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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 1472
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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Just wondering who to talk to about family assets? We have a

Customer Question

Just wondering who to talk to about family assets? We have a dilemma and not sure what to do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My father passed away 6 years ago and left a large estate to my mother. She is getting remarried to a man who is narcissistic and very controlling and manipulative- she has lost most of her friends and disowned her family since hes been around. We have not been able to sit and speak with her for over 3 years. Her fiancee has threatened us with her assets if we don't comply with his rules in how and when we get to speak to her. When they are married, will she have to update her will or automatically everything goes to him. Is there anything that we can do (siblings) before they are married this month to protect the family assets. She has been brainwashed and is not making good decisions. We have him on tape threatening and speaking of her money and assets- do we have any leg to stand on before its too late?
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I’m a licensed NY attorney with 36 years’ experience. I specialize in family law and appeals, and I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, employment and contract law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

I'm really sorry to hear about your mother, and as a family lawyer, from what you're telling me, there's no question there's some sort of domestic violence going on, probably the controlling emotional abuse kind, but sometimes that's worse than the scars we can see. I feel sorry for your mother who is somehow drawn to this man. It's really terrible that he is so controlling that he has intefered with her relationship with you and your siblings. He's undoubtedly told her who she can talk to and when, and she's listening to him or fears him, or both.

Based on your question, it would be a good idea for you and your siblings to immediately seek out a wills and estates attorney, and also show or play the tape (audio? video?) of the threats, to the attorney. I would suggest a prenuptial agreement, or as it's called in Canada, a marriage or domestic contract, which a family lawyer would do, but I'm also thinking about her providing an irrevocable trust which he can't get her to undo so easily. I don't know that you're going to be able to do much, at this late juncture, especially because the relationship is already strained between you, your siblings and your mother, but it's definitely worth a try. If you're going to discuss the family's assets, a wills and estates attorney is the person to see. Because a will can be revoked, that's why I was thinking about an irrevocable trust, which would be out of this man's reach. The problem of course is how to get your mother to go along with it. Perhaps you can discuss your father and how she's throwing his money away.

The other thing to think about is this -- is she competent to make decisions? If she is not competent, then you want to see a family lawyer about possibly getting a guardian for her to make financial decisions. My guess is that she is competent but is, as you said, brainwashed and therefore subjected to the emotional abuse type of domestic violence. If you think there is some way your mother may be impaired, then seeing someone who does both estates and family law (or going to a law firm where there is more than one attorney, so that both types of lawyers are there) is a good idea. Either way, you should speak with a lawyer soon before it's too late. I'd suggest trying to figure out if your mom is impaired -- I don't know how old she is or whether she is having any dementia issues, but you can ask around if you're not sure about any dementia, but be careful it doesn't get back to him.

If she is impaired, then consider seeing a family lawyer for a guardian of her finances. If she is not impaired, then consider seeing a wills and estates attorney for a possible formation of an irrevocable trust, unless you won't be able to talk mom into it. Try finding both types of lawyers in one firm and this way you have both bases covered.

I hope you can do this before she gets married. This is really tragic for your family. If there is anyway to get to her by discussing your father, by all means, try that approach.

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Good luck to you and to your siblings! I hope you are able to be successful here. Be well!

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

I am still online so if you have any questions please feel free to ask me. Thanks!