Q: My broker is requiring court documents showing I am the Guardian of my daughter's settlement money under title 13
I opened a Guardianship brokerage account in 2014 to hold around $6,000 from a settlement for my daughter. I am now trying to take that money out of the market and put it into a Guardianship bank account. But my broker is not allowing me to take the money out - they are requiring that I provide a Letter of Guardianship or a court order appointing me as guardian, but I never received anything like that. I thought the check itself that says [my name] guardian under title 13 of the estates and trusts article, annotated code of Maryland for [my daughter's name] was, in itself, the appointment of me as guardian. But my broker isn't accepting that and is insisting I show them some other document.
Please help, at this point it sounds like they're holding my daughter's money hostage.
A: You need to get the court's permission to withdraw money from a Title 13 trust account. You need to apply to the circuit court of the county where you, and show cause and standing, for the withdrawal.
If the tort settlement was $5,000 or less, then it was legal to simply write you that check as you described, and the account where the check was deposited should have been set up from the get-go as a trustee account for your child and naming you as trustee/guardian. There would be no other document or court order required. here is the relevand portion of the Estates and Trust Code:
§ 13-403. Appointment of trustee or guardian for minor.
(a) Payment by check to trustee - In general.-
Unless a court appoints a guardian of the property of a minor under subsection (c) of this section, if a minor or any other person in whose name a claim in tort is made or judgment in tort obtained on behalf of a minor recovers a net sum of $5,000 or more, the person responsible for the payment of the money shall make payment by check made to the order of " ...................., trustee under Title 13 of the Estates and Trusts Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, for ...................., minor."
(b) Payment by check to trustee - No other act necessary.- No other act is necessary to constitute the person named a trustee.
The brokerage where the account was established should have a copy of that check. Sometimes you need to escalate the issue above the broker's head or involve the legal counsel's office of the brokerage, and cite to the code, because not everyone is familiar with the law in Maryland.
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