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Help!!! I was the sole caretaker of my Father for 3.5 years. As difficult as that was, I wanted to make sure my Father was well taken care of in his last days as he was legally separated from his wife of 35 years and living alone. In July 2013, my Father passed away. My role of caretaker transitioned into executor and successor trustee of my Father's trust. Shortly after my Father's death, I was advised by a family friend that my Stepmother had been living with a man for the past 3.5 years. No biggie ... They were legally separated and she has every right to move on with her life! However, she lied about it to myself and my Father for 3.5 years. Eventually my Stepmother shared that her "caretaker" was actually her boyfriend and she was going to marry him. Again, not much I can do about that information! However, a red flag presented itself when I tried to discuss financial findings with my Stepmother and she kept deferring my questions to her new boyfriend. About a month after my Father's death, my Stepmother was checked into a hospital. She passed shortly after. Now I have her boyfriend asking questions about my Father's financial affairs because she made him the executor of her estate!!! I'm furious!!! He is determined to access my Father's retirement and pension with the government. He's been calling our family attorney asking him to represent him in suing me! He has also promised all funds received from my Father's estate/retirement/pension would go to her family which I do not believe! They are buying this story and have stopped giving me information about his financial plans. I truly believe this guy is an opportunist and saw he could come up nicely by attaching himself to my Stepmother.

Has anyone had similar issues arise when trying to handle a decedent's estate?

Any advice is much appreciated!!!

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Fed - how is the use of the property done? Like in my state - Louisiana - you can do a usufruct and have it in the will or added as a codicil to the will. Usufruct is a unique legal in that it is totally valid and you have to negotiate with the beneficiary and come to an agreement before you can do anything with the asset. Just because they move or don't even use the asset makes no difference. (My DH & I had one for me on property he owned before we got married which I will not inherit.
Now we have since sold that property so the usufruct is gone but would have been important if we still had it and he predeceased me). Most of time usufruct are great for second or third marriage situations in which the parent wants to leave the asset to their kids from marriage # 1 but wants to enable the current spouse to stay living in the house or continue to use the asset (like a beach house or 2nd home) so her standards of living do not change due to his death. He may leave a trust to pay for expenses, or last wife pays or sometimes the final inheritor has to pay. But if they want to do something with the house, they have to negotiate with second wife to do so whether or not she uses the asset. Makes everybody have to get all kum-ba-ya if only for a moment. If it states that she had to live in the house in order to get the benefit, then you all might be out of luck once she went to NH.
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This guy is a bully. He is hoping to scare and intimidate you into giving him assets that may not belong to him, thinking that you are too stupid not to. The next time he contacts you and/or any of your family, you tell him to have his attorney contact your attorney; anything else and you will call the police. Don't believe another word he says - tell him to talk to your lawyer and quit HARASSING you and your family. And get an attorney that will work for you.
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PS Stepbro's wife is also a POA for my stepmom. She lives above her means, too.
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Please do keep us posted Igloo572. My father left the house to his children after his wife (my stepmother) died. She is still living although her son moved her to a nursing home and then sued me for having a conflict of interest because we would inherit after her death or if she CHOSE to move out. The operative word here is CHOSE because she did no such thing. He moved her out. He spent over $400,000 of Dad's money left for her nursing care to buy himself things and then sued us because he said the house was for her although it was not in her name and they kept their finances separately. He told her I put her in the nursing home although I did not even know where she was and she believed him. The only person who can request a full accounting from her POAs is my stepmother and she won't. Stepbro said he would never give up; even if we won in court, he would appeal and appeal and appeal all the way to Superior Court. At that point, I settled for half the estate and he is now trying to get more. In the meantime, he put her on TITLE 19 and he will take this new half of the house sale and spend it on himself. I want to ask the court to make sure an attorney is appointed to oversee this money. He will fight that, too. The estate is now worth 1/10th of what it was and my father never intended to disinherit his children. BTW--All of my stepmother's money went to her children AND her house was signed over to one of them already. I hope someone can tell me if I can get stepmom's half of the house assets put into a supervised account--otherwise this was truly all for nothing. BTW--his attorney demanded (as part of the settlement) that I receive no executrix fees or travel or gas or tolls or food to come to a different state to settle all this. Nice guys finish last and nice executrixes don't even finish.
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Igloo572 ---- You've given me some really good ideas to look into. Can you please read and respond to FedUpNow's question? It looks as if you might be able to assist with it.

