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View Full Version : Lawyers: Can parents block a child from bonds after the child is 18?


kimera
05-10-2005, 09:40 PM
A friend of mine was given about 10k in bonds by her grandfather before he died. The bonds are in my friend's name, but her parents are refusing to give them to her. They say that they only way she can get them is if she sues them for them. Now, IANAL, but if the bonds are in her name and she is over 18, there is no way her parents can prevent her from getting to them, right? She hasn't contacted a lawyer, because her parents told her that the cost of the lawyer would eat up all the bonds. I'm sure there is some low income lawyer out there that would be able to help her at at least get half.

So the bonds are hers and the parents can't prevent her from getting to them, correct?

Thanks for your help!

Qadgop the Mercotan
05-10-2005, 09:50 PM
So the bonds are hers and the parents can't prevent her from getting to them, correct?

Thanks for your help!
While we're waiting for a doper with actual factual knowledge to show up and post, I'll just say that it depends.

My grandfather left me a lot of stuff after his passing when I was still a minor. It was held in trust for me by my parents. They however were under no obligation to release it to me before the age of 25. Something to do with the laws of our state at the time, as I understand. I didn't care, the parents were paying my tuition and rent until I hit 25, so I was content. So I never investigated the particulars.

I believe that wills can spell out that the money be held in trust until the person reaches a certain age, not necessarily 18 or 25. Same for gifts. They can come with strings attached.

Otto
05-10-2005, 09:55 PM
You're asking about a specific real world legal situation and any lawyer offering advice here runs the risk of opening him- or herself to liability if your friend acts upon that advice. Most lawyers are willing to consult with a potential client for free or at a reduced rate. your friend should contact the bar association in her state for a referral to a lawyer in her area who is knowledgable in this area of the law.

IANAL, etc.

Random
05-10-2005, 09:58 PM
I believe that wills can spell out that the money be held in trust until the person reaches a certain age, not necessarily 18 or 25. Same for gifts. They can come with strings attached.

True, but there'd have to be a formal trust set up, and the bonds should, in that instance, be in the trust's name. Possible, of course.

OTOH, I've seen parents flat out refuse to give their kids gifts or bequests from grandparents. In that case, the kid would have every right to sue.

Qadgop the Mercotan
05-10-2005, 10:20 PM
True, but there'd have to be a formal trust set up, and the bonds should, in that instance, be in the trust's name. Possible, of course.

OTOH, I've seen parents flat out refuse to give their kids gifts or bequests from grandparents. In that case, the kid would have every right to sue.
Which is why my answer was "it depends". We've got scanty info about the specifics, given that the situation is happening to a friend of the OP, and not the OP.

Besides, the answer to most questions is "it depends" anyway! :D

John Carter of Mars
05-10-2005, 10:22 PM
So the bonds are hers and the parents can't prevent her from getting to them, correct?

Well, yes they can prevent her from getting to them. They are doing that right now. It appears that they intend to continue to do so until she gets the law involved.

Example: You leave your gold locket in my car and I refuse to give it back. You may tell me that I can't keep your locket, but if I'm willing to ignore the law, I'll keep it until you use the legal system to get it back. (or until you kick my ass, but that's another tactic)

Depending on the terms of Grandpa's will and the laws of the state you are in, it may be a simple matter for a lawyer to get a court order, ordering the parents to turn the bonds over to their rightful owner.

I can't imagine that a lawyer would charge over 10% of the amount recovered to perform this service, unless there are complications. As suggested above, many lawyers offer a free consultation, and that would be a good place for her to start.

IANAL, etc and so forth.

Muffin
05-10-2005, 11:29 PM
. . . lawyer to get a court order . . . I can't imagine that a lawyer would charge over 10% of the amount recovered . . .$1,000 all in to litigate the busting of a trust?

ouryL
05-11-2005, 01:54 AM
A friend of mine was given about 10k in bonds by her grandfather before he died. The bonds are in my friend's name, but her parents are refusing to give them to her. They say that they only way she can get them is if she sues them for them. Now, IANAL, but if the bonds are in her name and she is over 18, there is no way her parents can prevent her from getting to them, right? She hasn't contacted a lawyer, because her parents told her that the cost of the lawyer would eat up all the bonds. I'm sure there is some low income lawyer out there that would be able to help her at at least get half.

So the bonds are hers and the parents can't prevent her from getting to them, correct?

Thanks for your help!

I suppose her parents could give it to her, then kick her out of the house. :eek:

Campion
05-11-2005, 01:56 AM
I'm not your lawyer, or your friend's lawyer, none of you are my client, and this isn't legal advice.

Tell your friend to contact the Orange County Bar Association (http://www.ocbar.org/) (I'm assuming your friend is also in the OC). Click on "Need a Lawyer?" to get the phone number to their lawyer referral service -- details on the website.

