Asked in Probate for Maryland

Q: My grandfather recently died. He had a bank account set up for me and my two siblings.

My grandfather recently died. He had a bank account set up for me and my two siblings. During the time he had Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, and Dementia, my Aunt & Father were fighting in court over who had power of attorney. Over his money, wills, body, etc. My aunt got power of attorney over everything. When this happened, all money was liquidated into one account. Initially, there was a bank account that was pay upon death for me & my two siblings. My brother said that they should respect my grandfather and pay out everything the way that he wanted it to be, before they changed it. Now, my aunt is saying that we (the grandchildren) have no legal right, or "leg to stand on", because that account no longer exists. Is this right? Also, my father stole at lease 100k from my grandfather while he was sick. My aunt is insinuating that she wants to keep all of the money, give my father the house, and completely cut me & my brother & sister out of everything. What should I do?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Paul E. Draper
Paul E. Draper
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: There is no quick or easy answer to your question. Your aunt in her capacity as your grandfather's agent under the power of attorney created by him owed him a fiduciary duty to administer his property in his best interest. Furthermore, your aunt cannot act under the power of attorney for her best interest in contravention of what is in your grandfather's best interest. Under this principal of fiduciary duty, you could argue that your aunt subverted your grandfather's testamentary plans by retitling the bank account from payable on death to his sole name. This argument is only sustainable if your grandfather did not need this money for his personal expenses or debts during his lifetime. Additionally, in order to protect you and your sibling's rights in this matter, all of you will be required to institute actions in both the orphans' court where your grandfather's estate is opened as well as institute an action in the circuit court. You will definitely need to retain an attorney who practices in estate litigation to assist you in this case.

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.