If my late husband gave some money to his brother, how do I get it back?

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If my late husband gave some money to his brother, how do I get it back?

My husband had money that he received from a lawsuit; his brother talked him into letting him take care of it for him. My husband died 2 months ago and now I am being thrown out of the house we have lived in for 4 years; the money his brother has he is keeping himself. His brother is a millionaire. Due to medicare fraud he is on disablity but works everyday. Is there anything I can do; I don’t even really want the money I just hate to see him keeping it. We were married over 3 years.

Asked on July 25, 2011 Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, there isn't anything you can do IF the money was gifted to your brother in law; a spouse may gift money under his or her control, and if he or she does, that gift is irrevocable.

However, if it  was just that your brother in law was managing it in some fashion for your late husband, it is not "his" money. Instead, he might have to return it under three possible different theories: first, it's possible he had a fidicuciary duty to your husband (and your husband's estate) and must manage the money honestly and to the best of his reasonable ability for the benefit of your husband and husband's estate and must return it on proper demand; or two, it may have been a loan, which would have to be repaid as per its terms; or three, if it was an investment (e.g. in real estate or a business owned by the brother), he may not have to return it, but you would likely have an ownership interest in, or right to receive income from, whatever the money was invested in. So if the money was not gifted to the brother, you may have grounds  to get the money back, and should speak in detail about your situation with an attorney. Good luck.


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