The other posters are correct: we have too little information about the situation to evaluate it fairly and effectively. Have your friend call the bar; it will cost $25 to get referrals to three lawyers, each of whom will provide a free consultation. That's certainly less than the $1-5K that the parents are suggesting it will cost for your friend to get actual legal advice about the situation. Good luck.

And if I've gotten the location wrong, sorry; you can google for local bar associations because many of them have similar programs.

kimera
05-11-2005, 03:04 AM
Thanks for your help everyone, she actually lives in Virgina. They are probably going to kick her out of the house soon and I was talking with her to try and figure out options before that happens.

I completely forgot about the 'not legally being an adult until you turn 25' thing which I should know. :smack:

I thought since she is poor she might be able to go to a place that provides free legal advice to low-income individuals, but I am not sure if they have them outside of CA. I've called the ones here before and was told I made too much money, but since she makes nothing, I would be shocked if she didn't qualify.

Sage Rat
05-11-2005, 03:30 AM
I'm not certain how bonds work, so for my own edification: What about a bond makes it where someone can withhold it from you?
That is, why wouldn't you be able to just call up the issuer of the bond, provide proof of identity, and collect?

alphaboi867
05-11-2005, 03:55 AM
Thanks for your help everyone, she actually lives in Virgina. They are probably going to kick her out of the house soon and I was talking with her to try and figure out options before that happens.

I completely forgot about the 'not legally being an adult until you turn 25' thing which I should know. :smack: ...

What state is that! I thought the age of majority 21 in all states until the 70s. Isn't the 25 thing just for car rentals/insurance and college finacial aid?

Tabby_Cat
05-11-2005, 05:52 AM
If the bonds are in her name, how is there a trust? Isn't a trust where the legal owner holds property for a beneficiary? Since she's the legal owner, who's the beneficiary?

:confused:

Bricker
05-11-2005, 06:56 AM
In Virginia, your friend should call (804) 775-0808. That's the Virginia Lawyer referral service of the Virginia State Bar. The operator will ask a few questions about the general problem, and then provide the name of a lawyer in good standing who has some expertise in the area of law you require. You are entitled to a 30 minute consultation with that lawyer for $35.

I, of course, am not your lawyer or your friend's lawyer, and neither of you are my clients, and the above is not legal advice. It is, however, good practical advice.

anson2995
05-11-2005, 08:40 AM
I'm not certain how bonds work, so for my own edification: What about a bond makes it where someone can withhold it from you?
That is, why wouldn't you be able to just call up the issuer of the bond, provide proof of identity, and collect?


US Savings Bonds are printed with the bearer's name and social security number, and only that person can cash them in. If the Bonds are in both her name and the parents (which is common practice when bonds are issued to children) then the parents can redeem the bonds themselves.

According to the treasury department (http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/sav/sbfaqcs2.htm), you can get bonsd replaced if they are lost or stolen.

Campion
05-11-2005, 09:24 AM
Thanks for your help everyone, she actually lives in Virgina. They are probably going to kick her out of the house soon and I was talking with her to try and figure out options before that happens.

I completely forgot about the 'not legally being an adult until you turn 25' thing which I should know. :smack:

I thought since she is poor she might be able to go to a place that provides free legal advice to low-income individuals, but I am not sure if they have them outside of CA. I've called the ones here before and was told I made too much money, but since she makes nothing, I would be shocked if she didn't qualify.
Take Bricker's non-legal, yet very practical, advice and pass the VA Bar number on to your friend. She ought to be able to find a lawyer who will help her get the bonds for a percentage of the amount; even though she won't have the whole $10K when she's done, she'll have more than she has now ($0) as well as the satisfaction of proving her parents wrong. Which, as we all know, is priceless.

By the way, this is the first time I've heard anything about not being an adult till 25. I think what the previous poster was saying is that a trust can be set up such that the terms of the trust are that the money will not be released until the beneficiary is 25. In this situation, your friend ought to talk to a lawyer who can probe the facts surrounding how the bonds were gifted to her, and whether there were any conditions with the gift.

John Carter of Mars
05-11-2005, 09:44 AM
$1,000 all in to litigate the busting of a trust?

The OP did not mention a trust. She did say that the bonds are in her friend's name. My WAG is that the parents have put those bonds in a safety-deposit box or someplace similar and are refusing to hand them to their daughter.

1k or less should get a simple court order instructing the parents to surrender the bonds to their daughter, whose name is on the bonds, and who is thus their lawful owner.


Also, I did say: "if there are no complications".

SnakesCatLady
05-11-2005, 09:46 AM
Just being nosy, but why are her parents being such asshats? Is it possible that they have already spent the money?

