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Here is an outline of the situation:


In June of 2014 I sold my house in CT and decided to pay my mother and Ron, her husband, a visit in CA as I hadn't seen them for years. My mother was just short of 94 at the time and had advanced dementia, requiring 24-hour care. This was provided by Ron, assisted by caregivers. They came for 3 hours in the morning and for 2 hours in the afternoon. Perhaps I should mention here that since it was not necessary to probate either will because there is no executor. I am the eldest child, and have provided at least 99% of the care my mother received, not counting the caregivers. My brother and his wife contributed virtually nothing.


In August of 2014 Ron suffered a moderately serious stroke, which required that he stay in a nursing home. Since they couldn't afford round the clock care for Mother, I told him that I would stay as long as they needed me to provide that care, with the assistance of the caregivers.


The subject of compensation was never discussed. I was already getting room and board. Perhaps I should mention that Ron told me in an email shortly before I left CT that he would not charge me for the extra room he had available. I still have this email. In addition, shortly after I arrived in CA, he told me that he would be happy to pay for my meals. There is no record of this conversation.


Ron died 2/8/15, at home in hospice. I continued to look after my mother until her death on 12/24/16.


Both my mother and Ron had assets, and I have received a significant inheritance. The reason for my question is that my brother and his wife are creating problems with the assets of mother's estate, and I would like to have some form of leverage over them to persuade them to stop making waves. I won't go into details on this as I don't think they are relevant, but if they are I can provide them.


I know that 24-hour care from an agency goes for about $21 per hour where they live. If I were to charge her estate only $5 per hour the estate would owe me about $80,000, which greatly exceeds the assets remaining in the estate. I believe that a claim of this sort, being for services rendered, would have priority over an inheritance.


Any thoughts?


CRW

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Unless you had a written care contract you are really counting on the goodwill of the other heirs as there is no legal obligation that you be reimbursed for the care you freely gave, and since your brother is already causing difficulty I doubt you can count on that.

I should add, there is always the possibility of suing the estate if you want to take it that far, but you will need to proceed with that quickly if you chose to take that route.
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You need an attorney.

But this illustrates a point many of us make over and over. Family members should be compensated for caregiving WHILE they are caregiving, not deferred until after the care receiver dies. And there should be a written care contract.
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Your post says that there is no need to probate either Will and then that you have received a significant inheritance. I don't understand. I don't know how anyone has the right to not probate a Will, if one is duly created and signed. And, you bring up issues that only an attorney would be able to sort out. I'd consult with an experienced attorney who has litigation experience, so they can tell you, what if any claims or defenses, you might have and that are worth pursuing.
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I've already answered the OP. But reading through these responses again confirms my satisfaction with what my parents left us. The cremation and memorial service was prepaid. (Thank you mother!) After closing out accounts and adding in cash in condolence cards there was about $700. There are seven of us kids, all still living. Us 4 sisters decided to use that money to give a family party in Mom's honor this summer. Brothers didn't care -- who is going to argue over $100?

There are worse things than not getting an inheritance. I think one of them might be family fighting over an inheritance.
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Bulletbobb, all Wills have an "Executor" who needs to file the Will with the County Probate Court after a person passes, unless there is a Revocable Trust. If there were no Wills, same thing needs to be done.

Assets cannot be distributed until the Probate Judge gives the final ok, and Probate taxes a paid [if any]. Quickly get yourself an Elder Law Attorney to correct this situation.

As for getting paid after-the-fact, that is rarely done. It's like doing volunteer work and asking later on to be paid for the past few years. Please note that the majority of adult children do not get paid for taking care of their parent(s).

