Los Angeles, CA asked in Contracts, Family Law, Arbitration / Mediation Law and Business Law for California

Q: can my brother act as my mother’s lawyer regarding her last will and testament?

My brother has my moms last will, he will not allow me to have a copy or view, he’s ask me to sign a document pertaining to her will, that I would agree to settle in mediation not in court, if there’s a dispute. Is this legal or appropriate?

Is it legal for my brother to act as my mother’s legal attorney or lawyer regarding her will? (He is not an attorney never has been - thought he did pass the bar and has his law degree)

Also my mom doesn’t have a copy of her will and she has asked to see it many times and he has yet to comply? He did state she has it, however she’s look everywhere and stated she doesn’t and would like to have a copy of it and all papers pertaining to it, as she would like to have a copy is it legal for him to keep it from her?

1 Lawyer Answer
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
  • Arbitration & Mediation Lawyer
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You question raises a lot of issues. One simple, quick solution to one of the problems is for your mother to simply make a new will. In making the new will, she can "revoke" all previous wills, meaning they will no longer count as her will. Because of the other issues, it is best if she goes to an attorney, by herself, and does this. If she is not capable of making her own decisions, a conservator may need to be appointed for her. It is also possible there is elder abuse occurring, so you should look into your county's resources for reporting this. There is also a will form available at: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/publications/Will-Form.pdf However, even if she does use this form, I recommend she get to an attorney, at least for a consultation, as soon as possible.

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