How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Tina Your Own Question
Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
4460311
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Tina is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hello, My name isXXXXX I have lived in Europe

This answer was rated:

Hello, My name isXXXXX I have lived in Europe the past 35 years and therefore am not savy to all the recent law changes and adjustments here in California.

My question is concerning my sister`s dipping into my Mother`s finances over a few years in which she has managed my Mother`s Trust, set up by my Dad before he passed away in 2007. Initally, my sister was meant to just help mom make sure bills were paid. She soon took over the day to day decisions as to how much money my Mom was allowed to spend, even, to the point where Mom was given an allowance.

At the same time, my Dad`s considerable reserves were put (by him prior to his death)
were put into a living trust in which he had money in Savings and in 2 rotating CDs. He had planned this as a reserve for my mom when she gets older.

As my Dad had added my sister to the Living Trust, she got the idea somehow that she was allowed to spend these funds, without so much as a note from my mother, allowing her to do so. The name of the Trust was The Richard and Fern Villalba Trust. Both my younger brother and I had thought (my sister always smelled of Roses) that she was managing well for my Mom.

It now turns out that over the time period of 2007-2012 she have pretty much depleted Mom`s entire Reserves. She told us it is because Mom was forgetful and had told her to make changes. Not so!

So, I told you all this to get your legal opinion as to wether these misuses of Mom`s finance constitute a major fraud and misapropiation of Mom`s finances and therefore not
falling under the staute of limitations.

Thank you very much in advance for you help and clarifications. Any paragraph and laws you might share would be helpful. sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX

Hello and welcome.

I am sorry to hear of your family's difficult situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service. First, I have some questions for you so I can determine what information to provide you.

When you say your sister was added to the trust, was she added as a beneficiary? If so, who added her?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Hello, sorry, had to call my brother to ask. He says she was added as the executor of the trust if and when my Mom passed away. My Mom is the beneficiary.

I see. Thank you for the additional information, Richard.

Yes, if your sister was the trustee and your mother the beneficiary, but your sister dissipated the trust assets for her own benefit, that would typically constitute fraud and breach of her fiduciary obligations.

She could be prosecuted criminally if this is reported to and investigated by the local prosecutor, and she could be sued on your mother's behalf for damages sustained due to her wrongful conduct.

Trustees can be compensated for their time in administering the trust, but this does not normally involve diverting trust assets for their own use or benefit and that is a serious allegation.

Here is a link that discusses fiduciary obligations:

http://www.californiaestatelawyerblog.com/breach_of_fiduciary_duty/

The statute of limitations for bringing a breach of fiduciary duty claim is typically 4 years from the date the wrongful conduct was reasonably discovered, so there would still be time to pursue legal action against your sister for her conduct.

The SOL for fraud is normally 3 years, so that should be a viable claim as well. I'm so sorry this has happened to your mother. It is truly a shame and precisely what a trust is meant to guard against normally.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you.

It has been my pleasure to assist you. Kindly remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested. If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will be happy to continue further and assist you until I am able to explain your concern to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to you or not, so please don’t shoot the messenger. Thank you and all the best to you in 2013.

Tina

Please feel free to bookmark the following link so you can request me to answer any future legal questions you may have:

http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-tina/

Tina and 13 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you