Trusts & Estates Law/Will Probate
Hi. If my question is outside your realm, I apologize.
My mother, from California, has a will that will be probated in California. A few years ago, my mother come to live with me. Initially, I was to be her POA for health matters. My brother offered to be her POA for financial matters, stating that he was able to "make the most" of her money for long-term healthcare plans since he was a nursing home administrator and an expert. I mailed a check for $15,000 (the amount in her bank account when she came to live with me) to my brother along with the POA. He never signed the POA and deposited the check into his account. He refused to release any of the funds to take care of mother. Since then, I never sent any of mother's funds to him again and all of her benefit checks were kept by me in an account in her and my name, and I became her POA for both health and financial matters.
Mother has passed away and now it is time to probate the will (five siblings, including my brother, are equal beneficiaries) and she had little assets. My brother says he never received any funds belonging to my mother and refuses to return her $15,000 for probate.
Do I have any options?
Since he never signed the POA, your brother was never your mom's agent. Still, you might be able to argue breach of contract. Realistically, you have to weigh the cost of litigation (minimum a few thousand to get started) and the potential recovery. You should pay a California attorney an hour for their time to see if it is worth it.