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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.

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If that sibling is not a PoA for your mom then there's no legal reason to disclose any information while your mom is alive. FYI, I was a little confused by your statement, "My youngest sister and myself were named my mother's P.O.A. and Personal Representatives or Executor's of her Will" A person (or persons) can be both PoA AND executor of a will... not sure where the "or" comes in? The PoA authority ends the second the assigner passes away and the executor duties start.
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FloridaDD May 2020
I think OP is using the OR to refer to Personal Representative or Executor, different jurisdictions use different name, and the one in charge of probate is what she is talking about.   OP say POA AND presumably (PR or executor).  I think OP understand POA versus executor.
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I would tell her she will be notified when will is filed.
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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 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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Wake up. Your sibling smells money. You should consult an estate attorney right now, and make sure that the existing will cannot be overturned in a court battle. POA is invalid upon death... and tell your sibling they will be notified once the will is filed. Good luck, keep us posted...
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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 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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Thanks to all for your replies. Yes, the OR refers to being called either an Executor or a Personal Rep. In my state we are called personal representatives.
Middle sibling does get an inheritance in the Will - it's just that hers is split equally between her and her children, as mom felt otherwise - the grand kids would get nothing. These are grand kids by the way that she raised when middle sibling left the state - so, her reasoning was not without merit. Contention has surfaced since mom has moved in with my youngest sister (who quit her job to be able to stay home and take care of mom - for which she is being compensated - not enough by any means - through the estate) When mom was living at her own home - along with - interesting enough - middle siblings daughter - middle sibling of course had free access to call, visit. etc. Now, of course access is severely limited - not because she's been denied but rather because she made it clear when we moved mom, that she would never enter my sister's home. We suspect - but cannot prove -- money was taken - siphoned off - the last year or so before moving mom in with youngest sister.
Also - before mom got to the point of not being able to make conscious decisions for herself, we had her ( with the help of a fiduciary) open an irrevocable trust. This was actually to enable her to receive V.A. Benefits from my father serving in the military during WWII - but also served to tighten up her assets with my youngest sister and I again serving as Trustees of that trust. This, I think is the crux of the entire matter. I believe middle sibling wants to try to break the trust - but me not being "savvy" as to the law - have no idea how that might happen. Again, I reiterate, there is no way anyone is trying to cut her out of her share and the trust was not institutded for that reason. Whatever is in there at the end will be divided as the Will states but I suspect she was not happy with this turn of events.
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Allyn, thanks for the update and clarifications.

Two comments:

1. "Contention has surfaced since mom has moved in with my youngest sister (who quit her job to be able to stay home and take care of mom - for which she is being compensated - not enough by any means - through the estate) :

Be alert for challenges on these payments; middle sister may try to get documentation, challenge the validity and amounts, etc. I assume you're documenting all the payments and activity?

2. I wasn't aware there was an Irrevocable Trust. Challenging that would be difficult, really difficult. But aside from that, if you're not familiar with trust management after death, it can be very complex. Don't feel hesitant to get legal help if you need it when the time comes. Trusts can be real challenges; just understanding the tax issues give me headaches.
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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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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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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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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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:-)
Like that response!
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I think the only way she is entitled to a copy of the will is if she is a beneficiary.
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Myownlife May 2020
I would think that is only upon death.
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I would consult an estate attorney about the correct way to refuse her request. It sounds like she is planning some sort of attack on the estate plan. Don’t give her any more legal documents without legal advice. It sounds like your Caregiver sibling and you have your hands full with all of this. Good luck!
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Dont send a copy.

There is absolutely No Good Reason your Sister needs it!

If your mom didn't give her a copy of her Will then she didn't want her to have one.

You and your sister,as the Executrix of her Will can send your sister a copy upon your mom's death.

I see no reason to waste money getting a Lawyer unless you get something from a Lawyer.

Next time sister brings it up, Just tell her she will get a copy once your mom passes.

Im the Executrix of my Dad's Will and I'm the only one out of his 4 girls to have it altho we all know that everything will be divided equally among us.

One thought tho, I believe your mom can add an addendum to her Will stating that if anyone contest the Will that they will be out of the Will and get nothing at all.

