What to do about a guardian unlawfully withholding an inheritance?

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What to do about a guardian unlawfully withholding an inheritance?

My mother-in-law passed away 6 years ago and left my 3 children an inheritance to be handled by her daughter, as the minors guardian. My understanding is that when they turn 18 the inheritance should be turned over to them; is that correct? Their aunt has not been forthright with any information. The amount left to them is unknown and 2 of my children are well into their 20′ s now and the aunt is still not giving any answers to them. She refuses to speak to my husband and I regarding the issue and I fear she is holding the inheritance hostage due to ill feelings. What are my Children’s rights?

Asked on May 23, 2011 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

May I ask:  do you mean guardian here?  Did the court appoint your sister in law as the legal guardian of your children?  Guardianship of a child terminates at the child's turning 18 which is considered majority.  So there is no guardianship of the older children.  If she was the fiduciary of the estate and she is no acting in the best interest of the benficiares, bring an action against her.  Quite simply, you have to sue her.I would speak with an attorneyon the matter.  Have him or her look in to the matter and see what the court did and then write her a letter requesting an accounting as to the funds and demanding distribution.  But remember: she is still family and it was her Mother.  So tread as lightly as you can.  Good luck to you.


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