How do I protect Moms finances without paying a ton to either a lawyer or brother?

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My brother tells me that he is going to file a lawsuit against Mom and I.


This is his complaint.


I was the POA for my Dad..he passed in September.
I am the POA for my Mom. She is the executor and sole inheritor.


I have been moving Moms money into various investment accounts. Mostly depositing checks from Insurance and pensions, getting into very safe investments.. I figure that even with low interest...the principal needs to be safe..there will be enough for Mom for the next 10 years.


Brother wants some of that money...he feels he should have been an inheritor. In fact, he thinks I probably influenced my Dad to change his will. (Not so...will was written in 1976).


I did everything to conclude the business of my Dad..on my mother's behalf.


Brother says..he will drain the account just paying for the legal fees...or I can just talk Mom into handing over $40,000 now.


I guess he doesn't have much money....so winning against him might result in a monetary aware for legal bills..I bet he cannot pay. How do I protect Moms finances without paying a ton to either a lawyer or brother?

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Katie, another thought if your brother begins to threaten again. If he did sue your mother, forcing the shock and trauma of having to defend herself, it might be considered emotional abuse of an elder.

Being sued is traumatic; for someone with difficulty speaking, for someone who's old, and for someone being sued by her son, that's a major traumatic event. That would be something to include in responsive pleadings (if he does file suit).
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This is another good reason to put the money in accounts with the WROS designation. Basically...what it means is that Mom already owned those account and needed no will or court to transfer it to her.

My purpose was only to expedite the movement of money for her. As she has great difficulty speaking (stroke) talking on the phone is near impossible. Without time consuming help from someone, she would be unable to make her wishes known.

What we have done is sit for a couple hours each day and write everything down. Oddly, mom can read it clearly...just cannot say the words clearly from off the top of her head. So, she works out what she wants to say by telling me..I enter the words into her 'mini talk"....what words I can get...then we refine it till it says what she wants. Then we go to the bank or broker. Sometimes she will get flustered and still not be able to say it..even reading. But, at least we have it all worked out in advance. And the 'mini talk' will say her words for her if she is stuck. (This device from lingraphica is a great tool!).

My brothers first objection seemed to be that Mom avoided probate to begin with. He didn't like the idea that the court wasn't taking all the financial step..instead I was. Even understanding that mom cannot speak quickly enough to get into the conversation (and people rarely will take the time to wait for her to pull it together), I think he didn't "get" that this was moms money, and avoiding probate was completely legal and made good sense....avoiding the large cost of probate. i guess he believed that probate would have given him some of that money.
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There would have to be some legal basis for stepping in and challenging a will which leaves all assets to a surviving spouse. It could be something like the case of the glamorous but exploitive second wife. It could be some claim of mental incompetence at the time the person made the will. But it can't be just because someone feels they should have inherited something after all. It couldn't even be "Dad always told me he would leave me the house!".
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Iggy, see an attorney and ask how to have a provision comparable to an in terrorem clause added to the Will, since Florida apparently does not recognize this protective measure.

As to your specific questions, you're wise to plan on consulting an attorney, since answers here would most likely be from people who like me might have a legal background, or might otherwise have good experience on which to base their answers.
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In some states that I am aware of, even with a will leaving everything to the wife, the children can challenge it (which makes a good case for setting up trusts so your wishes are not at the mercy of unscrupulous heir wannabe's and the courts). I am not clear about who can be the executor if the named spouse executor is not competent. Can a POA or guardianship allow you to step into the shoes of the named spouse? Anyone have experience with that? I think, as with most of these questions where people who are not legal people provide answers, the best answer is from an attorney experienced in these matters in the state(s) in question, as every state is different. That is going to be my next call, because I am now in that situation, and when I researched Florida law, I discovered that the able-bodied able to work kids can challenge the will and take the money meant to care for the surviving spouse until her death. Talk about the law stepping and undoing your last wishes - geesh! Good luck!
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I would definitely file a complaint with police, but also sit tight until you get sued. Clearly he can't win and you may be able to sue him for your legals costs in the event you have to defend it in court. If he doesn't have much money he's not going to be able to afford the lawsuit and is probably just trying to scare you.
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Katie, thanks for the very helpful (and encouraging) response. I'm glad your attorney set your brother straight and he backed off.

Truly, it is good to read that an unsettling and frightening situation has been resolved by intervention of an attorney. Too often these kinds of situations don't get better, sometimes get worse, or the poster is uncomfortable acting, for whatever reason.

And, I'm also glad that your attorney is co-proxy under the POA; that adds quite a bit of clout that an individual might not have.

If your brother were ever sued by an attorney on your half and on the attorney's behalf as well, your brother would literally be hit by a legal tornado. I've worked on a few legal malpractice suits; attorneys really know how to hit the jugular with they go after another in their field.
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Finally, the only issue was with just the credit union. The bank and brokerage had no issue with WROS. This will prevent that from going into probate when Mom passes.

The credit union would not even consider a POD (pay on death) designation on the account. As there is enough money there to force this into probate...the plan is to move $14,000 into long term CDs in my name...one this year, one next year.....and transfer the rest out. Those CDs will be used over the course of the next couple years to pay Moms bills. The terms at the credit union is just too good to miss... Anywhere else pays poorly AND will charge a fee for withdrawal! Since we know that some funds will be used monthly to pay bills, etc...this is the ideal place for it to come from.

Detail records of the use of this money is already provided to the family attorney monthly.
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All of Moms money are in a series of accounts in her name. Brokerage, CDs, bonds, etc.

Yes, brother was handed a copy of the will. In the first provision, Mom is sole inheritor should she survive him. brother and I are only named in the event Mom pre-decease him.

moms will provides an even split between us. The only exceptions being the family jewelry, which goes to me. As is has passed down through the women of the family only. But..Mom gave it all to me years ago, and I gave it all to my Daughter a couple of years ago.

So, it is clear that my brother just wants some of the money handed to him..now. He might 'get' that the money is going to be spent for Mom, and if she lives as long as her mother...that will be another 12 years. Long time to wait to inherit!
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Ok..sorry to be so long getting back here.

This is the story. Everything was in Moms name. She and Dad held everything I. JT WROS. There is no probate. Mom is the owner, and always was.

My brother is NOT co-POA. The family lawyer is my co-POA.

So...the family lawyer sent a tightly worded letter to brother. The upshot being, he oversees the financial move I am making on behalf of Mom, and agrees with how it is handled. if brother wishes to bring a legal action, he is advised to add the family lawyers name to the suit.

Brother left me a voice mail...backing off in a hurry. Now claiming he never made any accusations or threatened me with legal action. Sorry, he now claims I misunderstood his intent.

Yeah. I didn't misunderstand. But, he did. He lives far enough away so that I don't worry about sudden appearances. Mom is never alone. The home health aides have watched my brother in action...should he show up, they would not leave him alone with Mom nor allow him to dig thru files.
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