grdma named my sister as the power of attorney. sister added a non relative as alternate against grdma wishes. grdma passed before amendment could be made. There is a will and sis is the excutor. she now says the family has to take her court even though the next of kin is my mother. what are my moms rights as well as my other siblings in relation to this matter? Does my sister by law has to show the family the contents of the will or can she just tell us whatever she wants us to know with no actual proof?
Family Law Attorney
Consult with a Probate Attorney.
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Whoever has the original will is required to "lodge" the same with the superior court. The executor has no power until she is appointed by the probate court after a petition for probate of will is filed. All heirs should receive notice of any filing. If your sister does nothing, you might "smoke her out" by filing your own petition for probate claiming there is no will and seeking to be appointed as administrator. You should contact a probate attorney in your area.
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Estate Planning Attorney
I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother. First, as to the power of attorney, your sister’s authority under a power of attorney would not have included the ability to execute a new will or codicil on behalf of your grandmother. A person’s ability to revoke, revise, or amend their will is personal to that individual and cannot be accomplished by an attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney. As your grandmother has died, the power of attorney is no longer valid. As Attorney Tigerman has stated, if your sister has possession of the will, she is required to deposit it with the probate court in the county where your grandmother resided at the time of her death. If your sister is unwilling to deposit the will, provide you with a copy or to act as your grandmother’s executor, then you and/or the other potential beneficiaries may need to file a petition to probate the estate. Any interest party (such as you and/or your mother) can file this petition. If you or your mother believes that your sister was taking advantage of your grandmother or unduly influencing her, there may be additional causes of action to include in a petition. As both Mr. Tigerman and Mr. Ybarra have advised, you should consult with a probate attorney.
Disclaimer: The above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. My responses are intended to provide general information about the question posted. I am licensed to practice in the state of California. The information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for conferring with or hiring a competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your state.