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## AI Legalese Decoder: Helping Navigate Legal Matters

Just this past week, my ex-stepmother (let’s just say she passed the Bar many years ago, divorced from my dad for a couple of decades but kept her claws in him) appeared at my doorstep with a notary in tow to tell me that my dad had passed approximately 8 months ago.

She said needed a statement from me verifying that my paternal Grandparents adopted me as a teenager, apparently so that her son could claim sole beneficiary to whatever on Earth has been happening with my dad’s estate. I was in shock, so I wrote out a little note to that effect because they did, although it was more to save my dad child support money (likely pushed by her) and get me on their insurance – I’d been living with them since the age of 5 when I was removed from his care but he was always my dad…that was never a question. He and my mother are still listed as my parents on my birth certificate, by he and his parent’s choice.

She basically said if I didn’t make the statement, the government would reach back to those 2 or 3 years of my being a “minor adoptee” in the late 90s/early 2000s and charge the Grandparents’ estate for the SS benefits they received as a result of the adoption until I turned 18. I was listed as a grandchild on their will back in 2019 because regardless of the legalese, I was still their son’s child. Always have been. It seems as though that particular detail is really throwing a wrench in her plans to bypass me and my father’s family altogether or she likely never would have said anything at all. I have always been too scared to rock the proverbial dad-boat due to a lifetime of experience with him, but now I guess that’s not a factor and I’m mad about the entire way this was handled, to be quite honest. In every sense of the word. He has a FAMILY, regardless of her attempts to erase it over the years.

She came back the following day (again with the notary) and tried to have me sign a couple of documents giving up any claim to his estate in favor of her son. I pumped the brakes immediately – I don’t even know what they did with my dad’s body, what he died of, absolutely nothing, and I refuse to sign anything until I find out. She caught me off kilter that first day – it won’t happen again.


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View Reference


  • apparent-evaluation

    > She basically said if I didn’t make the statement, the government would reach back to those 2 or 3 years of my being a “minor adoptee” in the late 90s/early 2000s and charge the Grandparents’ estate for the SS benefits they received as a result of the adoption until I turned 18.

    No, that would not have happened.

    > I was listed as a grandchild on their will back in 2019 because regardless of the legalese, I was still their son’s child.

    For them, but the “legalese” is what matters.

    > Thoughts?

    If you were adopted by your grandparents then she’ll show that in court and her son (if he’s your dad’s son) will inherit.

  • Mundane_Bike_912

    Get yourself a lawyer.

  • Dapper-Platform-6520

    Get a lawyer. It doesn’t matter if she knows them they should represent you. Do not sign anything for her or talk to her. Have you made a claim on the estate? Is there a will? You are his heir and should be entitled to his estate

  • kazisukisuk

    Dude you know perfectly well she is trying to defraud you. Get a lawyer, tell her all further communication will be via lawyer. Tell her she coerced you into the first thing and you rescind it pending advice of counsel.

  • whatareyoueating

    It sounds like maybe they had legal guardianship, rather than adoption.

  • ryersonreddittoss

    Get a lawyer. Explain that whatever you gave her you did so under duress and intimidation vis verbal threats.

    She’s a lawyer, I can assured you that there is a lawyer out there who hates her

  • AllThisAndNoneOfThat

    A Notarys responsibility is to identify the signer, assure that the signer is aware of what they are signing, and that the person *is signing of their own free will*.

    You have a case against the notary as well as your ex stepmom.

    *I am not an attorney, but I am a notary, but not your notary.

  • digitalreaper_666

    I sounds like your grandparents had guardianship not adoption? Can you petition the court for a copy of the order?


    The reason she wants you to sign is because your dad left you something and she does not want you to have it. She cannot move forward without your signature. Do not sign anything because nothing can move without you. Report her to the bar for unethical practice and harassment. It does not matter if your adopted or not of you were involved or not, it was his will and relationships and legality of those relationships don’t play a role when someone leaves you something. Ask her for a copy of the will if she does not comply it because he left you a share of his estate and she does not want you to know.

  • CantBeWrong1313

    This has nothing to do with your question, but if you were adopted by your grandparents, then you would have been re-issued a birth certificate, listing them as your parents. The old birth certificate isn’t legitimate.

  • SmartassMouth89

    Go to state bar association and look up lawyers that handle estates and probate. Bring your paperwork to prove who you are. Explain you were just informed of fathers passing and you need help to ensure anything from his estate that your entitled to per the state laws/ your fathers will is completed.

  • Bonnm42

    Do not sign anything. Get a lawyer. If local laws allow, record every conversation. Make a show of the fact you are recording her. Right now she is trying to use the fact she is a lawyer to get away with sketchy shit. She will be less inclined to do so if you have her on recording saying these things. A ring doorbell could be perfect for this, being she keeps showing up at your door with a notary.

