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My parents just moved in with my sister, and I am concerned

about inheritance theft. How do...
My parents just moved in with my sister, and I am concerned about inheritance theft. How do I identify this and what can I do?
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Answered in 22 minutes by:
8/22/2013
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,407
Experience: Helping you with your legal questions.
Verified
Hi and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you. I am happy to help. If you are concerned, you can speak with your parents to make sure they have an estate plan. This entails a Will and other documents such as a Power of Attorney. Also, you can informally make an inventory of assets so you know what is in their estates. If your parents are incapacitated and cannot handle their own affairs, then you can petition the court to become their guardian. I hope this response answers your question. If not, let me know. Best regards, Damien
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi Damien. Thanks. My parents have a will. I have not seen it. I believe that I can access the will via probate court, correct? I live out of state, so guardianship is a bit tough. Also my parents are living with my sister and she does not give me direct contact with my parents. There is over a million dollars in assets involved that have not been cleared up. My sister can be very aggressive with my parents. When I previously raised this with my parents, they just said "That's your problem with your sister."

Hi Martin: Your welcome. You can only access the Will prior to probate if they filed the Will with the Court. You can make an inquiry with the Court. If you believe that your sister's actions rise to the level of elder abuse, you can notify the authorities to investigate. Your parents seem to have their capacity. So, the claim you would have to make upon their demise is undue influence. You should document your attempts to get in touch with your parents. It is important for you to do so because most likely your sister will attempt to say that she was the one taking care of them and you abandoned them. i know you are in a tough situation. I hope this answer helps you. Best regards, Damien

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi Damien. Thanks. I think you summed it up well saying this is a "tough situation" So just to sum it up


- I can inquire with the court about the will (assuming it was filed)


- Document my attempts to contact my parents


- Take action regarding the estate up their demise (both of them?) based on undue influence.


 


Just to add another couple details to the story:


My parents suffer from a chronic hoarding condition so there house has been a massive mess. On the other hand, I live abroad in Israel, so my sister has had a geographic proximity advantage. My parents did accept my sister's proposal to move in with her in a clear mental capacity.


Thanks,


Martin

Hi Martin: Your welcome again. Thanks for the additional information. The cause of action of undue influence is separate from lack of mental capacity. In other words, someone can have the mental capacity but still be unduly influenced. I hope this helps you further. Best regards, Damien
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,407
Experience: Helping you with your legal questions.
Verified
Damien Bosco and 87 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks Damien. So essentially, I could only take legal action following the demise of both parents, then I would have to present a case of undue influence. What about in the meantime with how my sister deals with major assets, like my parent's home? Would the value of the house also only be contestable following my parent's demise? Is there a way to block any sale of the house until the distribution of assets is settled?

Hi Martin (again): Yes. You are correct. As long as your parents have their legal capacity, they have the right to do as they please. If after their demise, you believe there was undue influence, then you would have to prove it. At death, all assets, including the house, would be contestable. If the house becomes part of the estate, the court would usually have to approve any sale of it before distribution. Best regards, Damien. P.S. Please remember to rate my answer (hopefully positive!). Thanks.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you. This has been very helpful and much appreciated. I have been very satisfied with your comments

Martin: You"re Welcome! I hope all goes well. Best regards, Damien
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Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco
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Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,407
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