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Hello,


This is my first time writing, although I've been a reader for over a year.


I am the eldest of 3 siblings. My youngest sister and myself were named my mother's POA and Personal Representatives or Executor's of her Will. My middle sibling, while mentioned and a beneficiary in the Will was left out of the decision making process due to lifelong strained relationships, primarily with mom but with the entire family in general. To be fair, once mom's Alzheimer's became more apparent, middle sibling has made overtures and phone calls to mom, sent gifts on birthday's, Christmas, etc. in an effort to make amends. Also has made calls to us, to check on mom's health and welfare. However, there have been so many issues over the last 45 years that trust was destroyed long ago and - to be honest - everything that's done is viewed with a certain amount of suspicion because of it. That sibling requested a copy of mom's POA several weeks back .....for their records. Since we've had to send copies of that around to various places the last several years in order to take care of mom's business, and because I didn't want to seem like I was being uncooperative, I sent a copy. Now, they are requesting a copy of the Will.


I've never heard of requesting a copy of the will before the person in question dies and I can't find any reference to that being done anywhere online. I know once mom passes and it goes to probate, all interested parties should get a copy. If things were different, I probably would have no issue with this - but because of the past - I'm very skeptical that this is just for their records. Did I mention that this sibling supposedly works for an Eldercare Law Firm? We ( my youngest sister and I) have every intention of following mom's will just the way it's written - middle sibling has seen the will and knows what's in it and has been appraised of all things being done through mom's POA. Their thoughts and input have been taken into consideration on most all issues with of course the final decision being up to my youngest sister and myself. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I can't help but feel we're looking at potential trouble with this request. I'm not sure if they could actually break the POA and Will by obtaining a copy of both, since they were drawn up by a lawyer - but I think they could create significant road bumps that would cost time, money and general inconvenience. There are many other elements to this story that make me suspect of the reason behind this request - and if more info is needed - I'll be happy to fill in the blanks - However, I wanted to be as concise as possible while still getting the point across. Should I just send a copy of the Will or would I be better to contact a lawyer at this point?


Thanks.

They don't need a copy of the Will in fact IMO you were overly generous in sharing any details at all, the more they press the issue the more suspicious I would be. I hope this sibling doesn't have unrestricted access to your mother, if they do prepare yourself for the possibility of a different Will turning up.
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FloridaDD May 11, 2020
Good point Cwillie, about another will showing up.  If you mom has not been formally diagnosed with Alzheimers, I would try to get that done, and keep on file, as any will AFTER that date will be more easily contested.
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You are spot on the money in anticipating trouble, including legal action if the sibling retains the law firm for which she allegedly works to file a challenge. Attorneys aren't going to do it for free though; she may not realize that.

Absolutely, do NOT provide her with a copy of the Will or any ancillary end of life documents which are privileged. That would include a Living Will, DNR or similar document.

But you wrote "they are requesting a copy of the Will". Who's "they" ? Your sibling, with someone in her law firm handling the request? I'm not criticizing if you meant "she", just trying to determine whether she's escalated her plans to include the attorneys for whom she works. If so, that's a real insight into her plans.

She's clearly planning something, probably a legal challenge, after inserting herself into end of life decisions.

You probably shouldn't have provided her with a copy of the POA, as she's not entitled to it if she's not a named proxy. Sending copies to businesses to conduct transactions is a different situation. But that's water over the dam now.

I wouldn't worry about regretting it, but viewing your response positively, and as a early warning preview of potential actions, problems and potential meddling in the future, i.e., a heads-up alert for you and your good sibling.

What it does infer to me though is that she's eyeing post death asset distribution, and possibly considering some potential legal action. So, be on guard.

I would in fact contact the attorney who drafted the POA and Will, and/or any other documents, and consult with him/her, in terms of the recent actions, potential actions, and to address the issue of a contested Will. He/she may have some suggestions on your actions, which should be guarded, as you go forward.

One issue I would raise is if she initiates legal action, under terms of the Will, would she be entirely responsible for legal fees herself, and could you also look to her to reimburse either you, your good sibling, and/or the Estate for any costs expended in defending a lawsuit?

Another question to raise is if there's an "in terrorem" clause in the will. This kind of clause limits or prevents a potential heir's activity to challenge a will by providing something nominal, such as a $1.00 inheritance, with the caveat of no inheritance if the Will is contested.

