I called recently, then sent a certified letter asking for a copy of the will. She won't respond. She told my brother the Will doesn't need to be filed. Is there a time limit to file? I think shes' afraid of whats in the will. Arent there consequences for her? She was POA & theres a surviving spouse (stepfather) who.has dementia & in a nursing home, His expenses are all covered. .She refuses to provide an inventory & financial accounting. Aren't these things mandatory? Ive been trying to deal with this for over a year.& don't have much money. I took NOTHING but received 4 boxes of personal property...some of which obviously belongs to stepfather. Next step an attorney but what would that do? She apparently thinks shes above the law. Should I just wait it out and let her crash?
Will or no will, it would not be unusual for the surviving spouse to be entitled to all of the property and assets of the predeceased spouse. That the surviving spouse lacks competency would be the issue of the person responsible for that parent, whether a conservator or otherwise. If you believe that there are substantial assets which were separate property of your mother, then you could force the issue by petitioning in the local probate court to be appointed administrator of your mother's intestate estate. If your sister has a will which in any way favors her, she will come running. Otherwise, if you can be appointed as estate representative, you may pursue any and all assets of your mother's estate which did not automatically pass to her spouse. Consult with an experienced probate attorney in the county where your mother last resided.
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Disclaimer: California attorney Robert Miller has practiced for over 46 years and restricts his practice to real estate and probate matters in the Central District of Los Angeles. Any opinion expressed is for general informational purposes only, no attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this answer, and no action or inaction should be contemplated without first employing and consulting with a competent attorney convenient to the questioner.
I think you should call a local probate attorney on this asap. If you are even potentially a beneficiary, you have a right to see the contents of the will. If you would like a recommendation or two for a local probate attorney, feel free to give us a call and I will happily supply you with some names and contact info. Otherwise, you can call the Oregon State Bar for a recommendation from them. Either way, get on this now. Best of luck.
You don't tell use where your sister lives and where the decedent was living at the time they died (I assume we are talking about your mother, right?). In Oregon there are no formal requirements such as having to file a will or having to do a probate. There is probably a way to compel that person with the will to disclose it's contents, I would need to review the statutes but there has to be a way to do that. As practical matter, if you consult with an attorney and the attorney contacts your sister on your behalf, that is usually enough to get the ball rolling. We also don't know what you mean by your stepfather's nursing home expenses being "all covered". If before your mom died your stepfather was considered qualified to get Medicaid and Medicaid is paying for his care, then any property left to him above a very small amount of exempt property he is entitled to could be considered available to pay for his care. Understand that when two people are married and one goes into a nursing home, the Medicaid rules allow a rather generous exemption for property that benefits the healthy spouse but that exemption only lasts while the healthy spouse is alive. On the debt of the healthy spouse that property may become considered the property of the nursing home spouse and subject to being spent down to pay for the nursing home spouse's care before Medicaid will resume paying. (Medicare doesn't pay for long term nursing care. It only pays for short term stays of 90 days or less. When people need long term care such as your step father they either have to pay for it themselves or they have to spend down their assets until they are pretty much in poverty so the qualify to have Medicaid pay for their care, except as I mentioned there is an allowance of property that can be transferred to or retained by the healthy spouse but there are limits to that amount as well.)
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