What will happen now that my sister and her husband changed my father's will, power of attorney and trustee? 27 Answers as of August 19, 2013

My sister and her new internet husband took my father from his health facility to a lawyer December 2012 and made new b-i-l secondary executor, trustee, health care & power of attorney. I found out in July 2013. I'm the son and used to be executor etc. and still get 50% upon death. Is this common practice? Should I be worried?

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Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
You should be worried that they are using undue influence or placing your father under duress to make him change the documents. I would try to meet with him in private and make sure that is what he wants to do.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/19/2013
Goldsmith & Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
You should speak with an attorney about your options in pursuing remedies. You may need to file for guardianship and seek authority to restore the prior estate plan. Again please speak with an attorney before pursuing any possible remedies.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/16/2013
Durkin Law, P.C.
Durkin Law, P.C. | Roger Durkin
You many not get 50% on death. You should be worried only that your father may have been unduly influenced. Particularly if his will was changed. Get the a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/16/2013
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
I do not see that the Will was changed except for who the new executor will be [the court has to appoint a representative for the Will anyway]. A power of attorney terminates upon death. That they took him without telling you to an attorney should be a warning that they might do other things too.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/16/2013
Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
You should worry if you think that your father was coerced into executing new documents or lacked the capacity to legally execute them.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/16/2013
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Yes, you should consult an elder law attorney and the local elder abuse agency.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
    Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
    I would begin by talking with your father about the changes that were made. There may have been good reasons for his decision to make changes to his estate documents. However, if you feel your father lacked capacity (understanding of the events) or that there was excessive and inappropriate influence applied by other members of the family then you should meet with an attorney to determine your next steps. Best of luck, Martin Business Card Disclaimer: The response above does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Yes you should be worried. Seek the assistance of probate legal counsel to examine the documents and facts and maybe interview the father to see if he was competent to make amendments to documents.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    It is not common. While your father was in a health facility, was he able to manage his affairs. If not, you have the basis to challenge the changes.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Nolan Stewart, PC
    Nolan Stewart, PC | William G. Nolan
    There are several issues here. One would be your father's mental capacity. If you doubt he had capacity to execute new documents, you can challenge them either now or at his death. If he did have capacity, well, everyone is considered capable until proven otherwise, so he is free to make whatever changes he wants to make. Undue influence is a charge that can be made if you think that your sister exerted too much influence, but of course proving it will take some doing on your part. It is also entirely possible that your sister is doing all of this to fulfill some perfectly legal goal such as Medicaid planning or Virginia benefits planning. You could always talk with your father about your concerns.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    You should definitely be worried. Is you father living in California? If so, your sister possible committed financial elder abuse as defined by California law. You can contest the changes made and ask the court to reinstate the prior documents. Also, your father may need a conservator, which you can also apply for.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Law Office of Edward M. Burgh, APC | Edward M. Burgh
    Did he have capacity or was he suffering from Dementia or Altzheimer's at the time he made the new documents? If so, they are no good. If not, you get only 50% but you could hire a Probate Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    You should talk to your father to make sure that he made the changes of his free will. If your father is competent, he can make changes to his estate plan anytime.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Yes, you should be worried. Commonly, they will now begin defalcating with assets using the POA, so that your father's estate will be substantially less when he passes away. Or, they will start creating joint accounts, so that your sister will inherit all.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    If father is not considered competent you may have a problem. As far as normal, anyone can change their Wills and powers of attorney but you want to make sure someone did not coerce him into doing it to take advantage of him.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    You should investigate further to determine if this was proper or a case of elder fraud.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    It is common and often a problem. You should get a copy of all of the documents and challenge them now if they are not proper.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Sorry unfamiliar with the reference of "b-i-l" on the above question. Although I would see an attorney to ensure that your father is ok and to ensure that there is no "hanky panky" going on.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Your father has the right to change his will at any time. In order for you to challenge the validity of his new will, you would need to prove that your father was not mentally capable of understanding what he was doing, or, that your sister pressured him sufficiently to make the changes effectively non-voluntary.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    A person who grants another power to act in his name (power of attorney) can terminate the old grant and name a new attorney in fact, trustee, etc. at any time as long as the person is legally competant to understand what he is doing. If you believe that your father knew what he was doing and intended to take these actions, you don't have any grounds to challenge the changes. However, if you believe that your sister and her husband exerted undue influence on your father with an eye to taking advantage of him and benenfiting themselves, you can challenge the documents.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    If the disposition has not changed, I would not worry to much but I would monitor it VERY closely and at the FIRST sign of them doing something they should not, GET AN ATTORNEY!. Your biggest mistake would be allowing something to go on that shouldn't as it will cost you much more time and money in the end.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Strickland Law, PLLC
    Strickland Law, PLLC | Jeffrey S. Strickland
    I would be very worried. There could have been some undue influence, etc. Based upon your terminolgy, there appears to be a trust as well as a will. You need to obtain a copy of all documents and contact an attorney, now.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Sanford M. Martin, P.A. | Sanford M. Martin
    If your father is mentally sound, he has rights to make such changes. If your concern is about your share of his estate rather than being appointed executor, you appear to have no important issue. Yes, such changes are not unusual when the person believes that another person will better carry out the intentions expressed in the will, POA, trust, or Designation of Health Care Surrogate. Of course, in some situations, the executor or attorney-in-fact under a POA can make changes which affect the size of the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Yes, you should be worried. With a power of atty, they can drain you're father's accounts before he dies, leaving him with nothing. 50% if nothing is nothing.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Changes to estate planning documents happen all the time. Since this was done through a lawyer, there is probably less to worry about than otherwise. As long as your father had capacity at the time the changes were made, there is probably nothing you can do to challenge what was set up. As to whether or not to worry, that depends on a number of factors. Since you are still included as a beneficiary under the documents, it could have been a lot worse than the changes that were made.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Need more details, did you father know what he was doing? have you been harmed?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/16/2013
    Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C. | James E. Reed
    The answer to both of your questions is "Yes."
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/16/2013
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