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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36240
Experience:  16 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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History: husband's sister is in TOTAL control of everything

Customer Question

History: husband's sister is in TOTAL control of everything for his parents. They have kept secret many things. We are at a point of hiring a local attorney. In the meantime, can we provide a letter or can it be verbal to my husband's farming/financial contacts that they NOT devulge anything to anyone but himself or me. Does it need to be on paper? Any other suggestions that we can do to protect ourselves? She has manipulated her name on the Dad's checking account, is paying bills and is now reviewing the will/trust without our knowledge. :(
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. 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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Can you give me some more of the back story about what is going on here?

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Do you rent a farm from the parents currently?

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Does the sister have a power of attorney for parents?

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Why would the sister be inquiring into your business dealings?

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thanks

Barrrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
POA - yes
rental - yes; 3 other rental farms from 3 different landowners
why inquire? because she has to know everything now; such as how much will my husband be spending on seed, etc. Before we sometimes receive a bill.
History: approx. 2 yrs. ago the Dad had surgery; initially ok, went "south"; I would not consider him incompetent; however, he nows lives in nursing home. The sister has been in total control of everything these past 2 years. Will drive from state of PA to take her Mom to doctor appointment. Husband and I not allowed to do anything. We personally feel that the sister may even be verbally, mentally abusive to her parents. We feel they are afraid of her. The Mom will go to sister anytime after my husband discusses with the Mom and devulges everything to the sister. The sister has done farming financial items that she doesn't know anything about and it has cost the parents excessive money. Even in cases when my husband already has begun the process. She steps in and takes over. Even with income tax she will tell my husband that he "cannot do that", when in fact for farmers in the income tax world we can. I could give several examples of her lack of knowledge costing the parents and yet in the end, it is my husband's fault. We feel that we are at risk of her manipulating her parents to edit the will.....to her advantage. What more would you like to know?
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Ok, her POA does not extend to give her power to inquire into your personal business dealings and there is nothing that would prevent you from talking to any business partners or associates and asking them to refrain from giving her any information. But legally, they wouldn't have any duty of confidentiality and could choose to provide that information if they chose to do so.. However, I would think that if you simply asked them, they would comply and not provide that info to the nosy sister.

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This is the problem that I see here.. if mother is looking to sister for advice and information, then even if sister is wrong, mother is legally competent and can go to whoever she wants to for information. It would be up to husband to correct any incorrect info that sister gives mother and provide proof of such. That will eventually prove to mother that sister doesn't know what she is talking about and could swing her over to relying on son for info.

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But if neither parent is legally or mentally incompetent, then if sister is influencing their opinions, there is not anything illegal about that. It is only if she is exerting "undue influence", which is when one person is overriding another person's free will to essentially force them to make decisions they wouldn't normally make, that is would be illegal and be considered "elder financial abuse".

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The counter to this, if neither parent is incompetent, is going to simply be son spending more time with mother and father so as to ensure that they don't think that he is ignoring them or is too busy for them as that can further alienate them and encourage them to modify their estate plan..

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thanks

Barrister

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