JerH
05-11-2005, 11:32 AM
Or just file a police report. Basically the bonds were stolen from her, so there's a crime there.

Other than that, I'd go to the web site that anson2995 referenced and get them replaced.

Dag Otto
05-11-2005, 11:37 AM
According to the treasury department (http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/sav/sbfaqcs2.htm), you can get bonsd replaced if they are lost or stolen.

I'd go this route and declare the bonds as stolen. The Treasury should be able to trace the bonds if they have the social security number. It won't be fast, but it won't cost anything either.

Along the same lines, why not treat the bonds as stolen and file a police report?

And finally, if the friend does have to sue to recover her bonds, can the parents be liable for her legal costs?

Spoke
05-11-2005, 12:18 PM
A couple of things are raising my antennae in this scenario. Why is your friend being kicked out of the house? Were her parents refusing to give her the bonds even before she was told she would be kicked out? Are her parents trying to protect your friend from her own bad spending habits? Does your friend have any substance abuse problems? Are the parents refusing to give her the bonds ever, Or just until some later date?

Speaking as a former spendthrift 18-year-old, I'm thinking that if the parents are just trying to hang onto the bonds until your friend has more financial maturity, they may be doing her a favor. (Extra-legal or not.)

kimera
05-11-2005, 01:03 PM
A couple of things are raising my antennae in this scenario. Why is your friend being kicked out of the house? Were her parents refusing to give her the bonds even before she was told she would be kicked out? Are her parents trying to protect your friend from her own bad spending habits? Does your friend have any substance abuse problems? Are the parents refusing to give her the bonds ever, Or just until some later date?

Making a complicated situation even more complicated, she's transsexual and her parents are trying to make her life as difficult as possible for her because of it. That's also why it's hard for her to find a job and do a bunch of other 'normal' activities. They refuse to give her the bonds unless she decides to act like a 'normal man' again.

In both Ohio and California, you can't do a bunch of stuff until you pass the age of 25. It's very frustrating to me, I think that since I am legally adult, I should be able to do anything that any other adult can do. I'm especially peeved about the financial aid business.

Campion
05-11-2005, 01:37 PM
Making a complicated situation even more complicated, she's transsexual and her parents are trying to make her life as difficult as possible for her because of it. That's also why it's hard for her to find a job and do a bunch of other 'normal' activities. They refuse to give her the bonds unless she decides to act like a 'normal man' again.Then my advice, which is common sense rather than legal advice (which I would not give you, since I am not your lawyer), is that your friend ought to call the bar and get a lawyer. Calling the police, as has been suggested, has about a 2% chance of being helpful, as the police are likely to dismiss this as a civil issue (a family dispute) about which they can do nothing. Adding in gender issues makes it more likely that the police will view this as a family dispute. A lawyer, on the other hand, will work for your friend to help resolve this situation. Best of luck to your friend.

In both Ohio and California, you can't do a bunch of stuff until you pass the age of 25. It's very frustrating to me, I think that since I am legally adult, I should be able to do anything that any other adult can do. I'm especially peeved about the financial aid business.I suspect that most of what peeves you about the "under 25" issue isn't something the law imposes but something that organizations (like car rental places or colleges) do. I hear you on the financial aid issue. Although I had been supporting myself since I was 20, when I applied to law school, the schools all required that my parents contribute to my education (even though they hadn't contributed anything really for six years). Needless to say, without any of the "good" financial aid, I came out of school significantly in debt. (It was worth it, though.)

Hang in there.

Dag Otto
05-11-2005, 03:06 PM
Calling the police, as has been suggested, has about a 2% chance of being helpful, as the police are likely to dismiss this as a civil issue (a family dispute) about which they can do nothing.

Sure they can. They can interview the parents and try to determine if the parents have the bonds or not. If the parents claim they don't have them, then she can go ahead and report them as missing or stolen to the Treasury. If they admit that they do have them but won't turn them over, then it's a simple matter of stolen property recovery. The cops may not want to go that far, but they will file the police report. The district attorney will follow up on it if the police report is filed.

It puts the parents in a tough spot. If they do have the bonds and say they don't, they are lying to the police. If they do have the bonds and simply refuse to hand them over, they are admitting to theft. Neither option helps them. The amount in question almost certainly makes this a felony.

constantine
05-12-2005, 12:53 AM
Your friend needs to contact an attorney licensed in her jurisdiction.

Nobody on this board knows enough about the situation to be able to offer sensible advice OTHER THAN TO CONTACT AN ATTORNEY.

Muffin
05-12-2005, 01:47 AM
Threads like this one make me cringe.

