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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33394
Experience:  Estate Law Expert
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My father had a trust fund set up before he past on to split

Customer Question

My father had a trust fund set up before he past on to split his money five ways; half of his wealth (home included) to my sister who has hydroencephlitis and the remainder being divided evenly between me and my three other siblings. My father and mother died about 3 years ago and the estate was divided accordingly. The money allotted to my physically challenged sister was left in the trust with the bank as the sole executor as per my fathers wishes. This sum was depleted drastically during this time, raising the attention of the family, and shortly after the first questions we asked were directed to the trust department of this national bank a letter came to each of us claiming that a 150,000 dollar mistake was made at the time of distribution and each of us owed the trust approximately 37,000 dollars to correct the error. We were reminded of the paper we signed stating that any discrepancy occurring during distribution would be accepted by each of us. I disputed this document when it was presented to me for signing as was assured that it was a formality relating to small unreported funds ( bills, checks) that had not arrived yet and would need finalization. I have invested my portion long ago by paying off my mortgage. I am not wealthy and I would have to mortgage my home to reimburse this mistake. I am 62 years old and getting ready to retire. We have now received a letter with the repayment offer of 5,000 dollars each with the remainder replaced by the bank until my sisters demise. At that time, if that amount was left in the trust it would belong to the bank. If she became pennyless during her lifetime, we would be required to reimburse the full amount.
This situation has divide our family and infuriated me. This is not the only time despicable things have occurred with the management of my fathers hard earned money and his property. I desperately need legal advice. Thank you for listening to my problems.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 1 year ago.

What is your ultimate goal out of this situation?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Are we liable for this banks mistake 3 years ago? Should we hire an attorney and sue the bank for malpractice? Are there any laws in Missouri protecting us from this banks mistake? Is there a statute of limitations on a demand for return of inherited money?

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Are we liable for this banks mistake 3 years ago?

If you mean are you required to repay any amount which was overpaid to you, then the answer is yes. This is based on a number of theories of law including one known as "unjust enrichment".

Should we hire an attorney and sue the bank for malpractice?

It would be for negligence rather than malpractice and if you are still owed additional monies from the trust then you definitely could sue them for the extra amounts paid to your siblings. It would appear that the one who has the strongest case would be your disabled sister since the bank's distribution of extra monies really came from her finds if I am reading your facts correctly. You would have to hire separate attorneys for each sibling because there is an inherent conflict of interest which would prevent the same attorney from representing all of you.

Are there any laws in Missouri protecting us from this banks mistake?

Just the common law issues as to negligence. However, as I mentioned above, your disabled sister appears to have the strongest claim. If I read your facts correctly, you already received everything that you were supposed to receive from the trust and thus you really don't have any damages. Your sister, however, had her share reduced by the amount that was paid to everyone else.

Is there a statute of limitations on a demand for return of inherited money?

The statute of limitations in Missouri is 5 years under a breach of contract theory and under an "injury to personal property" argument.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered. In addition, once you issue your Positive Rating the question will lock open and no longer time out so you can come back to it anytime in the future if you think of any follow ups.