Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

My husband Mother and stepfather passed, Mother passed first and then stepfather,and at the nursing home changed the will that my husband be removed as the Excector and now has 1 precert of the property BUT now his half brother is the Excetor of the estate and lives there and has sold some of the estate stuff , can he do this and not put it an account to share and devied later ?

Asked on 5/29/13, 11:10 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Kevin Pollock Law Office of Kevin A. Pollock LLC

I'm sorry to hear about all your recent losses. I am a bit unclear if you are just concerned about the 1% or if the entire situation. This sounds like a case of undue influence and he may also be in breach of his fiduciary duty. The Courts will not do anything unless you act, so I would strongly recommend that you seek out a local attorney.

Best of luck,

Kevin A. Pollock, J.D., LL.M.

P: (609) 818-1555

Licensed to practice law in Florida, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

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Answered on 5/29/13, 11:21 am

A nursing home does not have the authority to change a will for anyone so that did not happen. What may well have happened is that the stepfather's biological child or the half-brother instigated the step-father into changing his will.

Naming someone else to be the executor is not a big deal. The executor's job is to figure out what the deceased person owned, what he owed, to pay the just debts and to distribute what is left to the beneficiaries named in the will. So changing the executor does not affect distribution of the estate unless the distribution provisions of the will were also changed.

It is not ethical to discuss issues affecting your husband with you or anyone else. Your husband needs to see a probate attorney who practices in the county/state where the stepfather owned property at the time of his passing - this may or may not be in the same county where the nursing home is located.

Pay the attorney to review the old will and the changed will. Find out whether a will caveat (challenge) can be brought. However, even if the new will is declared to be invalid, it does not necessarily revive the old will. If the new will for the stepfather is declared invalid, who benefits? It will not be your husband unless he was adopted by the stepfather.

So the questions to ask are: (1) is the new will valid? to answer, it will have to be shown that the stepfather was mentally competent when he made the new will and that the new will was not induced/procured through fraud or undue influence of the half-brother. (2) can a will caveat be filed and what will it cost?; (3) if successful, who will benefit and would the old will be revived? (4) is the half-brother administering the estate properly and, if not, what steps can be taken to remove him or prevent him from disposing of estate assets or using them to benefit himself improperly?

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Answered on 5/29/13, 2:39 pm

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