She is either giving it away, or selling all his stuff, but not to us! It's making us crazy to see our family legacy handed off to others. We promised Dad to help take care of her. I know she cannot afford to stay in the house, and selling it needs to happen. But, she called my brother and told him she sold all the woodworking equipment - after she had agreed with us to keep it for a year. What if anything can we do?
Unless your father's friend in incompetent, your only alternative is to try to continue to work with her to preserve the property - perhaps by buying it from her if she needs money. If she is competent, she has the right to change her will and leave everything she received from your father to someone other than your brother and yourself. Discuss the matter with an estate planning attorney in your area.
You haven't identified the other parties involved in this question so I cannot determine whether I may have a conflict in this matter. Should it turn out that I have an attorney-client relationship with any of the other parties, my response to this question will not prevent me from continuing to represent an existing client.
Nothing if she is competent.
I am not sure how you promised your dad you would help his friend. Financially? Is she elderly and in need of other support? What happens if she sells the house - does she get to keep all of the proceeds? Is she poor and you and your brother doing well? Do you have a good relationship with her?
Lots of questions and many of them are more practical than legal. I suggest that you talk with a local elder law or estate planning attorney to offer you suggestions based on what is important to you.
You can find good attorneys on this website or at naela.org
Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his answers to AVVO inquiries are based on his understanding of Illinois law only. His answers are for general information about perceived legal issues within this question only and no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to extend any right of confidentiality between you and Mr. Smolinski, to constitute legal advice, or create an attorney/client or other contractual relationship. An attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement including an evaluation of the specific legal problem and review of all the facts and documents at issue. We try to insure the accuracy of this information, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. The reader should never assume that this information applies to his or her specific situation or constitutes legal advice. Therefore, please consult competent counsel that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.