It may seem like a draconian measure, but it's a clear "hands off" and "no meddling" message to someone who might otherwise challenge a will and create havoc.

I've never seen one but I became aware of it when considering how to insure that someone couldn't challenge and tie up assets in litigation (situation was with an adopted kid with eyes on the assets).

Expect that if your mother is ever or eventually admitted to a facility, or to hospice, there will be an explosion of attempting interference from your sibling. I'd also address that with your attorney, as well as any other pre-emptive action to avoid conflict, litigation and especially disruption to your mother's health, safety, peace, and her assets.

If this sibling is local, and if lock downs are still in effect at facilities, she likely wouldn't be able to get access to your mother; if the situation might be otherwise, she could possibly attempt to reach your mother and address what her inheritance might be. It's not unknown for these last days of life interferences to have occurred.

I would also communicate with that sibling ONLY in writing, and save the communications separately (offline) so they're available if you need to rely on them later. Avoid phone calls which can't be documented. (I say this from experience.)

And stay alert and keep your good sister informed so she can take the same precautions.
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Midkid58 May 15, 2020
My grandma had that $1.00 'clause' in her will b/c she knew her youngest daughter would show up, and want everything she could get her paws on. She either abided by the will to the letter---or she got $1.00 and no more.

Man, she was MAD- but in the end, took her more than generous inheritance and we haven't seen her since. (25 years).

It's actually NONE of YS's business what's in the will. She can wait and see.
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If sibling knew you were made POA, there was no reason to send a copy. I would not send a copy of the Will. To be honest, not even a POA needs to know what is in the Will. That responsibility is the Executor's.

I agree, sibling is doing something underhanded. You don't need to see a lawyer. No one is privy to a Will's contents until the person passes. Then, as u said, it goes to Probate and the Executor handles that. Once Will is filed, its public record. Just tell sibling she is not entitled to a copy until Probate. A Will is a private thing. If she gets a lawyer, than I would worry about getting one then. I would definitely go with my gut feelings.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Just say no. Say that the executor will handle the will upon the passing of your Mom. She has no right to the will whatsoever. Just say no.
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That will, and all contents, are the personal property of your Mother. No one has a legal right to request / demand to see anything in the will - or the will itself, until she passes, and it is filed in probate. I think you'll just be asking for trouble if you share the will. Tell him NO. He has no legal right, nor does anyone, to see that will.
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Personally I would write to say ‘Mother does not wish to send out copies of her will, and finds the request distasteful’.
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disgustedtoo May 15, 2020
:-)
Like that response!
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No, you do not share a copy of Mum's Will. Heck, I am the Executrix of Mum's Will and I have not seen a copy of it. I have a very general idea of what is in it.

When your Mum's estate goes through Probate the Will will be part of the public record.

There is no reason for your sister to see it ahead of time, period.
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Reply to Tothill
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If your gut is telling you that something seems off or not right about this request of the will then listen to your gut.

I have never heard of someone wanting a copy of a Will for their records that isn't their own Will! Hate to say it but I smell a rat!

I would tell your middle sister that you can not give out a copy of the Will and leave it at that.
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Reply to Shell38314
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I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. I too have a sibling like this. I reached out to my Dad's attorney and he stated not to release the will to anyone until my father had passed. At that time the attorney was the one to distribute the will. (My brother asked me for a copy again 3 days after my Dad's funeral) I told my Brother that Dad's attorney will be sending out the information. He had 60 days to send out the copies but did so well before. Death really does bring out the worst in people. I personally would not give a copy to anyone, let the attorney handle this. Best of luck to you.
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Reply to Caregiver2all
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Do not grant a copy of the will to anyone!!! I have the same situation and unfortunately I made a huge mistake and granted my estranged brother a copy. He was barely mentioned in my moms will and now he is on a campaign to destroy me and my moms relationship. He has threatened an audit, he's threatened a negligent lawsuit, anything to get me out of the picture so he can get poa. My mom has dementia and he is constantly trying to brainwash her into thinking that I am stealing from her, that I am leaving her for periods of time ect. Meanwhile he has no idea of the truth he lives 500 miles away and has barely spoken to her till he got hold of the will.. now his tune has changed. These past 5 years, my life is devoted to her care. There is no legal reason to give a will.
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