You will need a Lawyer for that depending on if your mom is still capable of making a decision and knows what is going on.
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Yes. Contact an attorney. In many law firms you can get a free consultation. What you want to know is what potential roadblocks your sibling can cause. He/she has no doubt consulted a lawyer. Good luck.
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When there is a trust, The Will is generally of the "Pour-Over" type, where any money or other assets not specifically "willed" to a person, persons, organization, etc etc, or not already assigned within The Trust, "pour over" into The Trust, and the disposition becomes the responsibility of the trustee. Is that the situation in your mom's case?
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Personally I don’t think you can get or see the will before proper time. Have you thought of your Mom’s affairs/wishes be set up in a Trust? You and sibling will still be POA but everything is expressed in a Trust AND you don’t go to probate. Good luck with your situation, I know it’s hard as I am POA of my Mom and Aunt.
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Please contact an attorney before doing anything else.
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You think she works for an Eldercare Law Firm, but apparently you aren't sure. Have you tried searching her name via google? If she is someone of importance in the firm, then her name will surely be mentioned. However, working for a law firm could mean something as basic as she cleans their facility.

Perhaps your mom's lawyer that drafted the will could send a letter to her explaining that the will will be disclosed to her upon your mother's passing.
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This happened to me. Buckle your seatbelt.

This is totally inappropriate and she is starting to set you up.

I wouldn’t contact a lawyer yet— but you can start researching who you might want to hire in the future. Save the money for now.

Only communicate with her in writing and inform her you are unaware of the will/trust contents (if that’s true). It is absolutely inappropriate and distasteful for her to request a last will and testament of your still living parent. You are right - she has no right to see this until the estate is processed by the probate court. Keep all such correspondence nearby in a file so you won’t have look for it later when you are overwhelmed. Make sure that she responds to you in writing (e-mail is better than text as evidence).

Be very careful what you write. It takes a calculated/devious individual to start posturing to challenge the will even though your mom is alive. She knows your mom had reason to feel differently toward her or she wouldn’t be asking.

She could also be setting you both up for a challenge to every dollar that’s being spent on your mom now (even though it’s your mom’s money).

Watch out, you will get caught in the crosshairs, even if you always got along. Warn your other sibling.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be in a lawsuit. When you get sued, you are forced into a lawsuit and you are forced also to defend yourself. Most lawsuits end in a settlement even when there was no wrongdoing. If she works for an attorney she knows this. She figures that she’ll squeeze something extra out of this estate.

She will take out her anger toward your parent out on you. (That will be the nicest thing she will say).

I know you feel you haven’t done anything wrong and so you may feel there’s no way that she can get by with suing you. That’s not true. Anyone can sue anyone for anything and it’s very painful to be a defendant, even when you did your best.

This happened to me. I didn’t realize the chess board was getting set up, I was too focused on caretaking. My parents were my world.

I was sued as executor and personally by two excluded siblings (out of 5) that were rightfully excluded and I won completely on all counts. (Because I was sued personally, however, I had to hire a second attorney and had to personally foot costly legal bills.).

She also knows that she can hire a lawyer on contingency basis and she won’t have to pay anything upfront. It could get vicious—the lawyer doesn’t care one thing about you, and most of lawyers that take these kinds of cases are bloodthirsty. Her employer may be urging her to do this to generate more business.

I never could have imagined the ugliness that would come.

Please contact me personally. I would be happy to give you guidance.
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Similar situation. 3 kids, brother is middle child. Our mother is in assisted living. Will has his share of assets Divided to be sure his kids get something. Long term estrangement but he also has been seeing her more since ALZ diagnosed. My sister is POA and mom has diagnosed ALZ. When we first took her over, paying bills, getting her moved to facility and selling her house, he demanded copy of will and wanted copies of monthly statements for all household expenses to “see how her money is being spent”. So basically accusing us of spending her money. My sister is POA and I am a nurse so we really make decisions together and discuss until we agree. She makes ultimate decisions and I am fine with that. He screamed and yelled but he was told many times that he did not need any documents and would not be given anyway. He threatened us with his lawyer and I told him that if his lawyer told him he would be able to get POA changed, that he needed a new lawyer. He wanted control of her and wanted her to live with him so they could save her money to be inherited. We held firm and gave him nothing. Knowledge is power. It would have been better not to give the POA document but don’t give anything else “to keep the peace”. There will be no peace and the lawyers she works for want to view the documents for loopholes.
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caringdil May 2020
Such a sad family situation. I think one has to think of what will happen when parents passes. If you never care to have a relationship, keep fighting to prove the point he is wrong and you are right. If you love and miss your brother, you might reconsider.
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As you say, you intend on following your mother's will to the letter. And nothing can change in the will because your middle sister has a copy, right? Perhaps she would like to know the contents of the will so she best understands what your mother's wishes are. That seems fair. I am POA for my mother who is in a nursing home. She and my sister haven't had meaningful contact in 25 years. I do talk to my sis. She asked about our mother's will a couple of years ago. I told her what was it said. That was the end of that. I believe my sis needed that closure.
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No one has a legal or ethical right to access the information in a will prior to a testator’s death unless that information is shared by the testator. The will is never in effect until after death, anyway, and can accordingly, be changed.

