Sometimes people think that it takes a lot of wealth for problems to arise within families over estates. However, what is a lot for any particular family is relative. People who do not have much wealth will fight over far less money than those who do, as is seen in a recent case in New York.
Vanessa Nieves was a minor when her father was shot and killed in a Florida robbery in 2006. A trust was created for Nieves to hold insurance proceeds until she turned 18. However, five years later, Nieves’ mother presented her with some paperwork that Nieves signed.
She now claims her mother told her the paperwork would merely change the terms of the trust. How? To hold the funds until Nieves reached the age of 21, something Nieves agreed to because she wanted the money available for her educational expenses at that time.
Surprise. When Nieves turned 21 and went to withdraw the money, the bank told Nieves that her mother had closed the account and transferred the money into her own personal account. Nieves now claims in court that the paperwork she signed was actually a scam giving the money to her mother.
The New York Post has the story in an article titled “Mom accused of scamming daughter out of $48k trust fund.”
While for many wealthy people $48K would hardly be an amount that would cause them to even consider scamming their own child. However, for the mother of Vanessa Nieves it was more than she makes in a year.
What this case demonstrates is that it does not matter how much money you have. If it seems like a lot to your family, then there is always the possibility they will fight over it after your pass away.
Even if you are not wealthy, you need to plan your estate very carefully with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Please contact our office today at 239-225-7911 to schedule an appointment with Barbara M. Pizzolato if you are interested in protecting your legacy and need to create or update your estate plan. You may also wish to attend one of our free seminars.
Reference: New York Post (January 31, 2015) “Mom accused of scamming daughter out of $48k trust fund.”