VIC Mother stole/acquired money I inherited

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Omnisphere, 8 August 2019.

  1. Omnisphere

    Omnisphere Member

    7 August 2019
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    I am not quite sure which area of law this falls under—family, property, criminal, wills, estates or otherwise—so please point me in the right direction if I've posted this in the wrong place.

    I was one of six beneficiaries, in addition to my mother’s five siblings, to my late grandmother's estate. Her will contained a declaration that she had intentionally omitted to make provisions for her daughter—my mother—due to the unacceptable and destructive behaviour that she had caused the family. I am an only child, and was the only grandchild in the will.

    My mother was a single mum, so it was just me and her in our household. Due to her ongoing personal issues between her and her sisters, from a young age she had forbidden me to have any contact whatsoever with any of my aunties, uncles, or cousins on her side of the family.

    Anyway, my grandmother passed away when I was 16, and her will was all finalised and distributed equally amongst the beneficiaries either immediately before or immediately after I had turned 18—I can't recall exactly. My bank account at the time was connected to my mother’s account and she had full control over my bank account and the moment that my share of the estate was deposited into my bank account, she transferred it out of my account and into hers. She had kind of coerced me into thinking that this is what I should be doing because she was entitled to it and if she contested it she would win, or something along those lines which I am now aware is a load of s**t. I didn’t actually give it to her though. She accessed my bank account and made the transfer.

    Fast forward 10 years and we have had a massive falling out and we do not speak. That’s another story. Am I able to get my money back via litigation? If so, which area of law and/or jurisdiction does this fall within?

    I can get evidence of the transaction from the financial institution and I have a copy of the will, after it had been proven in court.

    Thanks in advance for any help. I appreciate it.
  2. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
    LawTap Verified

    27 May 2014
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    This is a problem for you. The statute of limitation for civil action is generally 6 years. I'm unclear whether your circumstances fit any of the exceptions.

    Might be a worth a call to at least find out what rights you do have.

    I note the other issue you face is whether there are any assets/money that can be recovered.
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  3. Perp

    Perp Well-Known Member

    30 June 2015
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    There is a limitations issue, but you may be able to get around it if you can convince the court that you only had the knowledge / ability to know that what happened was wrong / that your mother lied to you, more recently. You would be seeking action in equity - alleging something like that the funds were being held on trust for you - and in an equitable action, the clock only starts running on limitations when you reasonably become aware that you have a cause of action.

    The fact that you only want to do something now that you've had a falling out with your mother - which presumably will come out - may suggest to the court that you did know it was wrong earlier, but were happy to 'go along' with it because you prioritised maintaining the relationship. That is likely to work against you.

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