My last post was the day of the court hearing. That day was actually very easy. Even though I was a little nervous sitting in front of a judge, in a court room, it went well. I was represented by the assistant Attorney General as well as the Adult Protective Services. It was a done deal before the hearing even started. I was appointed to be my sister's guardian and conservator.
This gave me full control over her medical decisions, and full responsibility of her financial obligations. Unfortunately, all her assets, her home and 100 acres, her apartment complex she owns, her savings and checking accounts, as well as a stock portfolio, were all tied up inside of a family trust. The person in control of that trust, yes, you guessed it...the crazy niece who was refusing to pay any bills.
This meant I had to hire an attorney and petition the court to become the successor trustee. It took about three days for my attorney to gather affidavits from everyone involved, including affidavits from my other niece and my brother to renounce their positions as successor trustee in the second and third positions. The Attorney General stepped in and put a lock on all assets with a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order which the court awarded in 24 hours). This prevented the other niece from touching the assets.
After all of this, "the" niece called my attorney and agreed to voluntarily renounce her position as the #1 trustee. She signed the paperwork at my attorney's office yesterday. She also left a giant box of paperwork regarding my sister's finances at my attorney's office.
I'm now the successor trustee of the trust, and now the real work begins. Sorting out my sister's finances, paying bills (including filing her 2010 income taxes), and selling some of her property. This is all on top of dealing with her doctor, her physical, occupational, and speech therapists. As well as the staff at her assisted living home, that I'm in contact with several days a week, checking on the status of my sister.
I'm returning to Fairbanks the week after Thanksgiving to meet with a real estate attorney and an estate attorney. I need help figuring out how to best manage all this stuff. Apparently there are laws regarding managing an apartment complex, either I have to manage it (representing my sister as the owner), or hire someone with a real estate license. There's also a thing called a Miller Trust that may help protect her home. All stuff to ask the attorneys.
I've taken on quite a bit of responsibility and feel a bit overwhelmed right now. Since I'm being watched by the courts, my every move has to be documented.
This morning I'm going to dig into QuickBooks, so I have a complete accounting of her finances.
The good news is my sister is eating like she's probably never eaten in her life. Yesterday she had apple pancakes and bacon. I doubt she's eaten like this since she was a teenager. For as long as I've known her she's always been on a diet. Always watching every bite she ate, being super careful. She's getting stronger and getting into a wheelchair twice a day for an hour at a time. She's totally different than she was three weeks ago. Her will to live has returned. Thank God.