It is a misconception that only those with large estates benefit from estate planning. This is especially true if there is real estate involved.
The other misconception about estate planning is that it is only about planning for the financial part of one's life. Planning for health care, powers of attorney, and Medicare/Medicaid are also crucial parts of estate planning.
I hope that helps.
It sounds as if your aunt may not have had the capacity to change her will. If that was the case, you could probably hire an attorney and challenge the will. However, probate challenges can be long, expensive, and can do lasting damage to a family, so please discuss the options extensively with an experienced probate attorney before proceeding.
First of all, probate and powers of attorney are completely separate. A power of attorney can ONLY exist while a person is alive and probate can ONLY occur after death. In that regard they have no relation to each other. On the other hand, a person holding power of attorney (in this case, J), has a fiduciary duty to the principal (your mother). This means she must act in your mother's best interests and avoid self-dealing. If she somehow breaches her fiduciary duty to your mother, your mother...
I would also strongly urge you to hire an attorney. This does not sound like it will be an easy estate to administer and an attorney would not only be a great source of help for you, but would also be able to deflect some of the stress in your life that this is causing. When you hire an attorney, all such discovery demands go to your attorney rather than directly to you.
This is an object lesson in why you don't use online legal documents.
Without seeing the will, I couldn't tell you for sure if it is valid or not. If it is, in fact, invalid, part or all of your father's estate will have to be administered as if he died without a will.
I would strongly advise at least taking the will to an attorney to see what, if anything, can be done with the will. The attorney can also advise you on how to proceed from there.
All the best.
Attorney Smith's advice to have a lawyer review the document is spot on. Another thing you might try is talking to the bank. Banks will usually have a policy for what you need to do to use a power of attorney with one of their accounts..
You have what is almost certainly a Committed Intimate Relationship, which is Washington's solution to this kind of problem. Basically, you have what would have been community property had you been married. Please consult a good probate attorney to get yourself appointed administrator of the community property.
I would very strongly urge you to use an attorney for these things. Proper execution of documents like a power of attorney are very important, and printing documents from the internet gives you no guarantee that they will be done properly.
A proper analogy is to doing your own legal work is rebuilding your own transmission: very few people have the proper skills and equipment to do it properly.