If my sister used her power of attorney to claim all of my deceased mother’s assets, legally what can i do

UPDATED: Nov 8, 2010

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If my sister used her power of attorney to claim all of my deceased mother’s assets, legally what can i do

aAfter a prolonged illness, my mother died without leaving a Will. My sister has used her POA status to sell her home, car, personal assets and possibly some out of state property. Despite a pension and social security up until her death, my sister insists that our mother was deeply in debt and refuses to discuss the matter or provide my siblings and I with any documentation to support this. What legal options or courses of action can we take to rectify this?

Asked on November 8, 2010 under Estate Planning, Illinois


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I believe that I may have answered this question when it was posed a bit differently on another date, but just in case I did not, here it goes.

You have to start proceedings in the Probate Court in your area for the appointment of a Personal Representative of your Mother's Estate.  If she had a Last Will and Testament then the Executor named therein would be the person.  If that person is your Sister then you have to object to her being appointed for obvious reasons stated here.  She can not be subjective in dealing with the matter.  If Mom did not have a Will then you have to start what is generally known as an Administration proceeding.  Any interested party can apply to become the Personal Representative here.  Both are fiduciary roles in the administration of the estate. Once a party is appointed as a fiduciary they will have the power by law to take a look at the estate and the goings on and bring what ever legal action is necessary.  Good luck.

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