I am trying to help my partner get through the loss of her Father. In november 2009, her youngest sister (who was looking after their Father and charging him $7000 a month for the privilege!) managed to get him to sign a durable Financial Power of Attorney. In Late January 2010, he suffered a fractured hip and was admitted by the youngest sister to the Mayo clinic (she is a nurse and her husband is a Doctor of Osteopathy). On his admission paperwork, he was listed as having dementure ... he died 4 days later, and now the youngest sister is spending money like it is water, and claims that their Father died with no money. She is also resisting having the estate put into probate (he died intestate). We are sure she is rifling the estate (she is unemployed, but has 3 horses at an expensive stable, and has just bought a new car for her daughter) .. what should we do ???
Dear Crislb, Your partner needs to contact a lawyer who specializes in family law and estate matters. The durable POA is an appointment that is only in effect during the lifetime of the grantor. Since the father has passed away, it would be prudent to preserve the estate by contacting the banks to freeze the estate funds, safety deposit boxes, etc., until probate. Your partner may want to initiate the probate proceedings if there is no signed will. Please realize that a will (even a holographic one) may have been drawn up that your partner is unaware of. Some states recognize a holographic will and consider it valid if it meets certain requirements. I am sorry to hear that this problem has developed for someone that you care about. I hope that it ends well, even though that appears to be questionable based on your comments. -- Joe --
I am sorry that your partner lost her Dad.
Your partner may need to speak to an attorney about this matter. The accusation for her sister is serious and it needs to be treated with caution - she may or may not be innocent. Talk to an attorney first.