My heartfelt sympathy for the lost of your Mom and Step-Father.
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Some of the facts are confusing. Probate does not depend on whether an executor is named. If no executor, an administrator is appointed by the court. It's possible that an estate is so small that it does not need to be probated (which can make things more difficult if there were a lot of bills - going through this now). Otherwise, unless the income you received was from insurance or a trust (was the house in the siblings name with your mom having a life estate, perhaps?). So my first question would be, have you consulted an attorney well versed in probate, and my advice would be, if not, do so immediately. I would ask the attorney about the following: Since you changed your position (sold your house and moved to CA to care for your mom) would you be entitled to "quantum meruit" - the value of your services - based on any of the facts. It also isn't at all clear what your sibling is doing to make waves, and why...a lot would depend on those facts. Why is there $80,000 "left" that hasn't been distributed? Was there a will? What does the will say? Where did the $80,000 come from (since it apparently was not part of the estate that you already received your share of), and where was it supposed to go? Why is it still available, and why didn't it get split between the siblings as presumably everything else was? Too many facts missing here to be helpful, other than advising you to get an attorney.
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You need an attorney. But my impression is that without a written contract.  At Best, your claim may be just another unsecured debt. But more likely it will not be considered a debt against the estate. While - morally - your siblings and other heirs - ought to place it as a priority. It will still be up to them and not the estate. 
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Ok so you want them to "stop making waves".... Well I'd suggest you get your own legal representation asap before these waves become a tsunami on you.

Too late for any compensation now. There would have been needed some sort of Agreement, memo of understanding or Promissory note btw each of them & you done prior to their death. And probably notarized and with witnesses.

I have a ? for you....... You mention getting a "significant"inheritance. So just how was this done if there has not been probate opened???? Sunnygirl has this same ?! If there were valid wills for each of them, within the will someone was named executor and probate could be opened. If the named executor predeceased them, then court probably would have named someone & estate done as a dependent administration - this is commonly done. If there's assets, they need a legal way to be distributed.

So just how did you manage to get the inheritance? 
If 80k left, it was likely over $ 100,000.00. Perhaps over $ 200,000.00? More?

If the "significant" inheritance was gotten due to beneficiary designation OR co-ownership on their accounts (like all Ron's & your moms bank or brokerage accounts were all done POD to you) or any other paperwork and this was done since you moved in with them, and you used your DPOA to do this, well Bulletbobb, it looks suspect. Very, VERY suspect. Like a case for APS suspect. You wrote you hadn't seen them for years till you moved in with them in 2014 after you sold your home in another state & then after they die, you get all and without probate...... Just reads to be hinky.


If Ron died in 2015 w/assets, probate could have been opened. There was over a year between his death & your moms in 2016. He had a will, why no probate?

If there was "significant inheritance" why wasn't the $ used to pay for your moms care? You say there "wasn't $ to pay for around the clock care" for your mom, so you stayed to be a caregiver. 99% caregiver. It doesn't add up. Yeah totally your brother and anyone else that could be a heir would be questioning what has happened.

You need an atty and one that does litigation.

Stop spending the 80k left like today would also be my suggestion and plan that "significant" will be transferred to your brother and any heirs that could have gotten a distribution from your stepfathers estate (as he died first). Since you didnt open probate on him, I'd bet that - if his state law allows - ANY of his possible heirs could go for a lineal heirship (so his $ does not go to your mom 100%). This could get quite ugly and expensive as its all litigation. Just a thought but since Ron was on hospice, if need be, all those numerous hospice staff could be deposed to give their viewpoint on you and your role in the elders life. Ditto for their neighbors, etc. Not to sound harsh, but your short post comes across with you painting yourself as a bit of a martyr...... and someone (or 2 or 3) is really REALLY not going to like you and their depositions will not be to your benefit.

Get an atty, avoid the tsunami & give them their share.
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Not posthumously, no. I could "SAY" after mother dies, that I did 75% more caregiving than say, younger sister and I should get more money, but that is patently ridiculous. It's a gift, caring for the elderly folks, that we give to them. If they wanted to pay us, they'd do it at the time. Verbal contracts are only as good as the air they're written on. Sorry.
You probably do need an attorney.
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The beneficiary of insurance, IRA or any account where the person has been legally named as a beneficiary -through the appropriate paperwork connected to the insurance, etc. --- are not probated. The beneficiary only needs to provide proof of death and proof of their identity. However, if they are merely named in the will - then the will must be probated. Of course, other heirs may attempt to challenge the beneficiary if they think changes were made after the "loved one" became incompetent, or they think that the beneficiary exerted undue influence. In that case, lawyers will be involved and if not settled - litigation.
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