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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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