Question: My younger sister and her husband have pressured my 88-year-old mother to name them as her power of attorney, make them the only beneficiaries on her insurance policies (deleting three other siblings), and leave the house to them. She also told my mother she had to have her name on all of my mother's bank accounts. How do I get help to stop their control of her? My mom thinks my sister can be trusted but we watched them methodically take control of my mom just before my dad died. My sister and her husband have nothing to do with us siblings. What are our rights, either while mom is alive or as soon as she dies? How do we contest this?
Dr. Amy: This is a complex issue and you really need legal advice on how to proceed. I encourage you to work together with your siblings and a lawyer to sort things out.
But first, I wonder if you might try once more to talk with your sister. It sounds like communication is difficult, but is there a way to have a family conference to talk things through? If your sister were willing, you might ask someone outside the family to facilitate the meeting. A wise friend, church minister, or professional mediator could help. If you feel that this is not an option, then a lawyer will be able to guide you through the next steps.
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