How to get life insurance money from grandmother that she deposited into the bank when I was a minor after my parent’s died?

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How to get life insurance money from grandmother that she deposited into the bank when I was a minor after my parent’s died?

My parents died when I was 9 years old. My grandmother took the insurance money and put it in a bank. It was not issued through the court. I am now 18 and need the money to help pay bills and a baby that is on the way. My grandmother says that she will not give it to me until I am 21. However, I have done some research and found out that I can have it now. I don’t have money to pay for lawyers or court bills. What do you suggest?

Asked on June 1, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you've asked for your money and she says "no", then you don't have a whole lot of options other than a lawsuit.  However, just because there is a legal issue does not mean that a lawsuit must be filed.  Many lawyers will offer free or inexpensive consultations.  Take all of your research and paperwork to a couple of different attorneys (get at least two opinions).  Talk to them about options short of filing a lawsuit.  One option is to hire the one you are most confortable with to just write a demand letter setting out to your grandmother why she cannot retain the funds.  Often a letter from an attorney will do the trick.  Another option is to find out if your local jurisdiction offers mediation services.  For example, in Lubbock, the courts frequently use a "Dispute Resolution Center," to host mediations.  Even though many of the mediations are court sponsored, anyone in the public can utilize their services to resolve disputes without filing a lawsuit.  If neither option works or is available in your area, then you may want to seek an attorney to help your case on a contingent basis.  Meaning, that they help you get the money, but you have to hand over a share of the proceeds if he/she is successful.  This prevents you from having to put any money up front.  You can also contact legal aid or legal service organizations that provide free or reduced expense legal services.  Smaller counties may or may not have a legal service group, but instead have legal clinics once a month where members of the local bar show up to give free or reduced price legal services.  The courts or clerks at the courthouse will usually have information on these clincs or services. 


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