanics quickly became Brandon’s passion and he excelled at it. After graduating Ithaca high school Brandon went on to Alfred State and studied Automotive. From there he worked at numerous repair shops around the Ithaca area gaining experience and more knowledge. He ultimately began working at Maguire Automotive where he became the youngest team leader in the entire history of Maguire. Eventually Brandon ended up at Williams Toyota of Elmira for the last 8 months of his life.

Brandon purchased a home for himself back in July of 2012, at the very young age of 24 years old. Brandon was very educated and mature, he had a lot of dreams. Brandon bought the house all on his own finances and credibility. The property he purchased included a garage which he began working out of until it unfortunately burnt down. He then had a heated concrete pad poured and a brand new building put up, and added a lift for vehicles. Brandon has an extensive collection of very expensive mechanic tools.

Brandon dated a few different girls over the years and always introduced them to mom! He went on to meet a girl named Megan. Prior to meeting Brandon, Megan had a child named Lilliana. She was only about 3 months old when Megan and Brandon met. After a bit Brandon moved Megan and her daughter Lilly into his house. Brandon took care of Lilly in all aspects of a father figure. Brandon bought diapers and formula and took care of Lilly and played with her. A short time later Megan became pregnant with Brandon’s child and along came Piper Rose. Brandon made sure I was the first one to hold Piper when she was born (after him of course). Piper is the only biological child Brandon has. Brandon was so proud to be Pipers daddy! Brandon was a very hard working, devoted, loving, caring, and very involved father to say the least!

Brandon and Megan’s relationship eventually changed. Megan never had much motivation to grow up or be self-reliant in any way. Up until Brandon moved her into his house, she had always lived with her dad and he supported her and Lilly. Megan’s lack of maturity was in fact a lot of the initial problem between her and Brandon. Megan would not help Brandon keep the house clean nor would she help cook any meals. She also did not work, until more recent years when she started working for a company where she became a care giver to elderly folks. A short time later she quit working for that company but kept working for one of the clients that the company had. She would get paid ‘under the table’.

Megan began cheating on Brandon so he began seeing another woman. It was a rocky relationship thereafter. Megan and the kids moved back in with her dad. Brandon still remained involved with both girls. Having them over for visits, going to Lilly’s games at school, taking Lilly to school. Brandon even bought a plant for the girls to give Megan on mother’s day one time when I was there. Just because that was the kind of guy Brandon was.

Megan however was making it difficult for Brandon to see Lilly. Megan would tell him he was not her biological father so she did not have to let him see her. Megan was having issues with her car and Brandon refused to fix it. Megan spoke with me about it and said she told Brandon he had to fix it because both his girls ride in it. I would just listen and not get involved.

Megan became involved with one of Brandon’s friends. That relationship lasted almost a year. When that guy ended it with Megan she started trying to ‘hang out’ at Brandon’s house all the time. She would show up quite frequently unannounced and just walk right in to his house. There was times when my husband and I were at Brandon’s house and Megan would show up to drop Piper off and just stay. Brandon spoke with Megan and told her it is not ok for her to just show up and walk in his house. Also he did not want her hanging out for long periods when she came there. They both agreed they could not trust one another but eventually Brandon felt it made it easier to see both Piper and Lilly if he let Megan “hang out”. Their relationship was never the same thereafter.

Then the accident happened and Brandon was gone. I told Megan her and the girls could live in my son’s house. 2 days after my son passed away Megan had not moved in yet, but she was there with her sister going through Brandon’s file cabinet taking pictures with her phone of Life Policies and other stuff. She had also told me her and her sister had gone in to Brandon’s ‘stash drawer’ where he always kept anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 in cash. She said it was empty.

Megan and the kids then moved into my son’s house along with my daughter and grandson as well. My daughter ended up putting all the utilities in her name as Megan took no initiative to do any of that. Megan shortly thereafter quit her job. She is still currently not working. She was asked to come back to work with the elderly gentleman but did not. They would call her and she just simply ignored all calls from them - that shows her maturity level.

I went for representation to become administrator of my son’s estate on behalf of Piper Rose. Piper and I have always been very close and she often spend weekends at my house since she was born. Megan began making excuses for me not to see the kids. It wasn’t until a short while later it became clear why she was doing this. My lawyer eventually received an email from her lawyer saying she was filing for Administration on behalf of Piper Rose Chaffee as her legal guardian. The email included accusations against me, stating I was stealing from my son, harassing and intimidating Megan and that if I stepped foot on my son’s property law enforcement would be involved. It also insinuated I was jeopardizing my visits with Piper, my son’s only daughter. Keep in mind this entire time I am dealing with the loss of my son, emotionally and mentally. I am completely devastated and just going through the motions of existing. Could things get worse for me? Losing my son and all these false accusations. And now being threatened not to see my granddaughter. I trusted Megan!

All this time I thought Megan and I were very close. I thought we got along great. I thought we had an excellent relationship. At one point I even tried to get her a job at my work place, but she passed it down saying she probably should not take it because her and Brandon where not together and it would be awkward.  When she would come to my house we would sit at the kitchen table and talk forever prior to my son passing. I was including her in on everything I had been doing after my son passed away. I invited her to the funeral parlor when we went there and then we let her and my daughter pick out the Urn. We talked extensively about EVERYTHING. I even tried to get her to come with me to my Lawyers office when I went to file for Administrator so she was very aware I was doing this.

Low and behold Megan was granted administrator for the simple fact ‘by law’ she is Pipers legal guardian. Yet another blow for me.

In my heart I believe Megan will not do the right thing and make sure Piper gets everything she is entitled to. My son did not put any Life Policies in Megan’s name. My son did not put any retirement Policies in Megan’s name. All Policies where in mine and my husbands, his sister and Piper’s name. He did not entrust anything to her. But now she has everything of his except the policies that were specifically named to myself, my husband and his sister. She gets access to the policy in Piper’s name. This is due to the fact that Brandon did not write a will, I did not get a fair court hearing and the ‘Law’ is not justified by any means to today’s standards. This ‘law ‘enabled a single mom with 2 kids, that has no job, never lived on her own, has never been self-supporting let alone supported her 2 girls financially and who entirely relied on her dad except the brief period Brandon supported them, suddenly become in charge of my son’s entire estate that he worked so hard for. Surely there is someone more fit for the role of Administrator of my son’s estate other than Megan just because she is the legal guardian of Brandon’s only biological minor child.

I feel I was cheated of a fair court hearing in Tioga County NY, due to the whole Covid situation and all the restrictions because of Covid. The whole proceeding was done over the phone. The judge never spoke with Megan or myself. My lawyers filed the paper work and basically had to give an argument on my behalf in only a few paragraphs. How does someone become in charge of an entire estate just because they bared the child of the decedent? This to me makes no sense and this law is so matter of fact and vague. It needs to be changed. No mother should ever have to go through what I have been enduring for the past 11 months now. This Law needs to be re-evaluated as it is not fair by any means in today’s world with all these guys having children by different woman and never being married.  What if my son had more than one child and the other child/children had different mothers? Would that mean that all the mothers of his children could be in charge of his estate? Where is the justice? This is why I am telling you my story, I do not want it to be any other parent’s story. I will not stop until this ‘law’ is changed. Something needs to be done and soon.


Thank you for your time, I will be waiting patiently for your response!

Johanna Knapp

(Brandon’s mom)

150 Halseyville Rd.

Ithaca NY 14850

Decision and order File Number 2020-5021


0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!