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Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
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I would like to know if I can file harassment/stalking charges

Resolved Question:

I would like to know if I can file harassment/stalking charges against my older sister who is causing me great emotional distress. If so, how do I do this and what is the likely course of action that will take place.
I am a 65 year old woman who was named executrix for my mother's estate. I have two sisters, and one of them has not been happy with my performance since the day I took on the roll. We have a couple of estate attorneys who I have asked to take over communication, because it was so disturbing. I even had an attorney write her a letter to stop slandering/libelous statements about me (regarding my integrity, mainly).
She has been through three attorneys in less than a year (she fires all of them), and the estate attorneys know she is not paddling with both oars in the water. Consequently, they do not answer her emails at every beck and call.
All of a sudden she has started emailing me disturbing letters and sending them to other beneficiaries...demanding and 'bullying' me about what I need to be doing as executrix.
I would think the estate attorneys know what I should be doing and I'm following their advice, but they don't want to be involved in 'family issues.'
I firmly stated in this evenings email that she needs to stop communicating with me or I would seek charges of harassment and stalking against her. Could this be a solution?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide you excellent service.

You can file harassment charges against your sister to the extent she is sending unwanted emails or other communications not related to your obligations as executor.

This is especially true if she is threatening your safety or sending messages or calling for the sole purpose of bothering you and causing distress.

Contact the police. You can also bring it to the attention of the probate judge.

It is my privilege to assist you. Let me know if you need further information.  I hope I have helped you beyond your expectations in the service I have provided to you.  I am here for you.

Please remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested.

If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will happily answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to your situation, so please do not penalize me for having to deliver bad news.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Did you receive my reply or should I write it out again

Expert:  Loren replied 11 months ago.
I do not see a reply.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

You said, "You can file harassment charges against your sister to the extent she is sending unwanted emails or other communications not related to your obligations as executor."


All of the emails have to do with what I'm doing as an executor. It started out early on as challenges regarding whether or not I had forged the documents making me executor, and continued to her repeated and harassing emails to things that had answered and yet she kept pounding for us do things that we couldn't do. As an example, within days of my mother passing, she had written a letter stating what SHE wanted to be done...regardless of what the state of Pennsylvania said THEY wanted to have done. She wanted her money NOW, and tried to negotiate with the other beneficiaries to make that happen. It doesn't take much of this to see she is not paddling with both oars in the water. The estate attorneys no longer respond to her idiotic and continued and repetitive emails. She doesn't really want answers, because when we give her the answers, she is not happy and asks them again in a different manner. The worst part for me is the bullying she does by sending all of the beneficiaries an email, with me as a cc, and then starts talking to them about how I am cheating them all, and it's time for me to step out of the roll, etc. etc.


Just because it is about estate matters,does that disqualify her continual, repetitive, degrading emails from being harassment/stalking?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.


I've written it out twice already, and hit REPLY TO EXPERT but you obviously aren't seeing it...even though it appears to go through

Expert:  Loren replied 11 months ago.
Hi Charlene.

Sorry for the delay. I was out to dinner when you responded.

You can do as the attorneys do and just ignore her emails. You can also ask the probate judge to sanction her or prohibit her from harassing you.

If she is making false statements of fact about you to others you can sue her for defamation. Actually, you would start with a cease and desist letter to anyone making these false accusations.

If this does not get a retraction, you will need to file suit for defamation. This cause of action is specifically for damage caused to one's reputation. To establish a prima facie case of defamation, four elements are generally required:

1. a false statement purporting to be fact concerning another person or entity;

2. publication or communication of that statement to a third person;

3. fault on the part of the person making the statement amounting to intent or at least negligence; and,

4. some harm caused to the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.

This involves complex litigation and it is strongly advised that you retain local counsel to assist you in protecting your rights before taking any action in this matter.

If you need assistance in finding an attorney, contact your state or local bar association. You can also try Martindale Hubble. Many attorneys themselves use this site to locate attorneys outside their jurisdiction or expertise:
http://www.martindale.com/Find-Lawyers-and-Law-Firms.aspx

It is a huge worldwide database of attorneys searchable by location and specialty.

It has been my privilege to assist you. Let me know if you need further assistance.  I hope I have helped you beyond your expectations in the service I have provided to you.  I am here for you.

Please remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested.

If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will happily answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to your situation, so please do not penalize me for having to deliver bad news.

I hope this gives you some idea of your options. As the executor, you are in a power position and your sister has to abide by your authority or bring it to the attention of the probate court.

I hope this is helpful.

Thank you and sorry, again, for the delay in responding.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I already hired an attorney to write a letter to her about defamation. He is not eager to pursue it beyond that (the letter). The letter warned her to stop contacting me, and that if she had evidence of her accusations she needed to step forward and present it....her accusations after that point have been more of a question, rather than a statement..."i.e. some say you are using the funds of the estate improperly...what say you, Charlene."


That doesn't even bother me as much as the bullying. She has stated right out front she wants me removed and continues to say it and taunt the other beneficiaries for not joining in.


 


Regarding: Just because it is about estate matters,does that disqualify her continual, repetitive, degrading emails from being harassment/stalking?


So I think you are saying that I would not be able to file harassment or stalking charges because it is an estate matter, but I could ask the probate judge to sanction her or prohibit her from harassing me.

Expert:  Loren replied 11 months ago.
Yes, that is correct.
Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 20245
Experience: 30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
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