‘All kinds of stories and explanations are popping up’: My brother moved in with our mother after our father died in 2015, and transferred family property into his name


Dear Quentin,

My father died in 2015 and his property was transferred to my mother. Before he died, he was clear that things had to be divided equally between his children, only once he and my mother left. Since then, one of the four brothers has moved in with our mother, and he has been in charge of his finances ever since.

For the past seven years, he has managed to move the writing of the house / land of our childhood to his name, and now he claims that our mother gave it only to them. They no longer live there and the property is in poor condition at this time. So now they plan to sell it.

There are all sorts of stories and explanations that say that our father promised them this and that and that we already received what we were supposed to receive in 2015. (I received a washer / dryer that my mother bought me with funds from my father’s inheritance.) I don’t know how to prevent this from happening.

Is there anything or any place to confirm this information, to prevent the other three from losing our property which is supposed to belong to us all? No one is sincere, honest or reasonable and there are too many gloomy answers / deceptive actions that seem to be occurring.

I just need to be guided in the right direction.

Betrayed brother

Dear betrayed,

There is a gray line between the exhaustion of an opportunistic child and coercive control. The latter usually involves isolating the elderly relative, controlling their finances, including the transfer of assets, controlling their time and turning them on (“The other children are not in your best interest. They are just looking for your money!”). The villain posing as the hero.

Neil Carbone, partner, trusts and estates, Farrell Fritz, says this kind of situation is too common. “Unfortunately, this is a pattern of events that appears with increasing frequency, that is, one of the various siblings first becomes the primary caregiver of the parents and then also becomes the main beneficiary of the generosity of this parent, either during the life of the parents or when they die “.

However, sometimes it happens with a slightly different twist. “A common variation arises in mixed families, where the surviving spouse leaves aside a long-standing plan to leave all property at the death of the surviving spouse equally among the children of both marriages, who choose to benefit only their own children, “Carbone added.

Undue influence, coercion and lack of ability

The National Center on Elder Abuse, a government agency affiliated with the U.S. Aging Administration, and the National Association of Nonprofit Adult Protection Services, have resources and can help you with the steps you need to take. you can continue to report alleged abuse. Contact your mother’s primary care physician. There will also be resources to help your own community.

According to the National Council on Aging, elder abuse affects about five million Americans each year, and several agencies say the number of cases is rising and underreported. Your mother may not be able to make these decisions about her estate and / or be under undue influence or coercion.

“Undue influence is a psychological process that can be used against an elderly person as a means of committing two forms of elder abuse: financial exploitation or sexual abuse. Undue influence is also a legal concept, “says the National Center on Law & Elder Rights.” Jurisprudence and statutes recognize that undue influence can undermine an individual’s self-determination. “

Legal options

“Civil lawsuits can result in the revocation of decisions made by the individual under the influence,” the organization adds. “Legal and aging network service professionals can make a significant difference to clients who are vulnerable or who may be experiencing undue influence by recognizing, mitigating, and resolving it.”

From a legal point of view, assuming that there is no elder abuse and / or that it is not possible to prove it, your mother has the right to dispose of her property as she wishes. “Louisiana is the only state in the United States that has a ‘forced heir’ version for children and even there is limited to those under the age of 24 or are permanently disabled,” Carbone adds.

In the meantime, get involved. Talk to your mom about moving home for the rest of your life. “If your brother has ‘taken care’ of his mother’s finances because he can’t handle his own affairs, he may not have the capacity to do so at the time of the alleged gift, or his mother may have acted in response. to undue influence or coercion “. says Carbone.

Of course, we have no way of knowing for sure what has been at the heart of your brother’s removals in the last seven years, but it is clear that changing the title deeds of a property and allowing a property to be in a bad state can sell. way to make sure his brother liquidates the property to put it out of reach of the rest of the family, in case there is a lawsuit.

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