I will keep you all posted on how things are going with me!
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Oh my FedUpNow ..... Two years and counting is quite a while to deplete funds! As they say .... The attorney's get rich while you walk away with not much! Thanks for the advice! I will start looking for a bull dog to help me in my fight.
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Having been royally screwed by my stepbrother who weakened his mother's asset pool for his own purposes, can I at least ask for oversight, i.e. an attorney to disperse the remaining funds I am to turn over for her care in a nursing home? Ii am afraid if I give it to him (as her POA), he will squander her remaining assets on himself again. Is this legal? Can I ask the Probate Court Judge to oversee the money rather than disperse it to him?
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Hopeless - you need new legal NOW. Since you described your current attorney as the "family" attorney, I bet they are more the file the paperwork type. This is going to be nasty and ugly and will cost both time and emotion to get through this. I would not get an estate or probate attorney but rather contact a real pitt-bull of a divorce attorney. A lot of all this are marital issues (separation issues, maybe a "presentation of false marriage", co-mingling of funds) which can be complex. A good divorce attorney will know who to do the probate aspects too.

If it were me, I'd speak with other friends who went through the worst divorces especially those that their ex-married a much younger spouse and the ex-wife got screwed in the deal and get their ex's attorney's names; or if you can chat up the gals who work at the expensive salons or spa's in town. They hear everything and may have a attorney's name. Do you have friends who have big time jobs or are the executive assistant to a recently divorced CEO, CFO type? They too will have names. Divorce attorney's don't advertise as their client base are from referrals. Their office is going to be in the more affluent zip code too.

Current attorney is a total pussy and I bet they have taken the stance that since parents weren't divorced, she would be the beneficiary to dad's estate since she survived him and so everything is hers and therefore now everything is boyfriends.
And as the family attorney, he is first & foremost to the surviving family (her) and therefore now to her boyfriend as she named him executor.

You have to decide to be all hard-ball on this too. As you legally are named as executor of dad, you can still do all that but realize you can determine how probate on his estate get's done. This is where a good attorney can be invaluable. I've been executrix twice for aunt's estates and helped my mom with my dad's. For 1 aunt it was a hot mess of an estate. My being named executrix came as a surprise to me as we were not close at all. It was her attorney who contacted me and she had had him prepared a letter as to why she named me. In her will, she was pretty explicit in what charities and scholarships estate was to go to, small amounts to family & friends. She had home, land, O & G stuff and she died about 2 mo after moving into a expensive CCRC from an aneurism. Now she had a nephew, who had for years did things for her & he expected to be named. Was some kinda pissed when that didn't happen too. He made all kind of noise and sent a letter to bill the estate for all his caregiving and other expenses related to her. The attorney said basically do you want to take this to the mat and I agreed. Now in my aunt's state probate can run to 4 years, and as executrix YOU determine what the time frame is. You do NOT have to even present letters to open probate right away unless there is something needing immediate attention (like a foreclosure). Now through the whole probate process, the executor can be paid. And depending on the estate, this amount could be a good amount of $. As executor you can get certain things done - like a forensic CPA accounting of their assets. That for you would mean dad's & mom's as they were married at the time of his death. So everything they both had will surface - banking, retirement, investments, real property ownership, etc. All that can take time….. Boyfriend has to accommodate the probate courts request for a forensic too.

One thing we did was to respond to nephew regarding his "the estate owe's me letter", what the attorney did was to send him a letter asking for details on this and the amount he was requesting. Well nephew got right back on that. What that did was provide for a confirmation of his caregiving. The attorney then had me (as executrix) send him a letter with W-9's to be filled out as the money he had been paid in the past by auntie would be fully taxable. And we were going to go back on her taxes to do this for past years and would be doing it fresh for the year of her death too….therefore every cent she paid him in the recent past would be reported to IRS as taxable income. IF he didn't sign & mail back the w-9, it would still be reported to IRS but with a letter stating that he refused to provide his TIN. He went away……still mad to this day. Now as far as my time, being executrix easily was a full year of work for me but over a 4 year period of running around county courthouses. I ended up doing a lot of the stuff that a paralegal would do, which has actually served me well later on in life. It was quite character building, as my hubby says.

About the attorney, your dad's money from his estate should be paying for the new attorney too. As executor of dad, you can do this. Good luck.
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My stepbrother waited one month past the five-year loopback period before bringing suit to remove me as Trustee citing I had a conflict of interest in the estate because I would inherit if his mother died. You have a fiduciary responsibility to the entire family, not just your mother. We are settling in court, not because I was removed (I was not!) but because the other side will keep appealing until all your funds are used up. Even after agreeing to a 50/50 split, he has appealed for more. He spent the money on himself, to his mother. You need a NASTY lawyer so the other side will give up. This has been a two-year scorched earth legal battle that I hope will end within the next two months. Good luck.
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FedUpNow ..... I'm catching on! I never thought my parents situation would end as it did! My Father passing and her shortly after. It's amazing how you find things out about people after someone close to you passes. It could be good or bad but it rises to the surface!