  • Howthehelldoido

    Please speak to a solicitor.

    And do not take legal advice from someone who actively is working against your best interests.

  • SuccessfulOwl

    Dude, why would you sign random forms she brings over?!

    Default position of random forms being shoved in front you at short notice with demands for signatures is always – GET FUCKED!

  • twaggener

    Get. A. Lawyer.

  • PossibleBig2562


  • nclawyer822

    So this is what is going on: she has already tried to take your father’s entire estate for her son. She hasn’t been successful because somebody has determined that you have or may have rights. You need to hire your own lawyer to investigate this and determine what those rights are before you do anything. And charging grandparents estates (they are deceased? How long ago?) with some Social Security charge is likely total nonsense that she made up to try to scare you.

  • Cheap_Egg3061

    Did they officially adopt you or just get custody/guardianship. My grandparents had custody/guardianship of my brother and I, where they could do what they needed to take care of us, including providing insurance, but our parents remained our parents and birth certificates never changed. In an adoption, you birth certificate changes, so therefore, you would be their child and not your parents legally, and there would be no reason your step mom would need you to sign anything .
    When my dad died, I was still his legal heir, and had to sign off as that, when his parents died without a will and my aunt went to sell the property. Sounds like your grandparents just had guardianship/custody if she’s wanting you to sign your rights away to what your dad owned. Check your birth certificate and go to the courthouse where you live to find out which is the case, because it makes a big difference where you stand legally.

  • Bastet79

    She wants you to sign something, so she (and or via her son) get something. And I assume, if you don’t sign, you’ll get it. Leave your hands in your pockets or grab the papers and leave. Perhaps you can use them in your favour (she tried to force me to sign THIS) .

  • Dog1beach

    Nope, sign nothing without your lawyer reviewing it first.

  • fi4862

    Is her son the bio child of your father? If not, did your father legally adopt ex-stepmom’s child?

  • InvisAssistant

    Did your grandparents truly adopt you or did they “adopt” you, as in it was easier to tell you you were adopted/wanted vs unwanted by your dad and they stepped in to care for you? Are there actual adoption papers that were filed in court… not just copies of something she’s handing you that may or may not gotten filed?

    And you absolutely need an attorney unless you are ok with the worst case scenario, getting nothing from anyone.

  • BeWiseRead

    Sign nothing, under any circumstances!! Go see an estate attorney, and also see if you can obtain a certified copy of your dad’s death certificate, which you can get by mail from the County Clerk’s office if you know what county he was in when he passed away.

    Your attorney can do the legwork to see whether or not he had a will, and to obtain records such as property deeds and such. Depending on the laws in your state, the surviving spouse ( not EX spouse) is entitled to inherit some or all of his assets, then surviving children thereafter. This woman is nobody to you by law or by blood, nor to your dad. She has no claim to anything unless you sign papers GIVING her that right…so next time she shows up, tell her you have an attorney and that is the only person to whom she should submit any future documents.

  • Choice-Intention-926

    Do not sign anything.

    Did your dad die intestate? Or did he have a will?

    Make sure you are recording anytime you two have a conversation from now on. Take the name of the notary as they witnessed her try to intimidate and blackmail you.

    Report her to the state Barr association for harassment.

    Use your father’s estate to pay your legal fee’s.

  • TheLastWord63

    Is her son biologically related to your dad?

  • tsammons

    Tangentially related:

    My dad had 4 kids from a former marriage. He married my mom, they had 2 kids. Dad passed in 2005, mom in 2023. We needed an attestation from all of them to release any claims to dad’s estate (mom never probated, another story for another day) to move forward with selling the property that was jointly in their names.

    Given the divorce situation, I’d check in with the local probate court to see what claims are ongoing with his estate to establish a better picture. And FWIW, if she can’t practice polar bear law she’s a mid-tier attorney at best.

  • pretzelsRus

    Lawyer. Now.

  • gritzy702

    Just consult an estate attorney they will take your case. Speaking for a friend “wink wink”

  • Totally_twisted

    dont sign or say anything, call a lawyer, dont leave thr property to her and also, find out what happened to your father and try your best to claim your estate. TALK TO A LAWYER!!!

  • Move_In_Waves

    What state are is this occurring in? Laws vary.

  • thesarcasticpepper

    I would go on AVVO and see if an attorney in your jurisdiction or another jurisdiction would see you. You’re right that the majority of attorneys would not want to go against a judge in their jurisdiction. Or if you go in the jurisdiction she is a judge in, don’t mention the name during the initial consultation and at least get advice on where to go for information.