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Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2983
Experience:  Litigation Attorney with education focus on estate planning and tax
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When my father died in 2006 with no will we were in the process

Customer Question

when my father died in 2006 with no will we were in the process of getting my mother diagnosed with alzheimers. My sister moved my mother into her home, retrieved all financial documents from my parents home. She would not share any information with me and has refused to for the past 8 years. My sister told me she was taking mother to have a will drafted 50/50. I recently found out the document was a power of attorney. Only 2 of us. My mother died 6/16/15. My sister and her family totally abandoned me and will not respond to me. I don't have a single article or dime of my parent's estate. I do know that there were multiple hundreds of thousand dollars some of which went to alzsheimers home care in the late stages. There are very obvious signs of abuse of power of attorney financially. She is also still collecting rental income from my parents home which she probably put in her name. What are my options? How do I find out if there is anything left and how do I get it? This is my 5th attempt to get some help online. My mother died in Harris County Tx and her death certificate will not even come up in district clerk databases. I lost my entire family in one day . I am alone and really need my rightful part of the estate. I am so devastated that I am on leave of absence without pay, being treated for severe depression.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. Undue influence and/or lack of testamentary capacity are the primary allegations in a Texas will contest. What is undue influence? Like many legal concepts it is not easily applied to a given fact circumstance and reasonable minds can offer differ on the issue of what really constitutes undue influence on a testator.The Texas Supreme Court has stated the following elements for undue influence:1) The existence and exertion of an influence;2) The effective operation of such influence so as to subvert or overpower the mind of the testator at the time of the execution of the testament; and3) The execution of a testament which the maker thereof would not have executed but for such influence.Rothermel v. Duncan, 369 S.W.2d 917, 922 (Tex. 1963). The influencer had opportunity and took advantage of the opportunity. In reality, proving opportunity is not difficult. It might be a caregiver or a relative who spent more time with the testator than anyone else. It might be a person of trust who the testator relied upon to meet daily needs. But proving opportunity isn't enough. And proving efforts to influence the testator isn't enough either. Instead, it is necessary to prove the actual exertion did influence the testator to change the instrument at issue. Does the instrument reflect the true wishes of the testator or instead does it reflect what the influencer wanted? An influence is undue only if “the free agency of the testator is destroyed and a testament is produced that expresses the will of the one exerting the influence rather than the will of the testator.” But for the influence the testator would not have executed the will. The most important factor in determining if the testator would not otherwise have executed the will is whether it makes an unnatural disposition. An “unnatural disposition” is one that the testator had no logical reason to make, other than the undue influence. Disinheriting a child is not necessarily evidence of an unnatural disposition if the testator and the child were alienated, even if the other children tried to talk the testator into it. Similarly, leaving the bulk of one’s estate to one child is not necessarily an “unnatural disposition” if the testator and the child were especially close. This will be difficult for you to prove without an abundance of evidence but it is possible. Texas courts have found a difference between undue influence and testamentary capacity. If you could prove that your mother did not have testamentary capacity when she drafted the will then it would invalidate the will on it's face. If you could prove undue influence then it would also invalidate the will because the wishes of your mother drafted into the will were not those of your own. Just know this will be a very difficult undertaking and you need yo contact a local attorney in order to pursue these claims. See link for a Texas case regarding testamentary capacity and undue influence: Please let me know if you have any further questions or require any additional guidance. Please do not forget to positively rate my answer (There should be smiley faces or a 1-5 ranking on my answer. I would appreciate a good or excellent rating) as this is the only way that I am compensated for my work.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 2 years ago.
Just checking back in with this question, please let me know if I can do anything further. Please positively rate (There should be smiley faces or a 1-5 ranking on my answer. I would appreciate a good or excellent rating) my answer if you are satisfied as it is the only way I am compensated for my work.