May I ask how long you have been in your legal situation? Sound as painful as mine is. How do you not let the stress overwhelm you?
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EXACTLY Raven1 .... Make total sense now that she never came to help me take care of my Father but would call religiously to see if my Father was still breathing or not! I'm so disappointed in all that has come out about her deceptive behavior. My stepmother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was sick for a very long time. She got connected to this loser and he latched on for dear life! I wouldn't say she was in her right mind when she made these changes but I was told, by my attorney, that I couldn't challenge the changes because I wasn't in her will to begin with. This woman even removed her family members from her trust and will and left them with nothing. Everything went to this new boyfriend! I was shocked. She clearly was taken advantage of and he has declined to share any funds with her family! To answer the marriage question, I received a copy of her death cert and it says they were in a domestic partnership. That's not a legal marriage ... Correct? How can one be in a domestic partnership while still being married?

My attorney isn't representing the boyfriend. It's the Family attorney that the boyfriend is trying to have represent him. I knew better than to go back to the same man who changed my stepmother's trust for legal advice! But I feel he is feeding this scum free advice over the phone which is a conflict of interest .... In my world!
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LoL @ Light Healer! I do believe it's time to part ways with my Attorney. I do more research and finding things out than he does. Thanks for the laugh.
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Dear Hopeless, You DO need a lawyer who will challenge everything and be nasty. My stepbrother's counsel is exactly like that and that is why my lawyer is like yours and we are losing everything. Keep remembering: It's NOT about the truth. It's about thee MONEY. And the legal fees. When all is said and done, legal fees will get paid but YOU WON'T!
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Your mother and her boyfriend knew that it was best to just hang on and hopefully your father would pass away and she would be entitled to her share of the estate. This was no accident, it was planned and they evidentally believed there was enough money there for them to live off of. The thing is she was admitted to the hospital and died one month after your father? Of what, what was her medical condition? Did she have dementia or Alzheimer's? Was she of sound mind to make the decisions she made or was she duped by a man who saw some easy money if he just waited a while. Did they ever marry?

This entire issue sounds horrendous and I have enough problems just dealing with siblings much less having to deal with someone like this. I truly feel for you and I would obtain another attorney.... your attorney cannot represent this guy too it is a conflict of interest!!!

Best Wishes!!!
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OK! TY for clarifying. Yes. You need a decent Lawyer! I feel badly for what you're going through and wish you the best! Call a ruthless Lawyer. Jewish is best!
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Light Healer .... Her boyfriend is the executor and successor trustee of my stepmother's trust. My cousins have been around this guy and he sends them through the run around .... He isn't giving them many of her belonging much less anything of value. He's not of good character .... Its been confirmed!
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Avcidy .... My attorney seems extremely non challenging when it comes to my situation. I'm very concerned that I need to possibly change and get a new one that is more enthused about protecting my families assets! Thanks for the suggestion!
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Welcome to hell! I am going through the same thing and despite his assurances that he will do the right thing, you are in for one helluva horrible court experience. I am writing a book about this when my case finishes up. Our estate was stripped of 90% of its value and my stepbrother wants that, too. Get legal counsel and insist your case be heard. Good luck!
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Questions: Was there a legal marriage between your stepmother and your father at the time of HER death? I know that they were " separated" ? Was your stepmother the beneficiary of your father's estate? Is there an actual lawsuit on file in a court of law against your father's estate by your stepmother's former boyfriend? Remember that "separated" does not mean divorced. Many states, including my own, do not recognize a legal separation, only "Separate Maintenance". Even the IRS says that there is no such thing as "Separated Filing Jointly". According to the law, if you are "separated", you are still married.
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By the way.....is he the executor of her will? If so, this could change things a wee bit. Also, it isn't up to you to judge him without knowing if he has indeed been trying to represent her family. Why don't you get in touch with someone from her family and find out? Namaste and good luck.
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I agree with avcidy! This guy should have no legal claim or rights to anything whatsoever. You need a better Lawyer!
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your lawyer should be protecting you and putting this con artist in his place. legally speaking I don"t think he has any rights except the kitty liter box. Be fully aware of your lawyers actions...you may need a change....luck to you.
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