Mama Zappa
05-12-2005, 02:52 PM
(snip)

In both Ohio and California, you can't do a bunch of stuff until you pass the age of 25. It's very frustrating to me, I think that since I am legally adult, I should be able to do anything that any other adult can do. I'm especially peeved about the financial aid business.

Age 25? really? I mean, I know there are some public positions you can't hold until you're a certain age (like Prez - can't be POTUS until you're 35) but I thought 21 year olds could do pretty much anything aside from that sort of thing.

With stock given to children, the stuff has to be held by an adult "as custodian for" the child; depending on state law, the child can have full access to the account at either age 18 or 21. Which is one reason to *not* use that as a gifting tool unless you're OK with the child having access to the funds at a young age. Assuming bonds work the same, and your friend is 21 or older, she should certainly have full legal access to the funds.

If they were left in trust - well, trust terms can be pretty much anything (we set up a special-needs trust for my son, which states he can have free access to the money once he's proven he can be self-supporting - regardless of his age). Is your friend certain that the bonds are outside of any kind of trust?

Your friend's parents are on very shaky legal ground by withholding the bonds. They have every *legal* right to kick her out of the house (as shitty as that is from a parenting standpoint) but no legal right to hold those bonds.

spingears
05-12-2005, 10:01 PM
A friend of mine was given about 10k in bonds by her grandfather before he died. The bonds are in my friend's name, but her parents are refusing to give them to her. So she is 'over' 18 and are you going to help her 'invest' the proceeds from the sale of the bonds?

So the bonds are hers and the parents can't prevent her from getting to them, correct?Did her grandfather make an agreement with her parents?
I would expect her parents' primary interest is to prevent her from making immature/irrational decision(s) with regard to the 10K. I wouldn't get involved in any way.

Getting involved in others' money matters is like being the third party in a romantic triangle. Someone is going to get hurt, and it is usually the third party!

constantine
05-12-2005, 11:44 PM
Your friend's parents are on very shaky legal ground by withholding the bonds. They have every *legal* right to kick her out of the house (as shitty as that is from a parenting standpoint) but no legal right to hold those bonds.
With all due respect, I have no idea how you could possibly venture this kind of categorical opinion based on the statements made in this thread.

But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps you are familiar with the relevant statutes and caselaw in the jurisdiction. Perhaps you have already determined which states laws will govern the issue based on the relevant choice of law principles in the jurisdiction.

Perhaps you already know what kinds of bonds these are. Perhaps you have already determined whether there are trust documents concerning these bonds, and you have already reviewed these trust documents, as well as any relevant court orders concerning these trust documents.

Perhaps you already have reviewed the deceased grandfather's will and any relevant probate court orders regarding the will.

Perhaps you have already spoken with the parents attorney to see whether there are any other issues here that would bear on the question.

If so, then I will defer to your opinion on the rights of the various individuals in this situation. But even so I would wonder why you are giving legal advice in a public forum.

Offering a legal opinion regarding this situation is like offering an opinion on how someone should self treat a sharp pain in their abdomen: "My cousin had a fever like that and pain in his side, and it turned out to be his appendix. You better remove it but quick. What you need to do is sterilize a knife and make a small incision right next to your rib cage..."

Frank
05-12-2005, 11:56 PM
Offering a legal opinion regarding this situation is like offering an opinion on how someone should self treat a sharp pain in their abdomen: "My cousin had a fever like that and pain in his side, and it turned out to be his appendix. You better remove it but quick. What you need to do is sterilize a knife and make a small incision right next to your rib cage..."
See, that's what's wrong with medical advice! It's more like " a little more than 2/3 of the way from your navel to the point of your hip, make an incision following the angle of the hip bone." Sigh. I agree with the sterilization part though.

Muffin
05-12-2005, 11:57 PM
It would be fun to have a thread discussing the various laws in various jurisdictions concerning trust busting for young adults, but that is a far cry from offering specific advice to a specific person based on an incomplete set of facts.

In as much as the lawyers in the thread are saying "go speak with a lawyer", and no lawyer is giving specific advice beyond this, folks who are not lawyers should think long and hard before putting in their two cents.

Frank
05-13-2005, 12:01 AM
In as much as the lawyers in the thread are saying "go speak with a lawyer", and no lawyer is giving specific advice beyond this, folks who are not lawyers should think long and hard before putting in their two cents.
I'm not a doctor and I just gave medical advice based on where my appendectomy scar resides. Is that OK?

Of course, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

kimera
05-13-2005, 03:52 AM
I just posted here because I didn't see how her parents could possibly block her and I thought that a lawyer would win the case for sure. However, I wanted to be sure before I gave her any advice because if her parents know she is thinking of suing them for the bonds, they will kick her out for sure. I will let her know to proceed cautiously.

Thank you for your answers, you've been a big help!