Just months before her half-sister Nancy Motes committed suicide, JULIA ROBERTS encouraged their mother to legally drop the name Motes, The  ENQUIRER can reveal.

“Julia wanted it so her mom could distance herself from not only her abusive ex-hubby Michael Motes, but also the memory of Nancy herself,” a family insider told The ENQUIRER.

As we reported in a blockbuster investigation, the star tortured Nancy, 37, to her grave with verbal abuse, taunts and bullying in shocking messages and tapes.

“Julia had her mom Betty Lou start the process of changing her name back in December, when Julia first insisted that Betty Lou cut ties with Nancy,” said the insider.

In an official court declaration obtained by The ENQUIRER, Betty Lou stated, “I am 79…My health is declining. I need to change my last name to Bredemus (my maiden name) from Motes for estate and financial planning purposes. There are no persons who would object to my name change.”

“But if Nancy had known that Julia was insisting her mom change her name, it would have broken her heart,” said the insider.

On January 22, Nancy tweeted: “(M)y own family has abandoned me.”

On February 9, Nancy was found in the bathtub of a Los Angeles home. Her death was ruled a suicide.

Two months later, Betty Lou’s name change was granted.

The ENQUIRER has visited Nancy’s grave at the New Smyrna Cemetery in Georgia, and it bears the figure of a dog and the inscription, “I love you more.”

“‘I love you more’ is what Nancy told her mom at the end of a conversation. Betty Lou would say, ‘I love you,’ and Nancy would reply, ‘I love you more, momma,’” said a source.