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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33726
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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What are my rights or what can I do to stop a relative from

Customer Question

What are my rights or what can I do to stop a relative from going after me after inheriting money from my aunts estate? 40-50 years ago my aunt & uncle had a will leaving part of their estate to all their nephews and nieces due to the fact they had no children. In 1989 my aunt told my uncle she wanted it changed because they all had college degrees and made good money. My husband and I were very close to them for over 40 years, they treated us like I was their daughter. We were the only ones who ever invited them over for all holidays and birthdays. We took care of their house when they went on vacation for 4 months every winter. We were together all the time. My uncle died in 2004. We promised him we would take good care of my aunt because we loved them both so much. I was made their P.O.A. for health care and finances. My aunt was 81 yr. old and married 60 years. I took care of her making sure she ate properly, took her to all her appts. and spent quality time with her. Her family doctor suggested we find her an assisted living home after 5 years of being on her own as she wasn't eating and drinking properly, so we did. Within that 5 yr. period, she told me she wanted to make changes and will leave her money to whomever she pleases, whether it's a neighbor or stranger. She said she wanted to make sure I would get something and made an appt. to see a financial adviser whom she knew for over 20 years. So I took her there and she set up things her way. She had the title of her house to be transferred upon death to me. She had me go to the bank and change her checking acct. in both our names as a joint ownership. She rolled her CD's over when they came due to good investment accounts. They were set up as transfer upon death to me to avoid probate court to save time and money. 5 years later she died at 90. The money was transferred to me and I didn't have to do anything with probate court because there wasn't anything to see and divide among any relatives. After a year my brother asked me why they didn't get any copy of her will. I told him if he received a letter he was part of her estate. If he didn't he wasn't. This made him furious and said he never heard of anything so ridiculous. So he hired his atty. and sent me papers to find out what she had. My atty. gave them the answers that he asked me and I thought that was it. Well, another yr. later he served papers on me, our financial advisor, my aunts bank accts. and my bank accts. He wants to know everything my aunt had for the 9 years that my uncle died. Basically, he's accusing me of mismanagement of funds, and trying to make it that my aunt was mentally incompetent for making any decisions. He said my uncle would never had allowed her to do that and he feels he deserves a part of the estate!! I had a deposition date and got questioned for over an hour with his atty. They went thru her checking acct. and requested copies of all her investments for the past 5 years. We answered everything he asked me. The only thing I stopped was not allowing him to go thru our personal checking acct. so my atty. went to court to stop that. We thought it was over with so my atty. sent his atty. a letter asking him if he was continuing his litigation but there was no response. I am furious and want this to end. What can I do on my part to get him off my back. Should I suggest to my atty. to counter-sue. It already has cost me $3600 in atty. fees. Would going to a judge and get a hearing to settle this be the next thing to do? I am furious. Help please.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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What can I do on my part to get him off my back. Should I suggest to my atty. to counter-sue. It already has cost me $3600 in atty. fees.

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Honestly, there isn't any way to force him to drop his case, even if it is just a case of "sour grapes" since he was left out of aunt's estate plan. He has the right to pursue the case and discover that aunt was entirely competent when she made the changes to her estate plan. And he gets the bill from his attorney that he has to pay out of pocket for going on this fishing expedition.

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Would going to a judge and get a hearing to settle this be the next thing to do?

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If you mean that you are willing to offer a settlement, then you don't need a judge to do that. Your attorney can just contact his and see if anything can be resolved. But if you mean that you want to put the matter to rest and get it over with, then your attorney could file a motion for a status conference with the judge where you all sit down and the judge can see whether brother is planning on taking this all the way to a trial or not.

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As for suing him, you could file a countersuit against him for "malicious prosecution" and ask for all your attorney fees once you prove that there is nothing improper here and that aunt made all her decisions of her own free will.

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thanks

Barrister

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