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MarianC
MarianC, Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 879
Experience:  20 years experience in Wills and Probates and Trusts
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My mother died 2wks ago. My brothers took over her care

Customer Question

Hello, my mother died 2wks ago. My brothers took over her care 7mths ago and then she was hospitalised for the last 4mths. They have tried to ban me, not just from visiting due to Covid, but from phoning her and making it difficult to visit when lockdown eased. They claimed to be her Attorneys. The OPG confirmed their LPA was registered on 15 Sept and a hospital mgr told me it was signed on 15 June - the first day they took over when mum had a serious fall, when they weren't there. The OPG wouldn't send me a copy of the application form due to the DPA, but their Safeguarding Team started to investigate when I challenged the validity of the LPA. However the file has been closed on her death. Meanwhile I 'disobeyed' and continued to phone her, c. x2/wk when I could get through, but was not allowed to ask anything medical about her 'without the password' on 'the Attorneys' instructions. My brothers spoke to me in person when she died, briefly, including telling me there was a Living Will (first I'd heard of it) requesting all 3 of us to be there, but I couldn't make it. I've had a very formal email attaching our mother's Will. They are now her Executors, not me, but the Will splits everything 3-ways. I'd nothing since 8 Feb so phoned the funeral director who told me the funeral date has been fixed (5 Mar) and 'arrangements are being made with the family'. I have emailed them saying I want to be involved, not just informed, with the funeral, and informed about every detail to do with the estate. No response to that or phone messages. Questions: what rights do I have as next of kin? Can I get a copy of my mother's medical record, death certificate and Living Will? Can I deal direct with the funeral director and insist that I agree the arrangements and speak at the funeral? How can I ensure the estate, especially her things (inc. jewellery, artefacts she made and made by our father), are divided fairly and that they consult with me before deciding for themselves what they think I should have?
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me where this is?
Customer: Shropshire, England
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: The Will. Email correspondence between me and my brothers over the past 7mths.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Can't think of anything else at the moment.
Submitted: 16 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 16 days ago.

Welcome to Just Answer.

I will be happy to assist with your question today. I need some time to consider this and compose a response. There is NO need to wait online because you will get an email when I respond. Sometimes it will be minutes, sometimes longer.

I apologise for any unavoidable delay, but rest assured I have not forgotten your question.

what is the reason for the estrangement from your siblings?

and why couldnt you make the reading of the Will?

was it online? if not how?

the Will is clear about how her estate is split but its more about the funeral arrangements and her belongings - was anything mentioned in her Will about her funeral and personal items?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hello, thank you for your swift response. (1) Estrangement: Short answer is ' I don't know. Longer answer: Elder brother appeared to 'take over' when our father went into care, or some months before, 12yrs ago, helping Mum, doing everything legal & financial. I wasn't listened to/my advice & info. was disregarded. Mum & younger brother 'fell in'. When Dad died, his Will was misunderstood(my view) leading to 4-5yrs of upset & disagreement, the 3 of them saying I was in the minority and therefore wrong. I proposed a solution, endorsed by the HMRC, but elder brother refused to check it out, Mum unable to and younger bro. just fell in. Elder bro's personal solicitor threatened to take me to court to oust me as executor (putting our 85yr old nearly blind mother in court against her daughter) but I managed to argue them away from pursuing that and agree to appointing a joint solicitor. The wrangle continued but was eventually resolved with me being forced (morally) to agree to dividing Dad's estate before Mom's death (not what his Will said). Elder bro. has continued to do everything financial & increasingly to support her with care matters, younger bro. assisting. Brothers didn't communicate at all for 5+yrs until they told me, 4 days after the first serious fall on 15 June that they had taken over her care, 24/7, turn & turn about, due to lockdown (in spite of them being from 2 households, both in high risk areas, unlike me, but they didn't consult). I offered to help/relieve them at weekends. Refused. Mom hardly able to speak coherently (dementia) & in pain (crushed vertebrae) However my relationship with my mother continued to be good-to-excellent. I've always phoned every week, 2-3 times when she's ill, inc. in lockdown, Mar-June, and visited most months (from 200miles away) until Feb '20. Then, as above. I hope that gives you the picture if not the clear reason - there isn't one that I know of but elder bro. has said my behaviour has been unacceptable for 20+yrs but I have no idea what he means. Sad to say, we used to be one of the most cohesive, mutually supportive families for 55yrs before this started, and both our parents were wonderful and happy. It's bewildering.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Will reading: there wasn't one, or if there was, I wasn't called to it. I received the Will by email. (However, elder bro. phoned me to say Mom had requested us' in a Living Will I didn't know about, to be at her bedside when she died - that's what I couldn't get to.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
The Will is very clear and simple. It appoints both her sons, my brothers, as executors, and divides everything 3 ways, equally. No details. Nothing about her funeral or personal items - unless there are docs. not sent to me.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Is that enough information for your response?
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Please could you email your response? Also, please note, my old mobile doesn't take voicemail or have internet.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 15 days ago.

