How do I challenge my brother's execution of our mother's will?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 09, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother passed in 2005. My brother and I are the only ones in her will. She requested it be divided equally. I was the executor of the estate. My brother had me removed as executor and himself appointed. I found out through the local paper.

I was living in Mom's house and my brother had me evicted. He will not talk to me nor have I received any paperwork regarding Mom's property. He has since rented Mom's house without my knowledge or consent. I contacted the renters and they were told I lived in different state (I live in same town) and said he mails my portion. I haven't recieved a dime. They were there for 8 months and have moved out. There now are new renters in Mom's house.

My brother still won't talk to me. I was almost bedridden for a long time. I am on a fixed-income and am tired of his selfishness. We have always gotten along until Mom passed and his wife has taken over. He's hired a probate attorney and I have recieved nothing from him either. I'm sure his bill is going to be astronomical. Can anyone please help me in resolving this matter? Thanks, "The stressed-beyond Sis"

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

While I.m usually the biggest supporter of self-help, the situation you describe seems so complicated, so stressful"”and so downright mysterious"”that your wisest move may be to get another person involved to help sort out this mess.

If your brother continues to refuse you talk with you, you might try contacting the probate attorney he has hired. As a potential beneficiary, you are entitled to information about how and when the estate will be settled"”and five years, going on six"”sounds like an unreasonable amount of time for finalizing the matter.

If you don't get a satisfactory answer, or suspect that your best interests aren't being respected, considering hiring an attorney of your own"”preferably one experienced in handling estate planning matters. To find a few names of those who may offer this help, contact the bar association in your state.

All of these organizations maintain a roster of attorneys willing to provide free or low-cost help"”and while they cannot promise quality, they can at least provide a few names to get you started in comparison shopping. DO a search inline of your state's name and "bar association."