Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing Estate
law for 19 years and look forward to assisting you.
my 96 year old mother in law lived with us for two years. My husband is recovering from a 3 way bypass and I have serious health issues. During this time my husbands brother was no help at all. We just realized that taking care of her was too much for us. We thought the sister/daughter was going to take my mother in law for a few days while we figured out what to do, instead she just dumped her on the brothers doorstep. Nice.
She is 80% blind, and definitely cannot fend for herself. They leave her alone all day. Within two weeks they made an appointment with a lawyer, and made the brother the executor, then instead of splitting everything in thirds, has given him the more expensive property, plus put the daughter-in-law in the trust (who has never liked the mother in law) and my husband, who was the executor is now in 4th place. Its just so odd that the trust was fine for years, but once they got stuck with her, they got her to change everything. If you think that she is not of sound mind or able to assert her wishes for herself, you may be able to contest the transfers of her property or changes to her will once she passes and someone tries to enforce it.
More important, I want to know if it is legal to leave someone that age, being basically blind and deaf alone all day. That will depend on if she has chose it or not. I am assuming she just allows things to go along. Your option is to seek guardianship over her so you can make appropriate decisions for her care - presumably, that may include getting her into an assisted living or nursing home, since you indicate her needs are greater than you can provide, and apparently more than the sister or brother are willing or able to provide as well.
If she has assets, that can be used to put her into a decent place, if she doesn't, Medicaid can cover what her income (SS?) won't be able to cover. At least you can rest assured that she is being somewhat cared for (and the facility will be the deciding factor, some are terrible, so you will hope to get her into a decent place).
Also, they tried to keep her great granddaughter from bringing over her new great great grandson to see-she did get to see him for a minute, but apparently only after a lot of choice words-my mother in law kept saying she didn't want to see him-but that is totally unlike her-she was so excited when he was born. The granddaughter and great granddaughter said she looked awful. They can be great witnesses if you seek guardianship, to establish that the brother is not able to provide proper decisionmaking.
Nothing adds up. I understand.
Do you feel that the changing of the trust, especially so quickly, or any of the other things I have told you could possibly be elder abuse? It could be financial exploitation or fraud. How did you find out about it? Did your brother in law call you and say, "Hey, just so you know, Mom decided to give you next to nothing to inherit, giving most of it to me! Just thought you'd like to know :)
, Wouldn't she at least need a psych evaluation before changing a long standing trust? Not at all. We are all presumed competent until someone petitions to have us NOT competent so that we can be properly cared for. That is something you can choose to do - you will probably want to get a lawyer on that.
Please let me know your opinion, and what we should do if anything. Thank you.I would suggest guardianshp - that will give you the authority to place her where you wish. It is a big responsibility of course, but it should serve your desires to keep her safe. And once she is save, lucid, etc., you can have her review her estate desires and, with an attorney, have her re-do her estate directives to her true wishes. Consider video taping her explaining what she wants and why, so if anyone later contests her will, saying she was mentally unable to decide such things, didn't know what she was doing, you can produce the video illustrating her fine mental state at the time she made that decision.
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Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX
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