I’m afraid the this is beyond the scope of my expertise. I’m going to opt out of the question thread for another expert to consider. Please don’t reply because if you do the question returns to my inbox as requiring my attention and it will slowdown any other expert replying to you. Thank you

Expert:  TetyanaP-admin replied 15 days ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find another Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Tetyana-moderator
Expert:  MarianC replied 14 days ago.

Good evening, thank you for your question, I am sorry to hear about your mother. is your query in relation to the lack of mention in the Will of her funeral wishes and her personal belongings?

Kind regards

Marian

Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hello Marian, This is what I need help with please (sorry if it looks like 4 questions, but they are all wrapped up together really). : Questions: what rights do I have as next of kin? Can I get a copy of my mother's medical record, death certificate and Living Will? Can I deal direct with the funeral director and insist that I agree the arrangements and speak at the funeral? How can I ensure the estate, especially her things (inc. jewellery, artefacts she made and made by our father), are divided fairly and that they consult with me before deciding for themselves what they think I should have?
JA: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me where this is?
Customer: Shropshire, England
JA: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?
Customer: The Will. Email correspondence between me and my brothers over the past 7mths.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Can't think of anything else at the moment.
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hello Tatyana, Yes, happy to wait for answer and Marian has responded. Apologies for not replying to your message this morning.
Expert:  MarianC replied 14 days ago.

Good morning, do you have a copy of the Will that I can look at please.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
where can I email it to? It's very simple, appointing my 2 brothers as executors and the 3 of us as equal beneficiaries. No details about how artefacts are to be divided (unless my brother didn't send something). I've asked for the Living Will but nothing's arrived. My urgent questions are the first 3, ie. my rights. I spoke to funeral director who said they can only deal with 1 person, ie. my elder brother.
Expert:  MarianC replied 13 days ago.

you can attach it from your side. So if you are not an executor in the will then you basically have no authority over your mother's estate or her funeral or belongings. The Living will would cease on death and its contents irrelevant now. I am so sorry I don't see how I can help you further.

Marian

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you. I understood that under English Law siblings are equals and/or that Executors were obliged to communicate funeral arrangements, accounts, etc. with siblings and beneficiaries as applicable? Is that not the case?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Here's the Will, in case it helps?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Sorry it won't copy in here.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
34;basically have no authority..." - but do I have any rights? or do they have any obligations towards me? How will I ever know if they have divided everything, money, property, artefacts, equally and fairly? Are they obliged to ask me what I would like to have, or do they just decide and dictate?
Expert:  MarianC replied 13 days ago.

Hi, you do have rights as a beneficiary and the executors do have a duty of care to you, to keep you informed and to provide you with estate accounts.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you. That's something at least! Where can I read up on the details of these rights and their duty of care, etc. please?
Expert:  MarianC replied 12 days ago.

If you Google something like 'executors' duties' it will give you some guidance.

Do you need any further assistance?

Marian

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I'll do that, thanks. Sounds like that's as far as we can go right now, so thank you for your help. We'll see how it goes, I may be back!
Expert:  MarianC replied 12 days ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** me again if you need further help.