What are our rights in burying father and perusing legal actions against sister who stole everything from him?

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What are our rights in burying father and perusing legal actions against sister who stole everything from him?

My father was found dead and homeless in a motel room last week. 4 years ago he had no debts, a home in a small town where he grew up, savings, union pension, and SSI payments to live comfortably for the rest of his life. My sister took him hostage for the last 4 years stealing all of his money and hiding him from everyone. She illegally sold his home 2 years ago and pocketed $86,000. Now she will not let us bury him unless she gets his $7000 death benefits too. I am his stepso, but did not know he was not my father until I was 18. I want to return him to his home state to be with my mom.

Asked on October 20, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  There are many issues here that you need to sort through and you are going to need help.  Fist, did your Father acknowledge you as his son during his lifetime?  Then do not worry about not knowing until you were 18.  You need to have yourself appointed as the personal representative of your Father's estate and as the PR you can take the legal actions that are necessary against your sister who stole from him.  You would have that power.  If your sister was his power of attorney it is no longer in effect as it died with him.  If she was appointed as his guardian or conservator in court that may be an issue. But as the PR you would have the power to set things straight and to bury him.  Good luck to you.


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