He left everything to an out of state cousin that none of us even knew of. All of our parents home is going to be packed up and sent to this man on the west coast. We were inform that if we wanted any of our parents belonging we could buy them from him. How can this be fair? My parents lived in that home for over 50 years, my bothers and i grew up there. All my Great Grandparents and Grandparents heirlooms, even my wedding dress that was stored in the attic now belong to a stranger. This is just not right.....
You mentioned your father signed the current Will just months prior to entering the nursing home. I am really surprised he never mentioned this Cousin, as usually one with Alzheimer's/Dementia will obsess over an item for months on end. You'd think he would have talked none stop about a new Will.
I am curious how did the Attorney know who you were as he/she called you about the Will? How did the Cousin and/or Attorney know who everyone was in the family and their telephone numbers?
Something doesn't sound right here.
And I still believe you should be entitled to a copy of the new Will. Check with your county Probate Department; it should have been filed.
I still think it seems strange.
In fact, that raises another question....were the names of any of your family on any of your father's accounts? I have a feeling that if they were, that was changed also.
I'm wondering if this was an orchestrated scam.
A cousin that you don't even know existed - that sounds very suspicious to me.
Some concerns I would have:
1. If the Will or Codicil was executed after father had been diagnosed with dementia, depending on his cognitive state, it might not be valid. You may have a good challenge to the Will based on his incapacity to understand legal issues and have had the Will changed.
2. See what you can do to run down any witnesses to the Will, as well as determine if an attorney was involved (I suspect not). It wouldn't hurt to ask the admins and staff if they knew of any episodes in which someone (strangers?) came and met with your father.
3. Who is going to do the packing and sent to the so-called cousin? Was this arranged previously, prior to your father's death? I assume you're also asking for identification from this cousin to prove who he really is?
4. It is possible that someone at the facility in which he was staying influenced him, and that this alleged cousin is not really a cousin? Have you done any research to determine his lineage, which side of the family, etc.? Does anyone at all know of him?
5. It's also possible that someone at the facility befriended your father and to show his appreciation he made the changes, and that this cousin really isn't a cousin at all.
I would definitely do some background investigation.
On the other hand, if it turns out that this relative is in fact legitimate, and the changes made were also legitimate, you might want to contact the relative and negotiate arrangements to get the possessions you want, such as your wedding dress.
But this situation just doesn't sound legitimate to me.
If no to most of the answers, consult an Elder Law Attorney to see what steps you can take.