Our parent’s set up an AB trust in California. My sister, brother, and I are the equal beneficiaries and the successor trustees in that order. In 2004 our dad passed away and our mother was confined to bed with 24 hour in-home care until her death in 2009. Since she was unable to manage the trusts finances my brother was given POA in 2005 over her bank accounts to pay bills etc. Between 2005 and 2009 he and my sister embezzled over $45,000 from those accounts. I discovered evidence of the theft in Aug. 2010 when I found my brother’s accounting files on the family computer.
My sister is now trustee. She and my brother refuse to even discuss the possibility that money was stolen. Obviously she’s not going to bring charges against my brother for Elder Financial Abuse because she was involved in the crime.
I understand that WIC Section 15657.3(d)(2) gives me standing as an “interested person” to bring a claim against our mother’s representative for Elder Financial Abuse when the representative was involved in the abuse.
I also understand the WIC Section 15657.7 provides a four year statute of limitations which begins to run when I discovered the abuse in August 2010.
Am I interpreting these laws correctly?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Suggest you obtain appropriate probate/trust litigation attorney to file a petition to demand an accounting of your brother and sister, as they are the trustees responsible for the management of the assets of your mother's trust, and to sue your sister and brother for embezzlement of trust assets, and for the financial abuse you are alleging to have occurred against your mother.
The statute of limitations does not start running when you claim you discovered the abuse. It starts running when you discovered, or a reasonable person should have discovered the abuse. That's an important caveat, because a court may find that you should have discovered it earlier. Don't hang your hat on your ability to claim that you discovered it at a later date.
I agree that you have standing, and further agree with Mr. Waid.