Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New York

5 months ago my Mother was taken to a lawyer by my sister. My Mother changed her Health Care Proxy and POW from me to my sister. I was also the executor of her will. My mother passed away a week ago and I called up the attorney that they used to find out if my Mother made a new will or if I was still the executor of her will. The lawyer will not answer me, he said he has to consult his client. Well his client was my mother, but I guess he is considering my sister as his client. I do not get along with my sister. I just want to know if I am still the executor or not. What rights do I have?

Asked on 12/31/17, 9:05 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Richard Bryan Richard Bryan Attorney PC

I'm sorry to hear of your mother's passing.

It's unfortunate you have this situation with your sister.

Do you have the original will your mother made where you were the executor? A lot depends on this. Do you know who has the original will? It makes sense that mom would have made a new will at the same time she changed her health care proxy and power of attorney, which is why the lawyer says your sister is his client, because she is the new executor. Are you sure you can't call up your sister and ask her? If you guys are at World War 3 with each other this can add up to be a very, very costly nightmare for everyone.

As a distributee, which is (more or less) a person who would inherit if your mother died without a will, you have a lot of rights. How you should go forward depends a lot on whether you have the old Will, and/or whether or not your mother changed how her estate was divided between the old will and the new one. If everything is the same except for who will be the executor, you may want to just let your sister carry the ball (be the executor) and just wait for the estate to be settled. If mom changed how her estate was divided, that's a different situation and you may want to be more aggressive. If you have the first will and the lawyer or your sister won't tell you if your mom made another will, you may want to go ahead and start the probate process for the will you have. That will force your sister to produce the new will, if there is one. You can file papers in the Surrogate's Court to require the person who has the will, or maybe has the will (the old one or the possible new one), to produce it. If you can't resolve this situation with your sister then you'll probably need to see a lawyer for one on one advice.

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Answered on 1/01/18, 6:18 am

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