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My Father recently died. Prior to his death--he gave me money

My Father recently died. Prior...

My Father recently died. Prior to his death--he gave me money for a down payment on a home. (in the form of two checks) My Mother was aware of this--in fact she invited me to come live with both of them--when I moved here from another state. I was having a difficult time in that state because of my own situation. They offered to have me come stay with them--saying it would work out for all of us--I would get on my feet and they could use my help. They would help me get a house because the rates were low and they wanted to see me get out of bad rental situations and be closer to home because I am disabled. My Dad was ill and my Mom was getting tired from taking care of him--my help was welcome. She kept telling me what a Godsend I was---I was helping her do all the stuff that made a difference in the day.Taking the stress off taking care of my Dad and her. But I admit it was exhausting. After 3 months my Dad died--but during those 3 months--my Mother was showing signs of her own aging problems. Not turning off the stove. She lef the car running in the garage one night. She left her purse in a cart at Walmart--thankfully a good person found it. She was making some questionable decisions at home as well. I had to report these things to my siblings who were not there 24/7. My Mother suddenly was not liking the fact that I was there--seeing all of this. She was on the phone complaining about me to my siblings--telling them I was doing things that I was NOT doing. And saying I was buying things--making her and my Dad pay for them--but I was not. Or she would ask me to go to the store and pick up something for them--tell me she would pay me back--and then when I presented her the receipts--she said she never asked me to buy the food etc...and said I spent too much money. Complained on the phone to my siblings that I was asking her to pay for things and she never asked me to get them--again. My siblings never asked me if it was true or not--they just trusted she was telling the truth. Mainly because--in the past I had money issues. So --my Mother MUST be telling them the truth. It was her word against mine--and the only witness I had was my Dad. She was getting on the phone and typing these emails in a way that he could not manage--because he was in a wheelchair--he could not control her. Or see what she was doing or saying. But she was saying to him --in front of him --how great I was. But behind his back--she was on the phone telling others I was doing otherwise. I could hear her on the phone. I could not see the emails. But I could sense that she must have been typing up some terrible stuff--because she left me off of group emails and my siblings were all the sudden very negative towards me. They were accusing me of taking advantage of my Dad. Asking me how I paid for my plane ticket home. How was I paying for my down payment on the home I was looking for. To which I answered--it is not your business. Because it was not the sort of question I would ask any of them. It was also something that was between my parents and myself. We agreed to this before I came home. And once I was home--we continued to work it out as I worked it out with the bank and I began to look for a home. When my siblings began to question me--I went to my Dad with my concerns--he told me--don't worry about it. It is between us. He wrote me the checks for the down payment. And he also signed gift letters for the banks. He also spoke to his financial advisers and asked them specifically to transfer money from one acct to another --specifically stating this is for my daughter (using my name) and then stating the amount he wanted transferred to the account. Two days after my Dad died--my Mom and siblings demanded that I give back the money and if I did not than I was to be out of their house. (with nowhere to go) I moved my things all the way from another state. It cost me a lot of money. I have not found a home--I cant just move to an apt or another home. It would cost the same amount to move my things and then if I found a home again I would have to pay to move them again. I live on Social security and disability. Plus I am still mourning my Father. My Dad gifted (gave) me that money. They are treating me like I stole it from him. My brother said that --plus he used the word coerced. To me that is slander. Esp. after I was taking care of him (& my Mother) 24/7 for 3 months. I was so busy taking care of them--I really did not have time to look for a home. They were my top priority. I am not even sure what kind of law this falls under. It feels like Family Law, Estate Law, Slander, and now Harrassment--because they are bullying me when I tell them I did nothing wrong. Our Father--my Mother's husband--simply did what he has done for so many others. He wanted to help me. I didnt 'coerce' him in any way! To me that word means I wouldve had to have intimidated or bullied him. I didnt MAKE him write or sign checks tsfr money.Do I need JD?

