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  1. #1
    Olympus is offline Junior Member
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    Undocumented trust

    Hi, I'm in Michigan. My brother was left $5,000 by my grandmother to receive when he is 18 years old. My grandmother left my aunt as the power or attorney (not sure if that's the correct term) so that she could see that he got the money and not sooner. My brother is now 19 and my aunt will not turn the money over. We have sent letters requesting in writing and would now like to know what the next step is. Although there is nothing in writing, the entire family knows what was left and who it was to be given to. Is there anything we can do for him? He's a student, so maybe there is a way to get free legal help?
    Thank you kindly.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    Although there is nothing in writing, the entire family knows what was left and who it was to be given to.
    Why did the grandson get the money if it wasn't from a writing?
  3. #3
    Olympus is offline Junior Member
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    Undocumented trust

    Thank you for your reply.

    He hasn't gotten anything yet.

    I suppose some family members have trust in other family members to do the right thing, which is in this case give my brother the money that was left for him.
  4. #4
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    I suppose some family members have trust in other family members to do the right thing, which is in this case give my brother the money that was left for him.
    Let me try one more time. When you say "left for him", what do you mean if there was not a writing?
  5. #5
    Olympus is offline Junior Member
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    It was left for him in a mutual fund by my grandmother for my aunt to watch over until he was 18 years old.

    Thanks again!
  6. #6
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    My goodness, this is funny now. Please try to focus.

    When you say:
    It was left for him in a mutual fund by my grandmother for my aunt to watch over until he was 18 years old.
    What do you mean by "left for him"?

    How was it "left for him"? Was is a comment by grandmother? Was it in her will? Was grandson a beneficiary of the mutual fund? How?

    What method transferred ownership from grandmother to grandson? Don't talk about what was transferred, what people agree to, if he is a student or anything else which does not specifically answer the question.
  7. #7
    Olympus is offline Junior Member
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    I'm glad I can amuse you.

    This is why this forum is here, correct? For people to get help a/o advice for issues that are unsure? I am not a lawyer. I am seeking advice.

    As I said as well, I am his sister trying to help him out. That said, I might not have all the right information, but I'm all he has.

    The method of transfer was my grandmother's word. It was not in her will, and I am not certain he is the beneficiary.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please know too that if you are unwilling to reply in a respectful manner, I'm sure there are others here that might. If not, I'll move on.

    Thank you again.
  8. #8
    curb1 is offline Senior Member
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    Olympus,

    Whose name is on the account with the mutual fund? If there is nothing in writing the assets belong to your aunt, most likely, if her name is on the account.

    The POA does not mean anything after your grandmother died. Does aunt give any reason for not giving the $5,000 to your brother?
  9. #9
    Olympus is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I will have to find out more details if I can then. The problem is she's kind of made herself an outcast to the family and it's quite hard to get a hold of her. When we were in contact she told me she moved the money to another account. She has never provided proof, though, and has since then stopped answering calls, letters and any other type of attempts at communication.

    I suppose finding out who is on the account is the first thing I need to do.

    Thank you kindly.
  10. #10
    anteater is offline Senior Member
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    My grandmother left my aunt as the power or attorney (not sure if that's the correct term) ...
    Custodian?

    See if UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act) account rings any bells.

    We know that Tranq doesn't always show the most tact. But how the money "was left to" your brother makes a big difference. If it was not transferred into an account for him while grandmother was alive and it was not a bequest in her will, then it could be extremely difficult to prove that auntie has an obligation to hand it over.
    Last edited by anteater; 09-22-2011 at 07:37 PM.
  11. #11
    Olympus is offline Junior Member
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    I talked a bit with my mom. She seems to think that my grandmother had a check from her sister for $5,000 to be left for my brother. My grandmother's sister died before she could "leave" it for my brother, so my grandmother deposited it with my aunt to fulfill my grandmother's sister's wishes. Confused? ;-) There is no way he's going to see this money, is there?
  12. #12
    anteater is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympus View Post
    There is no way he's going to see this money, is there?
    Yeah, it could be tough. That is why Tranq kept asking about a writing.

    Still, it's probably worth it for your brother to contact a couple attorneys and ask if they would offer a brief consultation without charge. Attorneys with experience in probate/estates and/or family law would be the most likely candidates. (If there really is nothing in writing, my thought process runs toward an argument that what is called a "constructive trust" exists. But, those are usually tough arguments to make stick.)

    Maybe the old "sternly worded" letter from an attorney to your aunt would work. Sometimes the "blowfish effect", where you puff yourself up to look bigger, badder, and meaner than you actually are, succeeds.
  13. #13
    TrustUser is offline Senior Member
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    hey ant,

    perhaps you missed your calling (of being a lawyer).
  14. #14
    anteater is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustUser View Post
    hey ant,

    perhaps you missed your calling (of being a lawyer).
    I much prefer grubbing around for fire ants and scarfing them up.
  15. #15
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    There is no attorney who is going to take this over $5,000. I still don't have a legal argument on why the person deserves the money by legal process at all. Constructive trusts are fancy law and it would be extremely unlikely (we can't even guess because we don't know the state) on these facts. Most cases I've seen in my state are quite clear about what was going on and what happened.

    Personally? I'm thinking the administration of grandma's estate was not done properly. I'd love to review everything as this is quite smelly. That does not give the OP's brother any money however. Except, perhaps, if there was no probate and no will and he would inherit by intestate succession.

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