Can I sue a relative who stole from my savings account?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue a relative who stole from my savings account?

When I was 8 years old, my father passed away. The job of selling his house went to his sister, and she was supposed to put the money from selling the house into three separate saving accounts, one for both of my siblings and one for me. The house was sold for 33,000, thus $11,000 was supposed to be in each of our accounts. About 4 years ago my sister got our aunt to give her access to her savings account. At the time, our aunt told her we each had $8,000 or $9,000 in our accounts. I am about to turn 19 now and got my aunt to give me access to my account for school purposes. She was very busy so I only got to meet with her very briefly a couple of days ago. She told me she had cashed out my account, and handed me an envelope with just over $5,000 in it and she said it was what was left

Asked on November 27, 2017 under Estate Planning, Montana


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your aunt for conversion which is theft in a civil case.  Your remedy is to seek a constructive trust.  A constructive trust will require your aunt to return the stolen funds to your account.  If the stolen funds have been used by your aunt for acquisitions, the constructive trust can trace the stolen funds to those purchases and those items or their value can be returned to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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