Should I get a second legal opinion about saving my mother's estate?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 20, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother passed away in March 08. She had been married to my father over 35 years, but remarried three years before her passing. She never distributed any of the estate to her children but we did not interfere because she seemed happy. Her new spouse is a laborer, with no wealth. In January, she started putting accounts, and the families house, in his name.

The final paperwork that she signed over to him was an insurance policy (from my father's university), signed three days before her final hospice stay and about 11 days before her passing. Her body was shutting down and a brain tumor had been found weeks earlier. My sister was left as executor of a revocable living trust that was emptied out from assets into the new husband's name (other than my father's retirement and one savings account).

My sister's lawyer says we do not have much of a case to retrieve any of the families assets, other than the remaining furniture and belongings in the house of my father's. Should we seek another lawyer's advice in Buffalo, NY? My sister already signed her current lawyer's paperwork to hire this lawyer.


Expert Answers

Liza Hanks is the founder and owner of FamilyWorks Estate Planning, a law firm with offices in Campbell and Los Altos, California, and the author of The Busy Family's Guide to Estate Planning (Nolo, 2007).

You should definitely seek another lawyer's advice.

It is difficult to sort through complicated facts like these remotely, but certainly, with so much at stake, you need to be sure that you've explored all possible avenues of recourse. This is especially true if you think that your mother was not competent to act when she transferred those assets.