My question involves a person located in the state of: New Jersey
I live with my elderly mother, in her home. I don't currently pay rent, but I shop, cook most meals and manage a rental property for her. At the present time, I'm not really pulling my weight financially, but I am currently in the process of declaring chapter 7, and, once that goes through, I should be in a better position to contribute. My sibling has put a lot of pressure on my mother to kick me out, but, so far, she has not, nor does she have any desire to.
Other than the rental income and social security, Mom isn't making much and I'm making nothing. We're not below the poverty level, but we're close and we don't live terribly well. The house is orderly/relatively clean, but if someone were to walk through it, they probably wouldn't describe it very positively. For what it's worth, my living conditions in an unfinished basement are far worse than my mother's (as, since it's her house, they should be).
A few years back, my mother wrote up a will splitting her estate between my sibling and I. She has been forgetful as of late and occasionally repeats herself, but there's no question that her mind has been, and is sound.
Over the years, my mother has had a falling out with a few close friends, one of which is the sole witness to the signing of the will. My sibling has befriended these ex-friends and we have reason to believe that the group of them is pursuing some sort of action against us. These are, unfortunately, wealthy and powerful members of the community, who seem to be holding large grudges against my mother and myself (mom tends to speak her mind).
I'm trying to prepare for any possible legal threats. I think there's a good chance that they'll
Try to have my mother committed
Challenge the validity of the will
Try to have me arrested for elder neglect
Are there any other legal avenues a hostile sibling might take in my kind of situation? I'm in the process of having Mom re-do her will with another witness (in a self proving fashion) and I'm also seeking out third parties that will testify to the living conditions in the house and to Mom's testamentary capacity. I've also talked with my mother about giving me durable power of attorney, should her mental condition deteriorate and the question of guardianship arise.
I've tried to apply for legal aid and we're right above the cutoff. I've written leases and evicted tenants and have a pretty good sense of the law, so I'm trying to do as much of this myself. I guess, at some point, I will have no choice but to hire lawyer, but with my financial situation, I'd much prefer it later rather than sooner.
If anyone has a potential threat that I've overlooked and/or good strategies for the threats that I'm staring down the barrel at, I'd appreciate it. If things go badly for me, I'm fairly confident I'll land on my feet, but if they are successful in having my mother committed, she's not going to live long.