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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question

Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27686
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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My daughter had numerous CDs and a savings account from where

Customer Question

My daughter had numerous CD's and a savings account from where she put her money and saved it when she was involved with 4-H. My mother was the custodian on them, but my daughter didn't even think about the sick thing my mother did to her granddaughter. My daughter was well over 18 & she gets the tax information to have to file on her taxes. My mother had been in & cashed in every Certificate of Deposit my daughter had and got all of her money & closed her savings account also. My daughter is a SR. in college & is devastated that she worked so hard showing & selling livestock from the time she was 6 years old until she couldn't show anymore. We live in NC, we are trying to find an atty. who will do this pro bono due to her student status. My mother cashed in somewhere close to $35-$40,000. Is there anything my daughter can do and the banks from what I have been told & numerous pamphlets in other banks that clearly state that she the child becomes of age, the custodian is removed. The way I see it, the bank is just as liable for this as my mother is. Can you help?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Was your mother's name on the CDs as a joint owner?

Was your mother's name on the savings account as a joint owner?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

They were set up as a minor account with my Mother being the custodian. My daughter received the tax bank information out of the blue to file all the interest earned and the penalty fees for not letting the CD's mature.

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Okay thanks,

I'm going to open this question up for others, because I don't believe I have a good answer for your daughter's circumstances. Please do not reply to this memo. It will send the question back to me.

Best wishes.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 1 year ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - I'm not certain that anyone from this website will be able to solve this problem since we are not permitted to represent clients from here. I will try to provide you with as much information as I can based on the facts you have given. If the bank account was set up so that your mother could sign on the account and there was no restriction such as having to have your daughter also sign for any withdrawals then the bank would not be responsible for giving the money to your mother. What you have read would apply to accounts where the custodian had no right to remove the funds individually so in order for the bank to be responsible they would have had to have released the funds in a wrongful manner. Without having the record of the account I would have no way of telling you if this was the case. I'm also not certain why your mother would have been on the account rather than you or her father but that is a different issue. At this point the only legal cause of action I can see is for your daughter to file a suit against your mother for reimbursement of her money. If your mother was the custodian then she would have been in a fiduciary relationship with your daughter and would have had a duty to protect the money in the accounts. As for free or pro bono legal services, there is no special right to get free legal help as a student and the only free legal assistance that is required by law is for indigent criminal defendants. Many Bar Associations have programs for pro bono legal assistance but there is no guarantee that you are going to be able to find a free lawyer. I have included the website for the Bar Association below for your convenience and you can contact them to see if assistance might be available. the other option would be to see if you can find a collection attorney willing to take this on a contingency basis for a percentage of what is collected. Under these circumstances your daughter may also be entitled to punitive damages for the wrongful actions of your mother which would increase the amount she could collect. I believe she has a good case but unless the bank can be shown to have violated it's account agreement the bank will not be liable for any wrongdoing. Here's the website for the Bar Association:
https://www.ncbar.org/public-pro-bono/lawyer-referral-service/nc-find-a-lawyer

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