Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi Damien. Thanks. My parents have a will. I have not seen it. I believe that I can access the will via probate court, correct? I live out of state, so guardianship is a bit tough. Also my parents are living with my sister and she does not give me direct contact with my parents. There is over a million dollars in assets involved that have not been cleared up. My sister can be very aggressive with my parents. When I previously raised this with my parents, they just said "That's your problem with your sister."
Hi Martin: Your welcome. You can only access the Will prior to probate if they filed the Will with the Court. You can make an inquiry with the Court. If you believe that your sister's actions rise to the level of elder abuse, you can notify the authorities to investigate. Your parents seem to have their capacity. So, the claim you would have to make upon their demise is undue influence. You should document your attempts to get in touch with your parents. It is important for you to do so because most likely your sister will attempt to say that she was the one taking care of them and you abandoned them. i know you are in a tough situation. I hope this answer helps you. Best regards, Damien
Hi Damien. Thanks. I think you summed it up well saying this is a "tough situation" So just to sum it up
- I can inquire with the court about the will (assuming it was filed)
- Document my attempts to contact my parents
- Take action regarding the estate up their demise (both of them?) based on undue influence.
Just to add another couple details to the story:
My parents suffer from a chronic hoarding condition so there house has been a massive mess. On the other hand, I live abroad in Israel, so my sister has had a geographic proximity advantage. My parents did accept my sister's proposal to move in with her in a clear mental capacity.
Thanks Damien. So essentially, I could only take legal action following the demise of both parents, then I would have to present a case of undue influence. What about in the meantime with how my sister deals with major assets, like my parent's home? Would the value of the house also only be contestable following my parent's demise? Is there a way to block any sale of the house until the distribution of assets is settled?
Thank you. This has been very helpful and much appreciated. I have been very satisfied with your comments