If your parent asks you to read their will, please say, “no thank you.”
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As my uncle often says "Askin ain't gettin".

Did a lawyer draw up the will for your mom? I would refer sib to that office if they did. They are probably well versed in "No" as a complete sentence.

If they did not, was your family planning on retaining a lawyer to process the estate? If yes, maybe meet with that group now and then refer your sister and her employer to them.

But I agree with everyone who says Sibling doesn't get a will before the person is deceased.
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Oh dear - I’m sorry you’re in this sibling situation. I am very suspicious of your sibling’s motives and would not send copy of your Mom’s will.

While my Dad was alive, he showed his Will to each of his children (5 sibs) when it was drafted - but only to read. My elder sister was the executor and we both had POA (she was handling his finances, I was taking care of his medical care). As soon as my Dad was put on hospice care, one of my brothers immediately called a family meeting... But as it turned out it was not to discuss his care or wellbeing but rather to harangue us to put his car and condo up for sale! He opted not to be involved in my Dad’s life after my mom’s death. But when it came to grabbing up family heirlooms he and his wife swooped right in! At my Dad’s inurnment, he again opted to posture and said “shame on you” for not having the condo on the market yet! Now a More year after my Dad’s death, he only contacts any of us siblings to attempt to squeeze out some money.

Unfortunately, I suspect your sibling is just waiting for the inheritance check.
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Hello,

I'm sorry for your troubles, Alzheimer/Dementia is enough to deal with a parent... now to also worry about siblings intentions of being good or bad, that’s insane.

I have other siblings, my mother seen a lawyer well over a decade ago before her strokes/vascular dementia. she put me as sole DPOA, and the Healthcare Proxy has me first and if I’m not a available (another words dead) then only one other of my sisters is down. I got multiple copies of those.

My mom also did a Will (really more for personal belongings) that apparently she only got a copy of it and now of course, she doesn’t remember where it is. I can’t find a copy of it anywhere in the house, there is no safety deposit box at a bank either.

When I contacted her lawyer to request a copy of her Will, he said, “I’m sorry I don’t keep copies of Wills, the original signed Will went with your mom, if you can’t find it, then she’ll have to get another one done”...yikes! That’s tough with her Dementia to sign documents now bc she doesn’t fully understand.

So in response to your question from my experience is “no”.
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Must be a lousy lawyer... I didn't read all the hits, but looking it up it seemed that most of the responses indicate that a copy of ANY legal document drawn up is kept, at least for a given amount of time. Sure, the original goes with the person, unless they choose to have the attorney hold it.

When the attorney who did my will (MANY years ago - need to get another done) retired, she sent the copy she had on file to me. That was a small town attorney.

If there would be no real contention for the "personal" items, could everyone just agree after mom passes what they want? POAs end at death, so if there are any other assets (house, trust, etc), hopefully someone has "access" to those documents (house would have to go through probate, if no will can be produced, same for other assets if no trust.)

The EC atty who set everything up has copies of everything we need!
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it was very enlightening reading your post because I m experiencing pretty much a similar situation .
There is only myself and my sibling .
i have POA and also all bank records business records . My Dad gradually wanted me to have records etc...
To the point what is your sibling going to
do if you don’t give him a copy of the will?
You have the POA for good reason your mother’s wish!
i am not a lawyer however what is he going to do if you don’t present it to him?
If in your gut you feel it’s not appropriate follow your feelings .
Good luck ♥️
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She has no right to see the will now and you may be right that she's preparing to stir the pot. I would not provide her a copy and simply say, if your mom didn't give her a copy you don't feel comfortable doing this now. If your mom has dementia it's unlikely (but not impossible) that she 'd be incompetent to change her will. If she is still legally competent then this sibling could try to get her to change her will, yes. If there's no way she is legally competent, her will cannot be changed. But your sister could try to contest it later. Unless your mother has a no-contest clause in her will (and I would recommend this to everyone although even this might not be 100% airtight in every state), your sister could try this later. Best of luck, your family doesn't need this extra angst at this point.
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Some states will accept a copy of a will, others will not. I would hold onto the copy. If they don't accept that, then you should apply for executorship immediately after death. When a person dies intestate with surviving children, usually all children would share equally. If your mother made provisions for others in her will, e.g. charities, they would get nothing unless all heirs agree to this. You could ask your mother's physician (if he is familiar with dementia) to visit her and make a determination as to her legal competency. If so, you can have her execute a new will with the same provisions.
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