My sister is the executor of my mothers estate. My nieces and nephews are the beneficiaries. My sister is insisting that since she was my mothers power of attorney that all of my mothers debt is now hers. She is selling items out of my mothers home, without cataloging what she sold. She has not spoken to the attorney or handed the will to a probate court. She is also taking advice from my mother "best" friend on what to do. She already told the home owners insurance company that my mother has died and they in turn have told her that since the house is now vacant, the insurance will be about $3000. a month until it is sold.
I have expressed my concern to the lawyer he has not contacted me. This has all transpired in a week since my mothers passing. Should I be concerned or am I overreacting
Elder Law Attorney
If you're concerned about things that are happening, practically speaking it's best either to try and communicate with the people involved (sister, lawyer, nieces, nephews, etc) or to talk to a lawyer and see if the lawyer can help you to sort things out. Keep in mind, though, that if you're not a beneficiary, you don't really have any legal grounds to contest what's going on, and you have to leave that to the people who actually stand to gain something from the will.
In NJ POA ceases at the time of death. An executor can liquidate the assets of an estate. If the will has not been filed in probate, everything she is doing is illegal. Do not expect the attorney for the estate to do anything for you, he does not represent your interest. Her bf cannot give her legal advice, if the money is meant for the children and is not being given to them, she is violating a fiduciary trust. If the children are old enough, they should be discussing all of this with a NJ probate attorney.
You might find my legal guide on selecting and hiring a lawyer helpful.
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(Even if you are not filing a lawsuit this information can be useful).
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You might find my legal guide on Estate litigation (without a will) helpful.
Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with a local attorney about this issue.
Estate Planning Attorney
Your sister is getting some extremely poor advice and should retain an attorney who works extensively in the area of estate administration before doing anything further. As has been pointed out, other than discussing these issues with your sister and your nephews and nieces (if they are of age) there is little you can do since you are not a beneficiary of the estate and seem satisfied that the Will which excludes you from you mother's estate is a genuine reflection of her wishes for her estate.
Very truly yours,
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