Littleton, CO asked in Probate for Colorado

Q: My daughter’s grandmother left her a bank account and her cousin was in charge of it.

Come to find out cousin wired herself the money from a 1st bank of colorado to New York where she lives. How do I start the process of prosecuting? It was only about $6000 but it was my daughter’s .

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1 Lawyer Answer
Rebecca Pescador
Rebecca Pescador
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Westminster, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: There is not enough information here to be able to provide an answer. I can provide some general information based on some possible scenarios.

The first question is what the cousin's legal status was in regard to "being in charge of" the bank account. Depending on the answer to that, there may not be a legal wrongdoing. If grandmother put the cousin's name on the bank account and verbally told her to give it to your daughter, the cousin is not legally obligated to follow through, even if there is a Will that says to give your daughter the contents of the account. The money legally became hers under the pay on death instructions (or joint ownership with survivorship). The moral issue is not something the court can do anything about.

If the cousin was on the account in a fiduciary capacity, then there is legal recourse to be had. A conversation with law enforcement would be a good place to start. Also, be aware that the legal recourse may have to be pursued in New York, depending on the facts. It's going to depend on the nature of the fiduciary relationship, whether there is a related court matter already open that might be appropriate to address the problem in, and several other facts.

If there is a probate case open on grandmother's and the cousin was a fiduciary (like a personal representative or trustee), then you can file in the probate case to seek to hold the cousin liable there and have the funds returned.

You should find a probate attorney to help you evaluate more of the facts of this case to determine which (if any) of the above options, or any other options, may be available to you.

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