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Lawgirl
Lawgirl, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Grandfather put Niece on checking acct 2 yrs ago.

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Grandfather put Niece on checking acct 2 yrs ago. Verbal agreement was his daughter and her two siblings (to include the niece) would split assets 3 ways upon his death. There was a stipulation that the parties could use some of the funds while he was alive in case of emergency only. One year ago he went into a rest home. At that time the account had 29k in it. An additional (approx) 12k pension plus an determined ss payments were deposited direct deposit. Should have been around 40 at least when he passed this month. My wife (one of the nieces) inquired this week as to the status of the funds. NOTHING is left supposedly! Mother says her father "said" she could spend it! Not, thats why granpa had niece as joint signer as MOM has a serous spending problem. No one will come clean. I have read CA stautes as far as elder financial abuse and requirements for banks to monitor elders funds and I see RED FLAGS everywhere. Suggestions? They would have spent his money prior to his passing.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lawgirl replied 9 years ago.

DearCustomer

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.

Please let me know if you have any other questions, or require clarification of this matter. Otherwise please hit "ACCEPT", so I may receive credit for my response. Tips and feedback are also appreciated.

Good Luck!

-KAT

 

Lawgirl and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Lawgirl's Post: My wifes sister (the niece on grandfathers checking acct) just signed blank checks and gave them to the mom as far as we know. They are not a real bright family. The mom and two daughters (to include my wife)all know that Grandfather stated several times over several years that the money was to be divided equally UPON his death, but in an Emergency, some could be used. The only emergency was the sister and mothers spending and shopping disease.The wiped out his entire account PRIOR to his death and stole my wifes share. I see elder financial abuse as I read the CA statutes. Some final feedback would really help. Neither mom or (signer) sister will accept any accountability and both have conflicting stories. I know that legally with no will, the funds would have gone into probate as well, correct?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Whats really odd is that the mother ripped of my wifes little sister (who is mildly retarded) several years ago, of 30K inheritance.

These are not low income crack addicts, although their behavior would suggest it, they are very well set in retirement, although the signer sister make lower wages. These are extremely religious god fearing evangels! I just do not get it.
Expert:  Lawgirl replied 9 years ago.

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.

Good Luck!

-KAT

Lawgirl and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Quick review and then I will accept, thanks.
Are you aloud to give your contact information for further services?

Sorry, I should have line itemized to begin with.

A) Seems the way to avoid Probate is to liquidate prior to the death? Kidding-NOT GOOD!

B) A Letter from an Attorney would be the first step, trying to avoid suit?

C) A suit would be for breach of fiduciary duty?

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 consistantly and expenses were reduced when he went into the rest home last year. Then within 12 month 40 grand in checks written??

E* Any feedback on the elder financial abuse laws?

I know this could go to the local DA and one never knows, but we both know that my wife would not go that route. I would, because this is a calculated pattern and I dont see intentional theft, just stupidity and really a hord and shopping disease. DAD. But then again its hard to spend over 3 grand a month of someone elses money without thinking about it.

Thanks in advance.
Expert:  Lawgirl replied 9 years ago.

Hello James:

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.

Good Luck!

-KAT

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you very much for all of your input and feed back. I will contact the moderator as you suggested as I would like to continue this.