Step sister screwed me and my sisters

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Latest post 03-28-2012 7:45 AM by Drew. 6 replies.
  • 03-23-2012 2:53 PM

    • dab1859
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    Step sister screwed me and my sisters

    Greetings. Unfortunately I just discovered my step-sister and step-brother has really screwed me and my two biological sisters. My mother passed down in florida in 2007 and had a house worth 315k and a 401K worth about 250k. She did not have a will and was married to my step-father during her passing. They jointly owned the house and he was the beneficiary of her 401k. At that time he was in the early stages of dementia but was not officially diagnosed with the condition until about a year later 2008 and was not placed in a memory care unit in florida until about 2009 and the moved up north in 2010.

    He had a will drawn up with an equal split (5 way- his two biological children and myself and my two sisters that were children of my mother he was married to). I never got a copy of the will (nor my two sisters) and do not believe it was filed. I think his brother executed the will with him and kept a copy. My step sister ened up getting POA over him and sold their house, the proceeds, we thought, were to be pooled in with the 401K and used towards his care (we had no idea of course how long he would live with the condition). Records show she quit claim deeded the property to her name for $1 and it was sold for $315k. She apparently closed out my mother's 401K that was not in my step-father's name and created a new account in his name -of which to my surprise, she named herself and her brother sole beneficiaries of the account. My step-father passed late last year. They stopped answering our calls.

    I was looking over Florida law for deeds and as I understand it, the right to succession has to be specified in the deed, otherwise I and my sisters would have a claim on the property. Or am I mis-interpreting this? Her actions are abviously self dealing and I am trying to reach my step-uncle for the will, but what recouse do I really have at this point? Obvously we trusted them and never in our wildest dreams did we see this coming (there was no animonsity between us, or so I thought). Thanks for your input.

  • 03-23-2012 3:14 PM In reply to

    • dab1859
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    Re: Step sister screwed me and my sisters

    I hate to reply to my own post but I am unable to edit it. I see from looking at the UK issue posted here that the right to succession is commonly set up for the surviving spouse to take full ownership so that speck of hope is most likely gone...

  • 03-23-2012 3:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Step sister screwed me and my sisters

    dab1859:
    I was looking over Florida law for deeds and as I understand it, the right to succession has to be specified in the deed, otherwise I and my sisters would have a claim on the property. Or am I mis-interpreting this?

    Not certain what you are referring to, but I suspect that you are misinterpreting.  Florida does have law dealing with the descent of homestead property.  But, since the house was sold (and a sale was a reasonable action by the agent under the POA), that is pretty much moot.

     

    dab1859:
    Her actions are abviously self dealing...

    You are right.  And this will have to be the line of attack - that the agent under the POA engaged in self-dealing and breached the fiduciary duty to the principal.  And the funds misappropriated funds need to be brought back into the probate estate.

    This is not do-it-yourself.  Consult with a Florida attorney.

     

  • 03-23-2012 3:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Step sister screwed me and my sisters

    The key is that you mentioned "jointly owned" in your first post.  Florida recognizes a form of ownership called tenancy by the entirety that is available only for married couples.  That form of ownership carries with it the right of survivorship so that, when one spouse passes away, ownership passes to the surviving spouse.  Further, the presumption is that a married couple owns joint  real property in tenancy by the entirety unless the deed explicitly states otherwise.

    Besides, it is unlikely that the stepsister could have sold the property unless your stepfather had clear ownership.  The parties to a real estate transaction are generally pretty careful about making sure that the seller can actually convey title.

  • 03-27-2012 3:55 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Step sister screwed me and my sisters

    You may well be out of luck---unless you can prove forgery or undue influence etc---

    Moms assets apparently all passed by title to SF

    Mom may have relied upon hubby to make a final "fair" split but probably took no legally binding stepto  set that up.

    SF had no legal duty to include you --and on a "good day" could have easily disinherited you by destruction of the earlier will which included you.....and you have one heck of a burden to prove he was too far out of it to undo or remake a will.



  • 03-28-2012 7:37 AM In reply to

    • dab1859
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    • Joined on 03-23-2012
    • FL
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    Re: Step sister screwed me and my sisters

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and provide your insight. I have spoken to several attorneys who have referred me to those who specalize in that area of legal practice. I may have a very dim shot at recouping anything at this point. Let this be a lesson to those who may read this that even those who you have known for years and trust could become someone else when money is involved.

  • 03-28-2012 7:45 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,151

    Re: Step sister screwed me and my sisters

    It may be les than dim--

    If via the POA SS transferred out his assets and benefited herself with sweet deals --that might be actionable IF the executor sought to recover the self deals on behalf of the estate under the will ......but absent probate and an executor willing to do so there simply will me nobody of standing to contst her prior actions.  And absent a will, under intestacy you position is zero as a stepchild (unles you were adopted by him)



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