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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 10215
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I live in sister lives in Wisconsin. I can't

Customer Question

I live in sister lives in Wisconsin. I can't afford an attorney. Problem: My brother lives next door to our older sister and started looking after her. She has developed dementia and my bother has filed legal documents to be Guardian of her estate. He is not petitioning for her care (only her money).
Under my brother's care she has slipped and injured her knee and then 2 weeks ago "fell off her chair and broke her femur." She is now in rehab. From the beginning he will not answer the phone if we call.
My question: since the court date for Guardianship is 2 weeks off, and the majority of the family do not want to see her return to their care..... can we step in and take over her care. We suspect neglect or abuse, or both. We also believe he is living in her home
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in? And to clarify, can you tell me what paperwork has been filed?
Customer: Revised: since the court date for his filing for Guardianship is 2 weeks off.
JA: Have you talked to a laywer yet?
Customer: I talked with my sisters "court appointed" attorney but he tells me he can't give me any legal advice
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The state that my brother has filed is Wisconsin. It states: In the matter of Wanda Marie Staples (my sister). Petition for Permanent Guardianship Due to Incompetency. Filed in Burnett County in State of Wisconsin and gives her address
Submitted: 28 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 28 days ago.

Hello, My name is ***** ***** I will assist you today. Please give me a few minutes to write a response and identify any additional resources for you.

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 28 days ago.

Dear Customer,

I am very sorry to learn of this situation. I can describe the overview of what you are going to be able to do here, but you are going to need to either retain a lawyer (which you say you do not have funds for), or plan on traveling to WI to file and appear in court to perform these things. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of online information for this, and there are no forms (you need to actually "draft" (write) your own motions and pleadings for all of this. It isn't overly complex, but it is important that it all be filed and served.

You can probably get some more time to put this all together (if you need it) if you petition the court for an order "shortening" time (you are asking the court for an order extending time - but the motion is called a "motion to shorten time" - but basically you notify all parties (your brother, your sister's court appointed attorney) 24 hours in advance, and appear in court on their "ex parte" calendar and ask the court to give you more time to file.

  • If you believe that your brother should not be handling your sister's finances, you will want to file an "Opposition" to his petition for guardianship of the estate. You will want to identify all of the reasons why he is an improper party to handle the estate - and identify who you believe should manage the affairs - this can be a bank, a professional fiduciary (my personal preference, hiring a third party professional is the best way to handle an estate - they know what they are doing, how to make an accounting, and courts are more likely to appoint them, they are paid out of the estate's assets), the County Public Guardian/Conservator, or another family member.
  • If you want to petition to be the guardian of the person for your sister (which it sounds like someone needs to do), then you can file a separate petition (check with the court but this is almost always filed in the same case/proceeding). Again, you have the same options as above: Professional Fiduciary (again my preference), public guardian's office, family member, or friend. If you want the Public Guardian's Office to take on the matter (I don't recommend this unless it is a "last ditch" effort - they do their best but budget constraints are often an issue and constrain best efforts), you will need to start working very closely with Adult Protective Services (this is going to take some time). Petitioning directly for a Professional Fiduciary, Yourself (or another family member), or a friend (remember, you do not have to live with your sister - you only need to be willing to direct her care and placement - you are responsible for ensuring she receives what she needs, you do not necessarily have to physically provide for it) is going to be the fastest.

If you believe your brother is abusing his current position by utilizing assets of the estate (living in the home) expect opposition to your petition (particularly with regard to the estate) as he can promptly find himself evicted (again why I recommend retaining a professional fiduciary). But you can push back here - again, you do not need a lawyer, but do expect to have to spend some time in Wisconsin to do this, balance your time and travel expenses against the cost of hiring a lawyer, then add in the fact that a lawyer can get this done much more efficiently, and then determine whether or not it is worthwhile to retain one (I am not telling you that a lawyer is going to be a better option, just giving you a different way to look at it).

Customer: replied 28 days ago.
The advice you gave is right along with what we were thinking. I would rate from 1-5...a 4 rating. Thank you
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 28 days ago.

You are welcome, I do wish you the best of luck with this matter.

(Please do not forget to also click on the rating button - the series of stars next to the chat window - so that I can receive credit for assisting you today).

Thank you for using our forum, and I wish you the best of luck.

Best regards,


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