Portland, OR asked in Estate Planning for Oregon

Q: Am I entitled to see my mom’s legal estate papers that my two sisters had drawn up? I’ve been her live in caretaker

…for years & now neither Mom nor I know what siblings have drawn up & had her sign. How can I compel them to give Mom & I copies-they have refused.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: You are not entitled to copies of your mother's estate planning documents while she is still alive, but your mother is entitled to not only copies but the originals. If she does not know what she signed, then she should demand the originals and read them or have an attorney help her understand them. If the sisters refuse, your mother should document that fact. They are her documents not theirs! Your mother can also do a new will anytime she wants, revoking all prior wills. She can replace powers of attorney, living wills, etc. as well, revoking all prior ones. An attorney can help with all of these things.

The biggest concern would be if she signed anything that states by its terms that it is irrevocable. In that case, if it's not what she really wanted or intended, she might have to go to court to prove that she was tricked. This is much easier done while she is alive than after. However, if nothing has been transferred to the irrevocable trust (if that is the case), then she can just get the original back and tear it up. It is best to try to destroy all copies as well.

Theressa Hollis agrees with this answer

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