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Category: Estate Law
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My father passed away on February 16, 2013. He lived most

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My father passed away on February 16, 2013. He lived most of his life in Newport News, VA with my mother until she passed away on January 5, 2004. He tried to continue living in their 5 bedroom house until he just could not stand to be there without my mother. My sister and I are the only children of this 56 year marriage. Around this time when Daddy was wanting to leave the 5 bedroom house my sister built a house in Venice, Florida and invited Daddy to live with her and he eventually did so. Unfortunately, my sister has never thought I was an equal daughter. She tried over and over again to get a copy our parents will years ago but my parents would not give her a copy. I know she was the executor of that will in Virginia and I feel very sure when my Dad moved to Florida she finally got a copy of whatever will my Dad had once my mother was passed away. Now that both of our parents are gone what rights do I have to see the will that was done in Virginia as well as the will that was done once my mother passed away? My sister does not consider me as an equal person to receive any portion of our parents wills and I have never been given any information about the money my sister spent on our father - even when my Dad's house sold for $400,000. She got very upset when she found out that out father had told me how much money he got for selling the 5 bedroom house. Once she had to send me a check and I noticed it was written on my sister and her husband's checking account. I contacted her and told her I did not want a check from her account. I would prefer to get a check from Daddy's checking account and she told me Daddy did not have a checking account anymore. All his money was then in her checking account. Is there any way I can receive any information about how much and on what my sister spent of my father's money over the last 7 years? Also is there any way I can get a copy of my Dad's will and money spent by my sister from Dad's money. I also would like to get a copy of Dad's last will?
31 years of family law litigation. Understanding of your concerns,and a good legal knowledge base. Hi glad to help. This is an unfortunate situation, and from the limited facts you have told me,I do not believe that this is legally proper, and feel as though there really might be fraud or undue influence involved between your sister and your late Father. She needs to account to you for all of your Dads money,the sale of the home etc.It appears that she just absorbed all of his property and appropriated it to herself and her husband! What does not make sense to me, and I have practiced in Florida for 31 years, and that is, the will must have been probated in Virginia, and you should have been noticed of this, and participated in this. At the very least you would have received the will, and know exactly how his money was distributed and to whom. You need to get local counsel immediately in Virginia to look into the probate case for you, as it appears that she might have cut you out from receiving assets under the will.None of this should have happened without your knowledge, a copy of the will,and a full understanding of where all his assets are, is something you are entitled to know. If need be,you can reopen the probate case if fraud was involved. She has no right to not let you see that will. Also you are entitled to an accounting of all of your late Dads property.There should be an accounting in the probate case, and I suggest you take a look at it. You also have these same rights as to your late Mother. It is not your sister that decides who gets what, if she was executor, all she can do is distribute the property in accordance with the dictates of the will.The fact that she might think you are entitled to nothing, has no effect at all on what you receive under the will. Unless you really believe that your Mom and Dad would leave you nothing,there must be something improper going on, as you have not gotten anything. You will not be able to handle this yourself, and an attorney could get to the bottom of this quickly, and then if need be, show you how to reopen the case.I have never felt more strongly that you will find things happened here,that are not legal and or proper.I wish you good luck. Sincerely, Steve
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so very much for your response.


I forgot to tell you one thing that may be important. After our mother passed away on 1/5/2004 my sister acquired power or attorney over our father. I am not sure when this happened because I have only been privey to things that I accidentally find out. Does that change anything?

Her having a power of attorney can only effect the specific powers granted to her in the power of attorney. Unless it is Durable, a power of attorney does not survive the death of the person the power is held for. It is of no legal effect after the death of the person, and usually when that happens the power of attorney by operation of law is no longer valid.Thus her power of attorney should not legally be able to effect disposition of property in a will, as the power does not survive the death of the person in question. No matter what, you need to see the wills! You can then go from there.Also the power of attorney does not give her any right to change the will, as a power of attorney does not grant a person that type of rights, as a power of attorney is generally for the living and has no effect upon death. Also even if by chance she has some type of power of attorney that could make it still active after death such as one that is Durable, there are still legal principles ,such as undue influence that will invalidate any document if procured in that fashion. It appears to me that you might be dealing with this where she exerted influence upon him at a time he was weak, without full disclosure and gained access to money and property in that fashion, and took advantage of him. In that situation you could contest the entire will. Please see an attorney locally! Sincerely, Steve
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