Sounds like possibly some criminal fraud, but you will probably want to get a family/probate attorney to help you challenge the change of title of the house.
I hope what I've written here helps you, but remember, this answer isn't legal advice and doesn't establish an attorney/client relationship between us. To get actual legal advice, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney.
It sounds like you will need to consult an attorney about this. There may be some options open to you. Consider consulting with one of us right away about your possible options.
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Consult an Attorney ASAP as these are difficult cases; breach of fiduciary duty, unfair dealing, and potentially a claim that the deed/poa signings were invalid, were they notarized?
You need to hire a probate litigator ASAP, before your sister can do any more damage. This case is going to be driven by medical evidence, including expert testimony. It is NOT a case which you can handle yourself. While a judge may order your sister to pay for some or all of the legal costs, you should be prepared to pay for the work, especially for the cost of the expert witness. Contact some of the estate planning and elder law attorneys who practice in the county where the house is located and ask for referrals to probate litigators who practice in the county Probate Court.
E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.
I agree that you need to talk to a probate litigation lawyer right away. You should be aware that these cases can be very complicated. A person can have dementia, but still have days where they are functioning well enough to sign a deed, or a power of attorney. As one attorney said, it will depend on the medical testimony. An attorney may be reluctant to take the case unless it looks strong, and unless he or she feels comfortable that you can pay for all the work this case will involve.
You can make things easier for the attorney and yourself if you start to pull some things together.
1. Your mother's death certificate.
2. Any medical information about when your mother's dementia started. For example, when is the first time that a doctor refused to let your mother make medical decisions for herself, and insisted that the decision be made by a health care agent?
3. You did not say anything about a guardianship or conservatorship, so I assume that there was none. If there was, the attorney will want to see all of that paperwork.
4. The deed to the house. There might be a technical problem with the deed that could avoid the fight over mental capacity and undue influence.
5. The power of attorney, and any other documents signed at the same time. If they were prepared by a lawyer, you want to get that lawyer's contact information. The lawyer should have checked for mental incapacity, so your case may be more difficult if a lawyer was involved.
6. Contact information for your mother's doctor. If your mother's doctor will express an opinion that your mother did not have the legal capacity to sign a deed at the time, you may be able to make some progress without formally hiring an expensive expert.
7. Contact information for witnesses who can say that your mother's dementia was serious at the time she signed the documents.
I would not wait until you have all of this information before calling a lawyer. But I would try to pull it together ASAP. You may have trouble getting information if you are not a representative of your mother's estate, but get what you can.
The other thing you need to think about is how you will pay the legal fees. The lawyer will probably want a retainer, and it will probably be significant. If it is more than you can afford, you might ask the lawyer about Limited Assistance Representation. This is not ideal, but it may be better than letting your sister steal the house.
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