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AIBU to think there must be something we can do?

(9 Posts)
LegallyBlue Wed 17-Jun-20 12:13:23

My husband's great aunt died, leaving inheritance to his grandfather - it was around £50,000. His grandfather subsequently gave £10,000 to each of his two daughters. He gave £4,000 to his eldest grandchild as she was an adult. He then put £4,000 per grandchild into trusts and appointed their mothers (his daughters) as the trustees on the condition that the money would be paid out to each child when they turned 18. When my husband's cousins turned 18, they received their money. However, my husband and his sister never received theirs. He is now an adult and never knew that this trust existed (he was only around 6 when the trust was set up). Recently, in a family argument, his grandfather mentioned that he was ungrateful for never thanking him for the trust payout and squandering the money. When he stated that he knew nothing of the trust, his grandfather confronted his mother who stated that she spent it on a specific expensive item that my husband needed, and a similar expensive item that his sister needed. At that stage, my husband secured evidence that his father had paid for those items (produced the receipts, registration and cheque numbers). As that satisfied his grandfather sufficiently to withdraw his accusations that my husband was ungrateful and squandering the money, the argument was dropped and his grandfather is elderly and doesn't need the stress.
Is there anything that my husband can do about the money? Surely he should have some right to recover the money that his mother took? Surely trustees aren't entitled to just spend money against the terms of the trust? Unfortunately, he has no written proof that the trust ever existed and no evidence of its terms - his mother has all of this and there's no way that he can force her to turn it over. Does anyone know whether he can do anything here?

As a bit of background, my husband and his sister do not have any contact with their mother. She was abusive throughout their childhood and maintained contact only for the sake of their grandparents (who believed everything their mother said and would force a relationship). A while ago, my husband cut contact after an incident between his mother and our son (who was only a week old). She subsequently made false allegations to the police, social services and the NSPCC and there was a whole thing. From that, the truth about a number of incidents came out, partly through bcc-ing the grandparents into emails and showing them her social media profiles and the grandparents no longer believe her lies. There's no relationship to consider here with his mother.
Also, his grandfather is very unwell so cannot be involved in anything.

OP’s posts: |
sleepismysuperpower1 Wed 17-Jun-20 12:21:47

could you call the money advice line (0800 138 7777 open 8am-6pm)? They might be able to offer advice. You could also contact citizens advice. all the best and I am sorry for your loss flowers

arethereanyleftatall Wed 17-Jun-20 12:27:48

What was the big item that she needed the £4k for? Just to pay devils advocate - even if the father was the one who wrote out the cheque, maybe she transferred the £4k or paid for £4k of other stuff instead? It's quite difficult to know. It comes down to - are you saying she pissed his £4k up the wall on luxuries for herself; or did she use it for him, because she had no choice but to?

1099 Wed 17-Jun-20 12:28:05

Hi OP
Can I suggest you ask MNHQ to repost this in Legal Matters there are some experts there who can steer you in the right direction, however if the money was in an official Trust as stated by the terms of the will then yes I would expect he would be able to trace what has happened to it, depends whether he wants to enter into a legal case with her really.

LegallyBlue Wed 17-Jun-20 12:44:12

@arethereanyleftatall It was a musical instrument. My husband's was purchased prior to the death of the relative, and his sister's was a gift from a different elderly relative (on their father's side) who had played the same instrument in their youth.
His mother was a well-kept woman. She was stopped work prior to marrying her first husband, my husband's father. She then left him whilst he was serving high up in the Armed Forces abroad for another wealthy man (a partner in a law firm). When they subsequently divorced, the court admonished her for failing to disclose a secret bank account containing many, many thousands of pounds (I believe around £40,000). I think the money ended up in that account. She only had income from child maintenance from my husband's father (around £1000 per month). I can't imagine where that money went as every expense was either covered by her first husband or her second husband. Her second husband paid the mortgage, bills, food, car, etc. Regardless, the money was put into a trust for my husband to receive as an adult - she doesn't get to decide to spend it on something else.

OP’s posts: |
LegallyBlue Wed 17-Jun-20 12:47:09

@1099 Thanks. How do I ask them to do that? I largely posted here for traffic. It was an official trust but wasn't in the will. The will gave all the money to my husband's grandfather - his grandfather chose to share the money and establish the will.
I just feel like we have no proof because his mother has all the proof - as the trustee. But I've never known a beneficiary of a trust see any evidence of the trust or its terms - so, surely that would prevent any protection from unscrupulous trustees?

OP’s posts: |
Idontgiveagriffindamn Wed 17-Jun-20 12:48:13

If there’s no relationship to damage I’d get a solicitor to send a letter to her telling her that you’ll be taking her to small claims court unless it is reimbursed.
Then take her to small claims court. There should be some form of paper trail when the money was given and some from now depending on how you’ve communicated with her

1099 Wed 17-Jun-20 12:57:04

@MNHQ
Lol I don't really know (never done it) but it happens regularly so I've (hopefully) tagged them and they'll ask you if that's what you want to do. You're correct there are very strict laws regards Trustees actions to prevent exactly this sort of thing.

GoodCow Wed 17-Jun-20 13:07:18

Money left in a trust is separate from the estate in a will so the fact it's not mentioned in the will is irrelevant. If you can find out the company the trust was held in from the grandfather you could call them up to ask for advice. They should be able to find the details with the grandfathers and your DHs name. I believe it is illegal to take the money out when you're not listed as the beneficiary. Get a solicitor involved though. Good luck!

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