Probate Court clerk: 'We've come a long way' since 2011 audit - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Probate Court clerk: 'We've come a long way' since 2011 audit

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Boyd says he made other changes on his own like stopping his office from being overcharged $10,000 per year for mail. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Boyd says he made other changes on his own like stopping his office from being overcharged $10,000 per year for mail. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - A follow-up audit of Shelby County's troubled Probate Court reveals the division still has money oversight issues. But the clerk says he made major progress turning around an archaic court division.

Clerk Pail Boyd says the division wasn't even web-based before he took over. The 2011 audit was 17 pages long; this year, it was eight pages. Boyd says the division made huge strides, but it still has more to go.

In November 2011, WMC Action News 5 told you about a scathing audit that revealed Probate Court suffered from a pervasive lack of money oversight.

The cash drawers are now sealed, but a new follow-up audit says some problems prevail, like a short staff.

"The people we have do a great job and they get the job done, but it would be safer to have one more person, two more people," said Probate Court Clerk Paul Boyd.

Boyd says the court distributes $26 million in assets to people who cannot manage their own estates, because they are either senior citizens, children, or deceased.

The latest audit says among the high risk problems are variances between court records and bank records.

But, it has significantly improved.

"The money was always accounted for. The difference was always just interest. There was interest we had not put on our books, but the bank had put on their books," said Boyd.

Also at high risk is the lack of investigating why bank balances are different than the court's bookkeeping records.

Boyd welcomes the auditor's suggestion to establish a reconcilement record, "The auditor is there to be a second set of independent eyes to find out where you can do better."

Of medium risk, when someone dies, the new audit says the court is not passing the money along to beneficiaries.

"We don't have the manpower to find out who the beneficiary is or find out where this person is," he explained.

Another low risk challenge is the need for tighter procedures to protect sealed and mental health cases.

Boyd says he made other changes on his own like stopping his office from being overcharged $10,000 per year for mail.

His next steps are to go paperless and start e-filing.

The issue will be discussed at Wednesday's Shelby County Commission meeting.

To read the 2011 audit, click here: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/probateaudit2011.pdf

To read the 2014 follow-up audit, click here: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/probateaudit2014.pdf 

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