Covington, LA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Connecticut

Q: Can the probate court have the authority to "claw" back funds improperly distributed prior to probate?

My brother who had power of attorney and signs on my Dad's accounts prior to his death "just so happened" to be the sole beneficiary on both "passbook savings" accounts, checking accounts. He already distributed that money prior to first scheduled probate hearing without my knowledge approx $90,000. I understand once distributed it doesn't show up in the inventory list. My Dad had a will with both of us sharing 50/50. Does the will even enter into this scenario? Do I have to litigate that issue outside probate or can I demand written proof from the probate court or weigh in from the judge as to fairness to investigate that issue? Connecticut law

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Gerald Shea
Gerald Shea
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Westport, CT
  • Licensed in Connecticut

A: It is difficult to get a probate court to exercise jurisdiction over accounts passing by way of beneficiary designation. Such assets are technically "non-probate" assets. A separate action can, however, be brought in Superior Court for undue influence or lack of capacity in transferring assets into the passbook accounts. This requires evidence of improper actions surrounding the actual the transfer. The money is gone and bank contract is implicated. Recovery is thus difficult, absent solid evidence of undue influence with respect to the accounts.

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.