Dad wants $ back, daughter says no

In this week's 'Ask the law­yer', colum­nist Stew­art J. Ber­ger handles a fam­ily dis­pute.

Dear Ask the Law­yer:

I’m an idi­ot!

I don’t have a lot of money. I trus­ted my daugh­ter. I gave her my life sav­ings of $30,000 to hold for me. I was afraid I was go­ing to have to go in­to a nurs­ing home, and I did not want the state to take all my money.

Well, I de­cided I didn’t have to go in­to a nurs­ing home, so I want my $30,000 back. My daugh­ter re­fuses to give it to me. I went to an at­tor­ney who asked me if there was any pa­per trail of the $30,000. I trus­ted my daugh­ter. Noth­ing was in writ­ing.

Can you help me?


Dear Ike:

You have sev­er­al prob­lems. First, since your daugh­ter will not re­turn your money will­ingly, you have to file a law­suit.

The law­suit will be a ques­tion of “he said, she said.”

Did you give her the $30,000 by check or by cash? If you gave her the $30,000 in cash with no re­ceipt, then your chances of win­ning the law­suit, which were not very good any­way, are now even worse.

If there is some pa­per doc­u­ment­a­tion like a check, then you still have an­oth­er prob­lem. It can be ar­gued that you gave her the $30,000 so you would qual­i­fy for Medi­caid when you entered the nurs­ing home. You were es­sen­tially hid­ing your money from the state.

Even if the court be­lieves you, you may not re­ceive a judg­ment in your fa­vor. It could be ar­gued that your pur­pose in trans­fer­ring your money to your daugh­ter was to com­mit fraud, and the court may not come to your aid.

You have a weak case. ••

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