My Grandfather passed last week, in the months preceding his death he was financially abused, manipulated and unduly influenced by a family member. What if anything can be done? 1 grandchild, (convicted felon -fraud) came for a "visit" 5 months ago and no one saw my g-pa again. My g-pa had a stroke during the visit, no visitors were allowed . While hospitalized ,wills and POA changed. Elderly affairs notified, they began an investigation. Shortly after being interviewed Grandson moved GPA to Ohio, then back to FL, condo was sold for cash and then moved to California where GPA passed. Cash accounts were transferred, life insurance changed. Credit taken out in GPAs name. GPA had 2 living children that were robbed of saying goodbye and inheritance. Not a large estate, large principal issues
Estate Planning Attorney
You need a probate/trust litigation attorney to pursue a undue influence claim immediately.
This is often a difficult, time consuming, and difficult road but this type of action should not be tolerated.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
I am very sorry for your loss.
You have a huge mess on your hands. What can be done? Challenge everything in court. Should this be done? How much money do you have to fight this? What evidence do you have to prove undue influence? The burden of proof is against you. Until you can prove your claims, the court presumes that everything was done according to your grandfather's wishes.
At a minimum, you should have substantial medical records. You will want to take the deposition testimony of the bank personnel. You will need to determine if things were transfered under the POA or whether your grandfather signed everything. The report on the investigation that was done could be critical.
You need to run, not walk, to a probate litigator, to determine how best to proceed. One very important thing you should keep in mind. The law is not set up to deal with principle. It is set up to deal with facts and damages. If you can prove your version of the facts, then you should be entitled to damages. Is it worth pursuing it, when the damages may be nominal? I am not so sure.
I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state.
My colleagues give you good advice. The fact that a new will was apparently executed while your grandfather was hospitalized following a stroke is a red flag. All any of us here on avvo can tell you in these circumstances is to find a local attorney who has experience in probate challenges. There are going to be lots of details that must be evaluated, lots of documents that must be reviewed, and medical records will for a large part of this, as well as information about who contacted an attorney to draft a will and who communicated with that attorney as to what should be in the will.
A good attorney will be able to advise you as to how to proceed. Obviously, a large part of the equation will be the value of the estate. You indicate that the estate is not large, but that the principle is. Litigation rarely deals with principles, or with philosophy, or with morality. It almost always is about money. The size of the estate will dictate in large part how you should proceed.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.