How do I protect my mom from my sister who wants to take my dad’s entire estate from her?

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How do I protect my mom from my sister who wants to take my dad’s entire estate from her?

My dad just passed away. Now my older sister, who is living alone with my mom, will try to take everything away from her. This includes their house, which is mostly all that my dad is leaving to her in the Will. I need to stop my sister.

Asked on May 23, 2018 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your mom is a mentally competent adult, you can't protect her: a competent adult makes her own choices, even if they are bad or unwise ones. If she wants to give her belongings to your sister, she may. You can try to convince her to not do this, of course, but you have no legal right or authority to interfere in what a mentally competent adult does.
If you believe your mother is not mentally competent, you can try to have her declared incompetent and a guardian appointed. But you will need medical evidence and testimony to prove this (such as from doctors treating her), and unless you have evidence of your older sister's unfitness to be guardian (or of her abuse or taking advantage of your mother), bear in mind that your older sister could be the one appointed guardian. This is a drastic and tricky option; if you wish to explore it, consult with an elder law attorney.


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