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My mother passed away on May 5th 2019. She lived with me and I was her full-time caregiver for over a decade. In her will I am the executor, had power of attorney and was left all her assets. Now my older stepbrother who was not involved with her care, wants half of everything and is sending threatening text messages. There wasn't much left in the estate, and I can't afford an expensive attorney. She just wanted to make sure that I could take care of myself when she was gone, now he is trying to take the money she left me. My mother specifically appointed me executor of the will, because she knew what he would do to me if he was executor. He would sell the house, liquidate all the assets, pocket all the money and kick me out on the street. My mother even said: "He's my son and I love him, but he will try to take the gold out of your teeth."


I am disabled myself and my health issues are getting worse.


Any advice on how to protect myself from my unscrupulous stepbrother?

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Needhelpwithmom in answer to your post.

Moms Will should have mentioned her son. Either leave him something or say why he isn't being left anything. But not to mention him he can contest the will. He can try to contest it if she did what I said but he may not win it since Mom said why he was not to inherit.

Maybe saying why she was leaving her estate to her daughter would be helpful to. The lawyer should have had it worded so there was no contesting possible.

I agree that she needs to get a restraining order.
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SusamMD, I stand corrected, you go to the courts to get a order of protection and an injunction of harassment. Speak to the police to find out what gives you the most protection, you want to be able to get a cop out when you call if he shows up and different orders have different protections.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Block the texts which, on some cell phones, also blocks phone calls. If you're not sure how to do it, just walk into whatever store is your cell phone provider (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) and ask them. For them, it's a 30 second exercise. Or just go to Best Buy and chat up the cell phone rep and ask for help.

If you have a landline, either give it up, or change the number to an unlisted number and do not do call forwarding.

If HE -- your step brother -- had a key to the "house," change the locks immediately. As the executor, protecting the assets for legal distribution, the costs of changing locks should be an "estate" cost. And, it's your duty to protect the assets.

Are you on social media, like Facebook or Instagram, etc.? If so, just stop posting for a while, until the estate is settled.

Please, proceed to fulfill your duties as executor.

I'm a little confused as to how HE -- your step brother --- could sell "the house" --- who owns the house?

With all due respect, either your step brother is just being an a...hole and mad that he did not inherit anything, or there's something else going on here with the legal documents that I cannot understand.

Someone suggested changing your name. I would never criticize anyone else's suggestion, but I don't understand what a name change would accomplish since your step brother knows where you are. And, a name change doesn't erase anything that already happened in your prior name.
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worriedinCali May 21, 2019
I agree on the name change-it’s unnecessary and a waste of time & possibly money.
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You know, it’s interesting. Only children come on this forum and sometimes feel so alone in their struggles and I understand that. They are alone. They long for a sibling that could help them out and share in the responsibilities of caring for a parent. Also to have someone close to talk to, someone to listen to concerns.

Then others come on this forum with siblings that are of no help and even cause grief. It’s a shame.

So either way, there can be problems, only child or having siblings. I love hearing from the people who have support from siblings. Wish everyone could be that way. I am happy for them and it gives me hope and faith in human kind.

Does anyone have suggestions how this could have been avoided for the OP with her brother? Is there always a risk no matter how wills are written?
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Mom should have left him something. Then it would be hard to contest the will. Tell him ur job as executor is to carrying out Moms wishes. You also have to make sure all Moms bills are paid. She left you her estate because you took care of her. (Maybe should have said that in the will) Tell him to contest it. It will cost him to do that. There is legal aide for you. Call his bluff for now. You owe him nothing.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Find a Estate Lawyer and see if they offer a free consultant. Then you can ask if step brother has any grounds to contest the will. Also go to your city court house and file a person protection order and tell them you are in fear for your life. Keep all the texts messages and document everything. Time, date and what happened and what was said. Cover your butt!

Hopefully he will run out of steam, well we can hope.

I am sorry that you lost your mom and have to deal with your step brothers crap.
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Reply to Shell38314
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I’m so sorry for your loss, to have this mess heaped on top of grief is terrible.

Sending hugs and prayers your way.

Continue with your plans and hopefully he is just being a bully and won’t follow through with actions.

Can you get free legal aid? I don’t know what is involved to qualify. Maybe do some research on it.

Best of luck to you. Take care. Have faith. We will be thinking of you. Please let us know how you are doing.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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It doesn't sound like there is enough to support the expense of contesting it for your step brother either, he may very well be trying to bluff you with threats and harassment to see what he can get from you to keep him quiet without having to invest in an attorney himself. Remember if attorneys are needed he will have to put money out of his pocket first. I would move ahead with the process of filing and carrying out the will and worry about whether or not to hire an attorney if and when he retains one. You might do a little research though so you have one or two picked out just in case. But don't feed into your step brothers game unless absolutely necessary. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this and while I doubt it will passify him at all is there anything you mom might have wanted left to him or something he is attached to that you could give him saying she wanted him to have it? Just in case it's more about being "left out" than it is about the small amount of cash value.

My condolences on the loss of your mom, expected or not this is not an easy time and having to deal with this as well seems so wrong.
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NeedHelpWithMom May 21, 2019
Yeah, he very well may be trying to intimidate his sister. So sad.
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Just block his number & file the will with probate and let the process play out. You can file a police report to get the threats documented. In most states, you don’t go to the police for a protection order—you go through the courts. In this country, you can disinherit a child so he’s not going to have any luck if he pursues something legally.
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Isthisrealyreal May 21, 2019
Not necessarily, you can't disinherit adopted children and anyone can contest a will. The outcome is in the hands of the judge and that leaves room for personalities to come in to play.

Some jerk judge can say she forgot and award him half. Nothing is guaranteed and the law is unpredictable.
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Change your phone number/get another phone for other friends and family let him continue to text to the number he has.
Legally change your name and when you get to court and the court asks why tell them your step-brother is harassing you.
Sell everything, move and don't tell him. Get a P.O. Box in a different city for mail.
And if all else fails a lawyer is worth the money.
Blessings
hgnhgn
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NeedHelpWithMom May 21, 2019
Interesting answer. Would not have thought of this.
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File probate. Quick question, was she your mom or step-mom?

Go to the local police station and file an injuction of harrassment and an order of protection, his threatening texts are proof that he has malicious intent and that he is harassing you.

Let him file against the will, hopefully your mom left him something or specifically said she was leaving him out. That would simplify the situation. He can contest the will, anyone can, but you don't need an attorney to fight it, would be helpful, but if there is no money, there is no money. Ask the probate court how to deal with the situation and if they can recommend pro bono or legal aid counselors that will help you if you need representation when his case goes to court.

Get documented proof that you were her sole caregiver and any other written proof that you took care of her, statements from doctors, friends, bus drivers or whomever can attest that they knew you cared for your mom.

I am sorry for your loss and that you have to face this on top of losing your mom.
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Harper93 May 21, 2019
Thank you for such a well thought out and helpful answer. Being threatened is scary and sometimes it's hard to even think of the first step to take. Wonderful help you gave here.
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