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Yes, funds that come from the settlement and that are a part of your mother's estate can be used to retain an attorney to pursue claims against this person. You and your sister can use those funds as the executors of your mother's estate.
Unfortunately, you do need an attorney to pursue claims against this person because these claims are very difficult and you need someone very familiar with the law and the legal process of pursuing the claims against him
What he did is known as a breach of fiduciary duties. When a person is an agent for someone else, that person owes fiduciary duties for the person he is acting for -- in this case your mother.
Those duties include the duty of good faith and loyalty. In other words, an agent cannot take an action that is in the agent's own best interest. The agent must take only those actions in the best interest of the principal -- your mother.
His changing the beneficiary on the life insurance policy can be undone as a breach of fiduciary duty (the duty of loyalty).
To the extent you can prove he used your mother's money for his own benefit, you will have established a separate breach of duty for which you can get a judgment against him for repayment of those monies that benefited him and not your mother.
Of course, you can also turn this over to the district attorney so they can review it for criminal acts. If they prosecute him, it will be for his crimes, but that doesn't help you and your sister get anything back from him and into your mother's estate. Those are civil claims and a separate lawsuit will be necessary.
I'm sorry you're dealing with this. It is a mess and something that's a terrible shame. It's ridiculous when someone takes advantage of someone else in their fragile state. Again, I'm sorry.
Unfortunately, though, you really will need an attorney to assist you, but as noted you can use the settlement funds in your mother's estate to pursue claims against this person.
Please let me know if I can provide additional assistance. Thanks.
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