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Thank you for your question.
It sounds like your thoughts are definitely in line with what should be happening. You will also need to find out how the mother was able to access the accounts.
If the funds were drained frivolously and against the wishes as communicated by the grandfather, the beneficiaries who were in essence robbed may have an action for breach of fiduciary duty against the niece with signing authority on the account if it can be shown that she abused her signing power.
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You are correct! Without a will the funds would have been probated.
With some people you just cannot tell what is going to happen. It sounds like the mother has a history of this. If you are going to pursue this in court, it may help your case to show that she has a history of financially praying upon vulnerable people.
Unfortunately, the website prevents me from posting my contact information. However, you contact a moderator of the site, they may be able to forward your contact information or allow you to post it if you get into a bind. You can request me here by name -- LawGirl and questions will get directed to my attention. A) Seems the way to avoid Probate is to liquidate prior to the death? Kidding-NOT GOOD! YES. Testamentary documents are the only way to avoid probate. B) A Letter from an Attorney would be the first step, trying to avoid suit? Yes. Pointing out the legality of the situation may bring all parties to their senses before the filing of a formal lawsuit in court may be necessary. C) A suit would be for breach of fiduciary duty? If brought by a beneficiary of the estate, yes. D)* Any feedback on the CA statutes regarding the banks responsibility to monitor for suspect activity, considering the direct deposit income was the same for years and the balance grew consistently and expenses were reduced when he went into the rest home last year. Then within 12 month 40 grand in checks written?? A bank is probably not going to be found to be at fault in this situation. They have a heightened fiduciary duty to elderly clients, but that does not require the automatic monitoring of the bank account.E* Any feedback on the elder financial abuse laws? Someone in a position of power over an elderly individual has a fiduciary duty to them. That is your strongest argument, notwithstanding that the mother had a hand in violating this duty. There is a law firm in los angeles that would be perfect to speak to you regarding this issue. You may consider sending an e-mail to [email protected] briefly explaining your situation and requesting an attorney get in contact with you. Discussing your options may be beneficial.