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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3322
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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I am concerned about my friends mother who died in 2011 with

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I am concerned about my friend's mother who died in 2011 with no will in California. He cannot read or write and a man showed up saying he can help with probate on his mother's house. The man has collected monies but has not shown any proof with what he has done with it. He took my friend to a lawyer (the man is working with) and had him sign some papers. My friend did not get any copies. Before she died, his mother asked me to watch over him. My friend is 56 years old. The man said he has supposely set up an account in the Estate of my friend's mother but will not give any information about it (ie statements, account number). I think this man may have made himself administrator to the estate of my friend's mother. I don't know how we can find out if he did this. I am afraid this man may be up to something no good. Is there any way to find out if he made himself administrator. I am in the process of getting a durable power of attorney but not sure if this will help. My friend's only income is his social security due to his disability and cannot afford a lawyer. Thank you for your help.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 9 months ago.

LegalGems :

Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction! One moment please as I review your question.

LegalGems :

I am so sorry to hear of this. This sounds suspicious so I am glad you were able to find out it was occurring. Since there is no will the property would go via intestate succession, and the probate court in the county where his mother last resided would have jurisdiction. You can check with the court clerk to see if a probate has been opened in her name. This is public record. It will state who the personal representative is. However, if there is a probate proceeding pending, her son, as next of kin, should have been notified.

LegalGems :

Also, as heir, he would be entitled to an accounting and inventory of all assets.

LegalGems :

Do you have the name of the attorney?

LegalGems :

You can enter his/her name here: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/MemberSearch/QuickSearch If the person is NOT licensed, you can still file a complaint with the state bar - they will go after people who practice without a license.

LegalGems :

Are you able to review the above?

Customer:

Thank you. I can find out who it is. If this man is the administrator/personal representative, is there any way to remove him and replace him with someone else? I know my friend did not know what he was doing when signing those papers whatever they were for. (I hoping it wasn't making this man the administrator). My friend also has a brother who his mother thought had died (he is still alive) and not been in touch for many years. She died not knowing he was alive. This man said he had gotten in touch with the brother supposely. I just want to get rid of him because he has made threats about not getting his monies.

LegalGems :

Yes, the son can petition to have him removed, particularly if there is any wrongdoing (and the individual can be held accountable under a breach of fiduciary duty action - generally damages are for reimbursement of any mismanaged funds).

LegalGems :

The whole thing sounds quite suspicious. I would check this out first thing Monday morning.

LegalGems :

Here is a directory of courts - you need to check in the county where she last resided: http://www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm

LegalGems :

Did you have any other questions?

Customer:

Fantastic! Will a durable power of attorney to take care of my friend's finances, etc..help if I was was to get one and get it recorded? I just want to make sure if anyone else attempts to take advantage of him (try to become administrator of his mother's estate) that they would have to go through me. I am trying to find a lawyer who can do pro bono work, or get compensated after the estate is settle (hopefully we can pay him that way). I also found out the lawyer has several firms but don't know if he is trying to take advantage of the situation.

LegalGems :

Ok - if the lawyer is doing anything unethical, the state bar will sanction him if a complaint is filed.And there is a client restitution fund so that the client can recover any monetary damages resulting from the misconduct. One moment please.

LegalGems :

The POA will allow you to stand in your friend's shoes for legal proceedings, so that will be helpful. I was trying to get you a free sample but can't find one that is uncopyrighted. It does not need to be filed - you would just give a copy to any relevant parties (people that would need to know you are the legal representative for him).

LegalGems :

You mentioned he's disabled. You can contact Area on Aging in your county, as they provide free legal services to the disabled and to seniors.

LegalGems :

http://c4a.info/

Customer:

Great! I will do that. We don't know the situation of his mother's house. The man has given us different stories that it was paid off, that she has insurance policies, etc. But, there was a notice this past summer that shows the bank saying the house is in arrears for around $27,000 and some mentioned about foreclosure. I want to try and keep him in the house. I think this man may be attempting to do some kind of quick sale scam as an administrator. Can he do that?

LegalGems :

If he is actually the administrator he would have the authority to do so. However, that is a process and so if you intervene, it can be prevented - i.e. by having him removed as administrator. Property sales need to be approved by the court, also;; so there would be some court oversight. (there needs to be an appraisal, a hearing, etc).

Customer:

One last question, my friend has roommates that give him monies only to cover the utilites and repairs for the house. My friend has not paid any mortgage payments since his mother past away. The "man" has gotten some of the monies to go to the account for the estate of his mother (so he says) and pay the electric bill. I take some of the monies to cover the other utilities he doesn't take care of. He has threatened me and said I could go to jail for doing that. Is this true?

LegalGems :

No. Not if it's going to expenses of the house and you are paying them on his behalf, with his consent.

Customer:

Oh yes, The man did mention that he was going to have an "inspector" come by the house. Don't know what kind, he didn't say.

LegalGems :

Likely an appraiser.

Customer:

Ok. Thank you very much. You have been very helpful. I will check with the court first thing Monday so I can get him out of our lives!

LegalGems :

Perfect. Good luck with this. I'm glad you were aware of this. Take care.

Customer:

Is there a way to make a comment on how you assisted me after my situation is taken care of?

LegalGems :

Thank you - that is kind. The site administrators actually send out a survey-if you could complete that it is greatly appreciated as that affects our rankings, so to speak.

Customer:

Ok. I will do that. I was thinking more of when we get everything done with the court and how your help made it possible. If not, Just your help today was a big relief. I won't be afraid of this man anymore.

LegalGems :

Oh thank you! No, not really. But I was glad to assist you today.

Customer:

Good bye, Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

LegalGems :

You too. Take care.

LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3322
Experience: Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
LegalGems and 5 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  LegalGems replied 9 months ago.
I hope you found the information I provided useful and that the probate process goes quickly for your friend. Be sure and check out your local area on aging. Many thanks for the generous bonus.
Future requests can be labeled "TO LEGAL GEMS" followed by your question.

Thanks, and take care!

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