money and has a lawyer asking me to cash in the investments and give it to him. He took my mom to this lawyer. she is 96 yrs Do I have to do it ? can the court make me ?
Whether you have have a legal obligation to turn money over to your brother is a complicated legal question. The first thing that needs to be determined is whether your mother knowingly and voluntarily gave the money to you for your own uses, not just to assist her in managing her assets or for some other reason. Given that she was 88 at the time, and you say she gave you ALL her money, it seems unlikely that her intention was that you could anything you want with the money and leave her destitute. Assuming that she did not really intend for you to become the sole owner of all her money for your own purposes, the next question is whether your mother wants you to now turn her money over to your brother. If she is able to make a knowledgable and voluntary decision that she want your brother to take control of her money that she has previously entrusted to her, then you are obligated to follow her instructions. If she is still competent she may have signed a power of attorney giving him the authority to manage her assets. However, given her age, it is likely that she is not able to make this decision on her own, and that your brother is taking this position without her specific instructions either to try and protect her interests by taking control of the money away from you, or he wants to use the money for his own purposes. As for whether the court can make you hand over the money to your brother, if the court determines that it is not your money the court can make you hand it over to someone who will use it exclusively for your mother's needs. That person may or may not be your brother.
DISCLAIMER: This answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it form an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and responder. You should seek competent legal counsel in your jurisdiction to address any specific legal concerns you have.
I agree with Attorney Schwensen. A lot depends on facts and circumstances that are not included in your summary. You need to meet with a lawyer so you can determine what your rights are and what is the best option for moving forward. This is too complicated for you to handle on your own, and you will be at a distinct disadvantage if you go into court against your brother's attorney without anyone to help you defend your case.
The court CAN generally do whatever the judge decides to do. Sometimes there is a sound legal basis for this and sometimes it depends on how the judge is feeling that day. Part of the problem with going to court is that you can never be certain of the outcome. Your brother has the same problem.
There are many different considerations. Get a qualified probate attorney to help you!
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER 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 your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.
This is a very complicated legal issue. You need the assistance of an attorney to help sort out the facts and the legal issues. Many times the best way to resolve these issues is through mediation, which I highly recommend. Please see an attorney soon.
First off, I agree with all of the above attorneys in that 1) this comes down to facts and circumstances and 2) you are at a sever disadvantage without an attorney of your own to sort it out.
A major question to ask is HOW did your mother sign over the money? Was there a document involved and a signature? Were there witnesses, what is the language of that document, and how was the mental health of your mother at the time? Your brother's attorney will want to ascertain whether this was a fraudulent transfer, a custodial arrangement for you to manage her assets, an advancement of your inheritance (rather than a gift of all the money), a gift, etc. Any such document and how it was executed will be the first place to look.
Here is a test you can make yourself - when this money was signed over to you, were there any gift tax returns filed on your mother's behalf? Technically speaking, gifts exceeding the yearly amount (13k I think) are supposed to be reported and taxed at the federal gift tax rate OR else not taxed, but counted against any applicable estate tax deduction. If, for instance, such a return was filed showing such a gift from your mother to you, this is pretty good evidence it was intended as a gift. But as stated above, the laws and nuances involved are pretty complex, so you will want to find an attorney and go over the events of eight (8) years ago.
This answer is made without consultation to specific RCWs, but upon my own ready knowledge of the procedure and substantive law. It serves as a primer on the law. I always insist on seeking the counsel of an attorney for a more qualified answer to the specifics of the issue. I am not the attorney of the questioner, nor hold myself out to be in giving this answer.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline