Englishtown, NJ asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for New Jersey

Q: Question about family estate.

When I was 13 or so, my grandmother passed away. For perspective, I am 21 now. She left the family with an estate worth X amount. Seeing as though I was only 13, I was never contacted about anything regarding the estate and never knew anything about it. That being said, the estate took many years to finish, and it is now just done being paid out due to many complications. For whatever reason, the money must be held until I am 25 and then I can receive it. The estate was divided into lets say 6 people and each person was set to receive y amount. During all 8 years, the amount that was set aside, has been gaining no interest yearly. Is it not the responsibility of the estate to establish a guardian or a financial advisor to ensure the money that I have to wait nearly 12 years for gains some sort of interest to stay in line with the market? Is that not something that should have been established years ago since I was a minor and didn't have say? I feel like I lost out on so much.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
  • Short Hills, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: The short answer is that the estate documents should have referenced the appointment of someone on your behalf since you were a minor and entitled to receipt of benefits under the estate plan. I dont know what complications took place causing an 8-year delay in winding up the estate but that may have been a factor in the absence of growth on the monies due you. I presume that the other beneficiaries are family members and presumably, the person in charge of the estate distribution also a family member, but if you feel that you were shortchanged or treated unfairly, my suggestion is that you schedule a consultation with a lawyer experienced in estate claims to review the materials (trust documents, will, etc) to see if you have a claim. It may be that things were not handled correctly, but the real issue will be whether the amount in dispute justifies the expenditure of money to pursue it.

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