Published On: Tue, May 10th, 2016

LETTER: Council slaps my husband in the face


Yesterday, Thursday, May 5, the majority of Council members voted to revoke only one small portion of Bill J. Ledford’s will.  They accepted the will except for the part where Bill left me a life estate in the home we had shared since 1998.

Thanks to inaccurate reports by a certain family member that the house was run down and abandoned and that I was using the house solely as a business, most Council members were quick to set aside the wishes of the deceased.  Never mind the fact Bill carefully followed North Carolina and tribal laws to create a valid will in 2007, in which he mentioned the gift of a life estate specifically. Never mind the valid actions of Tribal Court to approve the will and close his estate. Never mind the fact Bill knew certain family members would cause trouble but went to his grave knowing he had done things right to prevent any potential questions about his will.

No.  All the trouble Bill went through to make things “right” didn’t matter to most Council members yesterday.  They chose, instead, to treat his wishes and the document itself like toilet paper to be thrown away.  What Council did was meant, I am sure, to be a grand show of power and a simultaneous slap in my face.  What they did, however, was a slap in my handsome husband’s face.

After all Bill J. Ledford did as a public servant for Cherokee and all its communities for countless years, to be treated like this in death is as ridiculous as it is disgusting. In essence, it was the most blatant form of disrespect I’ve ever seen.

I would invite anyone to come and look at the home.  For two and a half years since his passing,  I have paid people to keep the yard mowed. I have made improvements and paid all the bills.  I have lived in the house and I still do.  So, if you hear otherwise please think again.

Also, you may wish to consider whether following the legal requirements for a will is worth your while.  According to Council, they get to decide your wishes.

In conclusion, while they may take everything away from me, they will never take away the 16 years of memories and love I shared with the one and only Bill J. Ledford.


April Ledford