From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: When my father became very ill two years ago, we hired a full time caretaker to help him. We live in California and my father lived in Philadelphia, so we could not be there at all times. At his death, we were shocked to find out that his will was changed and the caretaker was the executor. She says all his money was spent on medical care, but that is impossible. We are now being told we are the heirs, but there is no money. I suspect she has stolen his money. What can I do?
You have a few options. If the will has been filed and accepted by the Register, you could appeal the validity of the will to the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court. I would need to know more before I could tell you if that is a wise decision.
The other option is to demand to get all the records from your father’s accounts for the last two years. It is a slow process, but we could demand discovery for you through the Orphans’ Court and obtain copies of all statements, transfers and checks. Money always leaves a trail, and we can find out if your father’s money was truly spent on his care or if it was funneled into the caregiver’s accounts. Speed is necessary, as if she spends the money and has no other assets, there will be nothing to recover!