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HELP! MOM LIVED IN CHESTER, VA. MY BROTHER AND HIS "NEW WIFE" RESIDED THERE ALSO. SHE HAD NO SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX. MOMS PERSONAL EFFECTS AND PAPERWORK WERE IMMEDIATELY DISPOSED OF BY BROTHER'S "NEW WIFE" THE MINUTE SHE WAS INJURED AND COULD NO LONGER MOVE "BACK HOME". I KNOW SHE HAS LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES, A WILL, ETC. BUT DO NOT HAVE A CLUE OF HOW TO TRACK, IF THAT CAN BE DONE. BROTHER HAS NOW DIVORCED THAT WIFE SO......NO HOPE OF WHERE GOODS WERE "DISPOSED OF". I DO HAVE (THANK GOD I SHOWED HER HOW TO DO THIS) ALOT OF AUTO-DRAFTS COMING OUT OF HER CHECKING ACCOUNT WHICH APPEAR TO BE FOR PAST DEBT, BUT MAY ALSO BE FOR INSURANCE....SHE DID BELIEVE IN INSURANCE...IF ANY OF YOU HAVE DEALT WITH THIS TYPE OF SITUATION B4, YOUR EXPERTISE AND INPUT WOULD BE SO GREATLY APPRECIATED. IF I CAN CASH IN A POLICY TO HELP TAKE CARE OF HER, OR MAYBE SHE EVEN HAD A DURESS POLICY?? I JUST HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING AND NOT MUCH "FREE TIME" TO RESEARCH. THANKING YOU ANGELS IN ADVANCE. GOD BE WITH YOU.

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If possible, ask her bank if they can provide you with copies of cancelled checks for her accounts going back as far as they can. She may have paid legal fees for estate planning or paid life insurance premiums. Even for a fully paid up life insurance policy, there should be some kind of statement issued by the insurance company at least annually showing the allocation between increase in cash value and payment of the life insurance portion of the coverage.
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Call the county office which manages recordation of documents and ask if it's required that DPOA, POAs, Living Wills, or Wills be filed and recorded.

Does your mother ever get updates on estate planning issue from a law firm? If so, contact them and ask if she was ever a client. You may have some difficulty getting this information as all transactions of law firms are privileged, just like medical information.

Do you have any idea when your mother might have executed her estate planning documents? If you do, and know which bank she used at that time, there's a possibility they could do a search for law firms, for amounts in a specific range, etc.

I assume from your profile that she has dementia and isn't able to execute new documents?

There have occasionally been other posts on lost documents, but this is the first time I've read of someone deliberately destroying them. Reading that really made me angry; NO ONE has authority to destroy someone else's estate planning documents.

I think this would really be a long, long shot, but I might consider retaining an attorney to contact the destroyer and demand the documents (which would require an admission of deliberate and unauthorized destruction of the documents. If the attorney would do this, I would then be brazen enough to demand compensation sufficient to have new documents produced. I might also issue a subpoena requiring her to produce the documents.

Even if it didn't produce anything, it might get you some monetary compensation, and satisfaction. I haven't done any research, but I'm wondering if there's enough evidence for a criminal for MDPO (Malicious Destruction of Property). Probably not, but I think it would unsettle the Destroyer.
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Juz, that is sad that your brother's wife decided to dispose of his Mom's personal effects and paperwork.

As for the Will, if it was prepared by an Attorney, check the local Attorney offices to see if your Mom had been a client. Hopefully the law office kept a copy of that Will, and any other important legal documents such as Power of Attorney, and Medical Directive.

I realize from past postings that it would be impossible to have Mom re-do this paperwork due to her advanced dementia.

As for insurance, such as life insurance, if Mom had an address book go through that to see if there was a name of an insurance agent. Check Mom's old checkbooks to see if she was paying a monthly or yearly fee to an insurance company. See if the State has a main insurance recovery where clients names are in their database. Also check with the State Unclaimed department to see if Mom had any bank accounts that she had forgotten about.

Good luck.
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