Still Missing Dad, Struggling with Mom, and Now ...

suziequeFebruary 13, 2005

Hi - My father died in September, 04. Since then, my only sibling, my brother, and I have clashed a bit. Not too ugly, just hurt feelings and resentment (he has an admittedly low opinion of women - big ego for him). With the things we've clashed about, neither of us is right and neither is wrong, completely. But here's the scoop: he's the executor of the will, which is fine, but he lives far away and really has, to my knowledge, done little. I cancelled the credit cards, notified life insurance agencies, etc. My mother is still living and usually lucid.

Today, while helping my mother go through her tax documents, she showed me some forms that arrived in the mail for her. It states that they were sent to her at my brother's request. They are from an agency informing my mother of my father's will going to probate and asking her to sign forms. In the "Survivor and Heirs" section, my mother and my brother are listed - - I'm not.

Questions - why would probate be initiated? My mother is alive and well. My father had a will. My mother is listed as his beneficiary on everything and then my brother and me 50/50 after that. So why probate?

Also, and my biggest "kick-in-the-gut" emotion - is it possible that my brother is trying to eliminate me from the will? First of all, there's not much to divvy up, and that certainly won't be done while my mother is alive. But it's the emotional slap that is bothering me. Of course, it could very well be a simple mistake. I hope so, and am going to contact the company tomorrow (Monday).

In the meantime, how can I/how should I protect myself? My father and I were extremely close and I know that I had something far more important than anything material. And I hate to think that my brother might be doing this intentionally (I'm his kids' Godmother - we WERE pretty close).

I miss my Dad so much and know that he'd hate this. What do you recommend? If I find out that omitting me on the list of survivors/heirs was intentional, what type of attorney should I find?

I hate this so much. Many thanks in advance - - Suzieque

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suzy_sc

Suzieque, I've been executor on three different wills. If there's a will, I'm pretty sure you have to probate.

If your dad had a will and left everything to your mom, I don't see where there would be anything remaining for you and your brother to receive "50/50 after that." If your mom is to receive everything, I don't see the reason for your brother to be listed as a "Suvivor/Heir."

Do you have a copy of the will? Your brother can't eliminate you from the will if you are named as a beneficiary. You might ask for a copy of the will from the probate court.

If your dad left everything to your mom, she should make a will now.

If I'm not reading your post correctly, let me know.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 9:44PM
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derryw

HMMM..here in VA, I think probate depends on the size of the estate. After looking at my father's will, the lawyer said probate was not needed. My mother was his beneficiary unless she pre-deceased him, in which case my sister and I were 50-50. Agree, you Mom needs a will while she is lucid and competent to make and sign it. Did you ask your brother?? DW

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 10:21PM
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suzieque

Thanks for your responses.

My mother does have a will, although she and I have agreed that she should see an estate planner to ensure that everything is the way it should be. The will is very non-specific but adequate, I think, with my (now deceased) father listed as first beneficiary, and my brother and I 50/50 after that.

It's an exact duplicate of my father's will, with the obvious exceptions (his name where hers is on his, etc.). The new news is that this morning I contacted the company who sent the probate paperwork and was told that my brother had not given them my name as an heir. They agreed to change that, once I indicated that my name is, in fact, on the will.

At first they told me to have my mother sign the paperwork (that doesn't have my name listed) and they'd add my name when they received the signed paperwork. Uh, no - I wasn't born yesterday, as they say :-)

So, they're redoing the paperwork and sending out new copies.

Suz.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 1:13PM
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partst

You should have your mother make a new will. Estate and prbate laws change all the time.The most important thing you need to do is have her signh powers of attorny, especially for health care You said your brother lives far away so you are going to be the care taker weather he likes it or not. You need the power to handle anything that may come up. I will never understand why most parent make THE son executor. Just because they wear pants dosan't mean thay can walk on water. I lost my mother just a year ago and one of the greatist gift my parent ever gave me is the power and the knowlage of thier affairs to handle everything without having to bother my father those first few monts after the funeral. All the trust papers were in my posission, all the powers in place, they even had pre paid funeral arrangements. It has been the hardest year I have ever had but because of their caring for me they made it easier to deal with. I also have a brother and a sister who are lurking in the wings waiting for the final estate battle. My father was so conserned about this that he recorded the visits with the attorny naming me as the final word, we made copys and sent then to brother and sister and they have been rather nice to me since. I guess what I want to get across to you is to get everythong on the table now befor you need it.One thing that really helped me during my mothers last few months was the authorization papers she signed with all the doctors, medacare, insurance company so I could make phone calls and talk to her doctors. With the new privacy laws you really need them. I have them for my father now and it makes my life easier. Is your brother going to be there to take care of you mother?? Of cource not, you live closer,and that's what daughters are for. Good luck to you

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 1:08AM
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mariend

I agree, you Mom needs a new will, go to a local attorney with her. Our wills were just updated the include a Living Will, General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney and Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information. Without many of these forms, if your mom gets ill and is in a hospital NO ONE can talk to the Dr's, insurance company etc. Bills don't get paid, she could loose her house. Laws have really changed. We also have a Living will regarding the rights of the terminally ill regarding life-prolonging treatment and Nutrition and Hydration. Also we have a Health Power of attorney for-----, desinating the person or persons who we want to take care of us.
We were with the attorney about a hour, and had things take care and the will within a week, and cost about 500.00 for both wills. Money well spent.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 11:02PM
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suzieque

Thank you - sorry for not responding sooner; I haven't checked in for a few weeks.

Fortunately, my mother does have a Power of Attorney document and I'm it. Also a Health Care Proxy, with my name. So as far as that goes, I think we're good.

As far as a new will, that's tough. Knowing my controlling brother, if I take her to an attorney he'll be furious (and I know, so what? Well...I just don't want to deal with that). He will be visiting this summer for a few days so perhaps I'll suggest that we make an appointment while he's here so that all of us (Mom, him, me) can go to an attorney together. Either that, or tell him that I'm taking her to an attorney for a will, and then I will tape the whole thing.

Just gotta get it done - - I know!

Thank you - - everyone.

Suzieque

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 8:17AM
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