What rights do four siblings have after other sister put our mother's farm in her own name before our mother died? 21 Answers as of May 27, 2014

Our mother owned a farm, she was elderly but still lived there. Out of the five children she had, one of them wanted to buy the farm. She was also the power of attorney for our mom. Nothing was ever mentioned again and life went on. About a year and a half later we find out that she had gone ahead and had an attorney come and put the farm in her name, it was sold for $1. She never told us. We found out by accident a year and a half after the fact. We confronted her and she told us it was between her and our mother. Our mother said this is the price we agreed to, but she didn't know it had already been put in our sister's name. At that time she was 88 years old. We were a very close family up until that time, so we told our sister she had to fix this but an argument ensued. Our mother fell two months later and was then hospitalized and then to a nursing home where she then passed away two months after that. Supposedly our sister was to pay us each the agreed upon amount for the farm. It is coming up on one year in June and she has not reached out to us or paid us. There were also a large CD that was put in my sister's name as well prior to our mother's death. My mother had always said everything is to be split equally. She even wrote a note and we found it on the table near her bedside that she loved us all equally and everything was to be split equally, even the farm. So we need to know what rights we have to get the money from our sister or if we can even dispute the sale of the farm prior to her death when the will still says the farm is to be split equally. We also need to know what rights we have to the CD that our mother wrote was to be split equally, but my sister's name is listed as the beneficiary. We need to know if we have a case at all and if it's worth it to pursue it.

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Law Offices of Robert Beatson II | Robert Beatson II
Suggest you talk to an attorney who handles Federal/MD estate planning. Information will need to be assembled and carefully reviewed for a proper analysis. An experienced estate attorney in MD should be able to handle this type of matter and to protect the interests of the client.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 5/27/2014
Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
It sounds like you may have a case here against your sister for a portion of what she received from your mother. This actually happens often with elderly parents. They trust one sibling and put everything in their name trying avoid probate and other anticipated problems after their death. However, that sibling does not and may have never intended to share the assets with the other siblings as promised. Legally, it is as though your mother made a gift to her during her lifetime, however, you can contradict that by filing a suit against your sister in probate court if you have proof that your mother intended that all the sibling share in her estate or that your mother was tricked or deceived into transferring all her assets to your sister. I would recommend that you consult with a probate attorney to properly evaluate all the facts of your case and make a recommendation to you regarding your course of action.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 5/14/2014
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Unless your mother is competent to undo the transfer all you can do is sue for undue influence or elder abuse.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/7/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Please see a probate lawyer ASAP.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/7/2014
Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
Unfortunately if mom din not have a will, there's nothing that can be done.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/7/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Hire an attorney who can help you with this complex issue. There may have been legitimate reasons for your sister's actions. But if she isn't telling you why she put the farm land and CD in her name, you may need to file suit.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    Your sister seems to have played your mother and set up an estate plan that was not to her wishes. (e.g. all to her instead of split )contact a probate attorney immediately to see if something can be done.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    Of course you have an excellent case. Hire a lawyer to file a petition for probate and then an 850 petition to put all the assets into the estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Get a lawyer and sue her. Do not wait. Time lost is rights lost.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C.
    Donald T. Scher & Associates, P.C. | Donald Scher
    You need to retain an attorney at once and bring legal action against your sister for breach of fiduciary duty and elder abuse (financial exploitation). This is a very common scenario and your sister will not voluntarily do the right thing.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You have many rights but need to act quickly. It seems fairly clear that your sister committed an elder abuse and is stealing everything for herself. You need to consult with a probate litigation attorney immediately. If you need help finding a nearby attorney, please call the local state bar association for a referral.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    Unfortunately, cases of elder abuse including the exercise of ?undue influence? on older people are happening more and more. You need to find a good wills and estates lawyer ASAP to file a lawsuit to protect and enforce your rights. Let me know if you need a referral in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    The four of you really need to retain counsel ASAP. There are a number of different theories that could be combined to give you some relief here. You could sue to set aside the conveyance from your mother to your sister - undue influence, breach of a fiduciary duty, etc. You might also file an action for determination of heirship since it's too late to open an estate. You might sue for an accounting. All of these actions could be joined into one suit but you cannot do this alone, you will have to hire an attorney to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    If your mother executed the deed of transfer and/or the transfer papers for the CD then you would have to show that your mother lacked capacity to understand what she did, or acted under coercion or duress. Alternatively, you would have to prove an agreement between the mother and sibling whereby the sibling was to make payments to the other children. If your mother did not execute the deed or the CD transfer papers you would have to show that the sibling with the POA knowingly acted against the will and intent of your mother and without her knowledge since the mother could have reversed the transactions if she wanted to do so. You need to bring all the facts to an attorney to evaluate.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    John Ceci PLLC
    John Ceci PLLC | John Ceci
    You might well have a case. A person acting under a power of attorney is a fiduciary and is supposed to act in their ward's best interest, not their own. What you could be getting into is generally called probate litigation. You would probably be challenging some beneficiary designations. This is just like other litigation except that it happens in probate court instead of circuit (or district) court. I hope you kept that note. That could be valuable. Regardless, you should definitely consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    It is possible that you have a case against your sister. No one will be able to tell you for sure without interviewing you and your siblings, reviewing documents, and doing any necessary follow-up investigation. The only way to know for sure is to contact some lawyers who practice in the area of elder financial abuse and/or probate matters, and talk to them. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. If this case has merit, you should have relatively little trouble finding an attorney who will be willing to represent you and your siblings. I urge you to start contacting lawyers now, however, to avoid any problems with statutes of limitations.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    You have a likely case. The note probably does not have enough of the right words to qualify as a written Will [in California a valid holographic Will exists if everything on the page is in the person's own handwriting, but the person must make it clear that the note is their last Will and Testament]. The person holding a power of attorney must act in a fashion consistent with the probable wishes of the creator of the POA, which your sister apparently has not. ?A person with a POA can not transfer property to themselves for purposes other than the benefit of the creator. Your sister has appeared to act contrary to the powers given her and also appears to have exerted undue influence. There is a good chance that the transfer of the property to her for one dollar can be reversed and that your mother would be considered to have died without a Will, so the property would be evenly divided among her children. You definitely should go to a local attorney who handles probate and trust matters, get their opinion, work out a plan, write your sister a demand letter pointing out that she may force you to sue her for fraud.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    This is a classical undue influence case. See an attorney. The longer you wait the lower you chances.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    I think there are many different aspects of this situation. You need to determine if the title was transferred by your mother or by your sister under the POA. If it was done by your sister, that would obviously make things a bit easier. Your mother's condition when the deed was signed is also an issue. Unless your sister decides to cave in, you are almost certainly going to need to retain a good probate litigation attorney to challenge this.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Get an attorney if you feel your sister unduly influenced your mother to transfer the farm to her. You will not likely get very far without an attorney and there are time limitations on bringing an action related to your mother's estate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/7/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    The rights you have are to obtain the services of a probate trust litigation lawyer to investigate, and unravel this problem and to represent you in a petition to the probate court for an accounting, and other remedies.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/7/2014
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