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Answered in 17 minutes by:
6/2/2013
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,490
Experience: 17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
Verified
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
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I am sorry to hear that the actions your father took to benefit you are now being construed by your family as something you forced him to do.
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It is clear that father intended any money he gave to you to to be a gift and neither mother nor siblings would have the right to force you to repay any money. Father likely understood this and that is why he signed the gift letters and notified his financial advisors to transfer the money to you specifically by name.
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As for mother essentially evicting you, legally she can do so since presumably it is her house now. However, she would have to give you a formal 30 day notice to terminate your occupancy and then go through the courts to evict you if you didn't move. So she can't just throw you out if you aren't able to move out.
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But you wouldn't need any type of legal representation unless they actually tried to file some type of suit against you for the return of the money. It is likely that if they spoke to an attorney and were honest about the gift letters and transfers, the attorney would tell them that they didn't have a case.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks--I appreciate that. Yes--they extended it to a formal 30 days in "writing" after my mother gave me a hand written note asking me to be out on 5/29 --stating I should be out on 5/19. The next day I contacted her lawyer--and sent him a certified letter stating I had been living in the home and had been trying to find a home to buy under the circumstances I noted above. And I have ltd funds and time now-plus I am mourning my Father etc--not only that--it is difficult to find a place. I emailed him the day I presumed he would get the certified letter--with its tracking number--and did not see that he recd it yet --altho the mail said it would (should)arrive to him on 5/31) and yet USPS still has not shown he has recd it. But my Mom and siblings presented me with a NEW more formal/legal document of termination--typed --stating her address and giving me more days to terminate--now on the 30th of june. When she presented it to me--my sister clarified it--saying if you need more time --you need to tell us now--so we can adjust this. Otherwise we will have to have you removed if you are not out by that date. They did not say anything about pursuing the money--but said that Dads signature does not prove that what he said to Mom about what the money was for was true--they said my Dad said he told my Mom it was to show the banks that I had money in the bank to show I had enough to GET a mortgage. But she ALSO co-signed one of those checks--because one of them bounced on first deposit--so it had to be redeposited and rewritten. She KNEW what it was all about and what was going on...She is playing possum. His financial adviser at Chas Schaub (sp) recalls 2 phone msgs from my Dad where he specifically said--This is Mr So and So--I want you to trsf X amount from my IRA acct to my Check acct --it is for my daughter (my name) he left his adviser two voice mail msgs-and then spoke to him about the transfer. I am just worried about this coming back to haunt me. And I want to use the money to buy a home without worrying that I will ruin my credit or go into debt if they try to sue me. How can I safeguard myself? Or feel it is all over. And what about the slander and that they are ruining my rep with my family members.

How can I safeguard myself? Or feel it is all over. And what about the slander and that they are ruining my rep with my family members.
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To be very honest with you, it is up to the family as to whether they take this any further. So unfortunately the only thing you can do is get all your evidence together and write down a timeline of what happened and when like you have done here while it is fresh in your mind. That way if they try something, you are prepared.
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If someone is saying things that they know are untrue to third parties that harms your reputation, then that is slander and you would have the right to sue them for damages. The problem would be in proving monetary damages as you have to be able to point to something and show that you were injured in the amount of $XXXX. The other problem is that if this is just being talked about within the family, and not to outside 3rd parties, then a judge may not agree that this is slander since family is not really a 3rd party.
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I hate to see it when things like this happen after someone passes in a family. Unfortunately, grief and money tend to bring out the worst in people.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Ask Your Own Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I was just thinking about the slander and the monetary damages within the family. Technically there is monetary damages within the family when there is slander "IN" the family--because my Mother and siblings are ruining my name and reputation amongst the family name--and thus the estate...hence the "Will."


 


My Father always said to me that my share of the Will could not be touched. I never understood what he meant by that. Because as I understand it--his trust went to my Mother upon his death--and thus she can change anything in HIS will now--because it is now HER will. So--she and I do not have a good relationship--so I am SURE to be out of HIS will---errr HER will. And my siblings said they could change it as well. As if their power of Atty gave them some right to do so...I did not think that PoA gave them that right/ability?? Only My Mother could do that right? And it seems that my Mother is not really mentally well right now--I mean cognitively. I am concerned about her--even before my Dad died she was not makeing good decisions and doing a lot of things that concern me --for her driving alone (safely)--paying bills, shopping on her own, even living alone...managing money on her own....she does not seem to understand what my Dad was doing with this money for me and a mortgage/down payment. I think that is at the root of this problem. Can someone that is not with it cognitively make legal changes to a Will? And if SHE cant --can one of her kids do it for her if she requests them to do it? Like this situation? If they THINK I am wrong? Again--the slander issue....they NEED to recognize the truth here and make sure it is noted--and not penalize me for it as they SAID they would....

I did not think that PoA gave them that right/ability?? Only My Mother could do that right?
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POAs expire on the death of the person who granted it. So if mother was a grantor of a trust along with father, then she might be able to change the trust if it didn't have a clause that said it was irrevocable upon his death.
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If father left a will, then it can't be changed after he died. Each person has their own will so mother could only change her will. As long as she hasn't been declared legally incompetent by a court, she could change her will if she chose to.
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You are talking about a Will and a Trust. These are two completely different things and both have different rules about any modifications. A Will can only be modified while the testator is living. A trust can be modified if it is revocable and at least one grantor (maker) is alive.
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As for the slander issue, you can sue them if you feel you can prove money damages and the court thinks that other family members are considered third parties. The problem with this is that this is not something that can be pursued in small claims court so you would need to hire an attorney to draft the complaint and file the lawsuit. And the problem with that is that the attorney is going to require several thousand dollars up front to even get interested in taking the case. So from a financial viewpoint this might not be feasible.
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Thanks
Barrister
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,490
Experience: 17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
Verified
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