The son of the late actor-director Terry Becker is suing his 84-year-old mother for allegedly diverting family trust assets for her own benefit, as well as that of her new husband.
Joseph Becker, whose dad portrayed Chief Petty Officer Francis Sharkey on 71 episodes of the 1960s ABC series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” filed the petition Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
He seeks the removal of his mother, Erlinda Becker, from her role as trustee of the Terry and Erlinda Becker Family Trust and is asking to be named the successor trustee. He also wants an accounting of the trust’s assets from the time of his father’s death at age 93 on Dec. 30, 2014, to the present.
A representative for Erlinda Becker could not be immediately reached.
According to the petition, the Beckers established the family trust in October 1989, and Erlinda Becker became the sole trustee when her husband died. Although the trust gives their daughter Anna the opportunity to do so, she has declined to serve as a co-trustee, according to her brother’s petition.
Erlinda Becker was required to divide the trust estate into three subtrusts — a decedent’s trust, a survivor’s trust and an insurance trust — after her husband died, but failed to do so, according to the petition.
The Beckers obtained a reverse mortgage totaling $938,250 on the Los Angeles home where they resided before the actor died, the petition states. Erlinda Becker has since spent nearly all of that money, despite the fact that the decedent’s trust is entitled to $469,125 under community property laws, according to the petition.
In December, Erlinda Becker “purportedly” married the man she had hired four months earlier as her driver, the petition states. Two days later, she transferred the Los Angeles home to herself and her new spouse as trustees of a newly created trust, according to her son’s petition.
Her late husband, in addition to appearing on “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” directed and produced episodes of the ABC series “Room 222.”
—City News Service