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How can I get help when I can’t even find a pro bono attorney, they all want money I don’t have...


Am 63 years old now and had moved in with my mother (85 years old), in March 2015 as she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage 4. I was her sole caretaker for 2 years and 9 months until her passing. Siblings thought that because I left my job and moved in with her that I should need no help, they didn’t understand and I was never paid as her caregiver. I went into debt I never had in my life. I had to cash in my only IRA which was about 6,000. The next summer I had to cash in my 401K to pay bills which was only approximately 8,000.


My mom and I were so very close I almost had a nervous breakdown at the thought of losing her. I was on a lot of medications from a psychiatrist because of the condition I was in. So I have no job, no money, no help from siblings that don’t understand and I was my Mom’s POA for her health but her will had my older sister and younger brother as coexecutors on her will.


My sister and I had not gotten along in years. She never did one thing to help my mother during this whole time and visited her twice at my Mom’s condo where I moved in with my mom. This was at the beginning of my moving in. She only called my mother maybe every 2 weeks if that. She had walked away from my Mom’s illness and anything that was going on with my mother.


Once when I had an appointment for my own mental health, my mom had a cancer treatment appointment and no ride. She called my sister, after my sister in law that was busy that day and my sister said, “No, I can’t but take a cab and I’ll pay for it." Who says this to their own mother? My mother called my cousin that lives an hour away and she was more than happy to come out and take my mom and called me to update me on everything at that appointment. Now my sister has done everything to spite me that she possibly can and doesn’t care at all about the wishes my mom had which she knows very well.


There is a lot more to this, but I need help. I can’t afford an attorney and I am a wreck which is the last thing my mom wanted and my mom had talked to each of my three siblings and told them that she knew they would all be fine and all were financially fine. I wasn’t emotionally doing good or financially, and was falling apart physically from not being able to take care of myself. I need so much help and guidance and I do not even know who to turn to for legal help I need desperately. I tried one place that said they were pro bono and they at the time said they couldn’t help me. It’s gotten so much worse with her and what she’s now saying to me thru my mother’s estate attorney, using my mother’s estate money to pay this attorney, stating that she is even deducting money from me once the estate is settled. I need someone to help me. I have nothing. I’m looking into contesting the will or getting paid for being my mother’s sole caretaker or doing whatever I need to do but don’t know where to turn. Also I’m trying to find out if I can sue my sister in a civil case for all of the pain and suffering and mental anguish she has put me thru but again need an attorney. I know without a doubt my mom would have taken them out of the will had she ever thought this could happen and I’m not letting this go. I don’t say one word back about these letters I get basically threatening me. I’m not like them and I need to stay the better person and not respond because that would make her even happier. I live in Lake County IL and the probate court is in Waukegan. I don’t think I can do anything on my own about this but I’m trying to look up anything I can to get information.


Please help if you can.

Boy I wish I had some help to give you. Same situation here. Been caring for my mom since my dad's death in 1986. When she was hospitalized in December I found out my brother is not only sole POA for her medical care and finances but that she also put him on the deed to her house and changed her will under his influence. The original will let me live in the house the rest of my life and, if I wished at some point, sell it and split the proceeds. Now, when she passes, I get four years to buy him out at 40 percent of the market value: $400,000. Yeah, right. That's my inheritance. The right to buy my parents' house from my brother.

That's my reward for making her the center of all of my decisions for the past thirty years, taking her to hundreds of doctor appointments, surgeries, etc., giving up thousands and thousands of work hours, time with my children, care of my own future.

My brother also got my mom to take out five mortgages since my dad died. The $200K that was received from those is MIA. No idea where it went.

He is also physically and verbally abusive and even left her for dead last month with no food or medicine. My mom won't say a word against him. Since I began to question him he has ruthlessly brandished his POAs and is now threatening to report me to police for threats, theft and other outrageous claims. My mom is totally competent but won't speak up against him.

I don't have any money either. I contacted the legal offices of the Illinois Department on Aging, but I don't expect an answer with all of the backlog in government.

Family sucks. I never thought any of this could ever happen in our family. I am trying to go through court to get POA away from him based on his abuses. If I can't, I'm going to move far away and leave the two of them to each other.

Keep trying. I am sure you will find a pro bono attorney. You might not get anything out of it, but it is worth a try.

I never expected anything from my mom, but I also didn't expect her to stab me and my daughters in the back like this. It just never occurs to you that you need to have a legal agreement to compensate you for all the work hours you give up, the career advancement you abandon, the retirement income you never make. It sucks. Then, when you realize it, it's too late.
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Reply to ChiGirl68
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"my mom had talked to each of my three siblings and told them that she knew they would all be fine and all were financially fine."

Did she talk to them to try and make them give you more of the inheritance for your years of caregiving? How is the estate split now? Four ways, and you think you should get more?

Or were you left nothing? I'm not understanding your issue.
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Nancyb247 Aug 17, 2018
The will is split between us 4 siblings equally. However, my older sister being executor of the will is a cold narcissistic person and has done anything she can think of to spite me and hurt me in any way she can. My mom knew they were all financially fine and told them she was worried only about me as we were so close that I almost had a nervous breakdown after learning of her diagnosis and knowing she wouldn’t be here with me. She was anxious about what state my mental health would be in and told them each that. Also financially since I left my job and moved in with her to care for her for 2 years and 9 months, also due to almost having a nervous breakdown, I didn’t have much money and went a year without income until I was approved for SSD. I was borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. I never wanted my mom to worry even more about me so I never told her about my money situation or asked for any. She made provisions for me that after she passed I live free in her condo for 15 months with every bill paid for out of her bank account. Now my sister had my mother’s estate attorney write me a letter stating that I will be charged for all the utilities for 15 months and I’ll get less than they do when I’m the only one that took care of her. The will reads 2 ways to take what she meant that all bills are paid so that attorney is just telling her one part and not the other. She is cold, lies about everything and my mom would just kill her if she knew what she has done to me. She wouldn’t even be in the will anymore. Nobody wants to get involved in this mess but everyone knows something is very wrong with my sister. Even my counselor, aunts, cousins, friends of my moms, anyone that knew us. It is disgusting. I need help.
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Chances are you will not accomplish much other than legal bills if you try to sue the estate. I agree with Sue cut your losses and start looking for new job. I f your mother wanted certain accommodations made for you, she should have included them in her will. Even with one’s immediate family, there should have been a written caregiver agreement. I’m sorry you are in this situation, but you know you did the best you could by taking care of your mother.
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You could try billing the estate for the care you provided. Have no clue whether that would work or not. Thought about doing that myself as I also provided 24/7 care for four years. Previous to mom's death was very ugly with twisted sisters, court involvement, where POA twisted was ordered to pay me a pittance for two years and going forward. I decided to let it go as it had already been stressful enough.
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I googled Lake County Illinois free legal aid. This is what came up.
www.illinoislegalaid.org/counties/lake
www.callanillinoislawyer.com/
www.deannabowen-law.com/‎
www.legalsupporttoday.com/‎
www.probonoattorneysguide.com/‎
www.justia.com/lawyers/illinois/lake-county/legal-aid-and-pro-bono-services

I'm not sure what your motive is. Do you want to sue your siblings for your share of your mom's estate? You can't sue them to pay you because you took care of your mother. It was your choice to quit your job and be her caregiver.

If it were me, I'd be done with your siblings and try to find a new job.
Good luck.
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