It finally hit me tonight.
I was going through papers that my late father had left behind, explaining how he wanted all family possessions split equally between myself and my older brother. Both my mother and father signed this document. Two signatures. In this document they are asking my brother and myself to pick family items to keep--stating that everything else would be split equally between us, including all monies and real estate.
My father died over a decade ago. My mother developed Alzheimer's Disease.
My mother, brother and his family live back East. I live in the West. As my beloved brother and I were discussing how to further care for my mom and her property--I raised an objection over my father's house being rented or sold.
It was then a curious thing happened.
I was informed rather coldly that I "had no say" in this matter--as my brother had complete Power Of Attorney over my mother's Estate and finances. He further stated that in was in possession of a NEW WILL, different than the one that both my parents had designed and registered. Even more interesting, this new Will does NOT follow the wishes of my father or mother that "all things" be divided equally between us--their only two children.
This NEW WILL divides the proceeds from the family Estate between what my brother euphemistically called "...all of mother's children"--which just happens to include his two children as well.
To shield his duplicity, he quickly added that this new WILL includes his wife--and my wife. My wife and I have NO CHILDREN, a choice that we made, ergo any property or proceeds will be split with a Lion's Share going to HIS FAMILY.
In an attempt to further threaten, and bully me--he added that he had been my savior--that my mother was going to cut me from her WILL completely for failing to visit her often. I was stunned. I am still stunned. I will always be stunned. My mother would never do such a thing and came to visit me often with her boyfriend, who is an officer and a gentleman. But even if I had never seen her again, she would never--being in her right mind--do such a thing. We are not, or at least we were not, such a family?
For background, we were raised in a rather privileged environment. I became a writer, while my brother became "somewhat" of a businessman. He lives a lavish lifestyle and is many millions in debt, while I am a quiet minimalist who pays as he goes.
I have always been faithful to my brother--as I thought he was to me--but clearly that is not the case. So there are two issues that I must deal with: the first is heartbreak and a sense of devastating loss. The other is legal.
I have always tried to support him and his family in any manner I could, while clearly he regards me as somewhat dimwitted--largely because I am reserved. He is gregarious, often charming, so much that he has endeared himself to investors and bankers who seem to have little hope in recovering seven figure loans--and they still loan him more money. I recall something one of his managers once said: "...he could tell people to go to hell, and they'd ask for directions."
To be fair to him, and his wife, during my mother's long decline--they were the ones who cared for her and made all the arrangements for her comfort. Fortunately money was never an issue. My father was a wonderful provider--and what hurts most is that he was honest and caring and always fair--so I do not know where such behavior comes from.
I have NOT told my brother how I feel. I'm a good listener.
I also know how dearly my mother always loved my brother's children, and so part of me doesn't even mind this flimflam. It's not what he did really--it's the way that he did it--and often the thought will surface and wake me at night.
I don't know what I should do.
As an extra note, I am surrounded by legal experts in entertainment and contract law--but I have been too embarrassed to even ask a simple question. How does one explain?
My brother seems to have covered all the bases, gaining a Power Of Attorney with his wife in the second position of authority, should anything happen to him--and they did this by "working" an old woman with advancing brain disease. Cunning as they are, they were able to execute a WILL that unfairly excludes me for not having children. My guess, if he didn't feel I was capable of fighting, then he would have excluded me completely--even though he claims he is my defender.
At last report he said he was considering putting my father's house on the market for sale--then somebody called to say there is a sign on the property selling the land--but I was not notified by anyone.
As for his legal foundation--I have plenty of written materials to counter his claims [including my father's WILL], along with witnesses who would testify in any proceeding. But they old, and this is sad. What is the correct course of action?
As an aside, one emotional reaction my wife and I both had--was to consider reconstitution of our own WILL to exclude my brother's children, and we are worth many times more than this estate which stands at 1.5 million in land value alone. The thought of blaming the children for the sins of their parents is unfortunate--they are teenagers who think their dad is a honest gentleman, who is highly successful--rather than buried under a mountain of debt.
He's fooled us all.
Any advise you might be able to give would be most appreciated.