Getting An Annuity or Trust Away from Cust FOB or Trustee

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“I am a 26 year old married doctor with a new baby. My family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, sister) are all having a falling out with my parents. I am included in this war and unfortunately the annuity that my aunt left for me when she died may be stuck in the middle. My mother (who sadly is an alcoholic) has kept her name on the annuity as the “Cust Fbo” (custodian for the benefit of). I now know that this was supposed to be signed over to me when I turned 18. However my parents hid the annuity from me and I would have never found out about it if one of my mother’s friends had not felt that it was wrong to keep it from me. The annuity was set aside for my education, yet I now have $132,000 in student loan debt. My mother will not willingly sign the annuity over to me and I need to know if I can legally pursue this and what would be done?”If the annuity was really left in your name, with your mother only to act as the custodian until you turned eighteen, then that information will be memorialized somewhere in that document. In other words, the document which gives your mother the power will also spell out the limits on her power, namely turning the annuity over to you on your eighteenth birthday.

Question: Depending upon the laws in the state in which you live, your mother probably has a fiduciary duty to you, the annuity beneficiary, and she has probably broken the law in both breaching that duty, and in not following the requirements of the annuity documents in turning it over to you.The key to this all is in the annuity documents. If you have a copy of the documents, you can, if necessary, bring a lawsuit against your mother, although this should not be necessary, as a well-written letter from an attorney explaining exactly how much legal trouble she will be in should you bring such a suit should be sufficient to get her to turn the annuity over to you.

If you don’t have the documents, the best place to start would be with your deceased aunt’s attorney or bank, as they will be the ones most likely to be able to lead you to the institution with which the annuity resides. Or perhaps your mother’s friend has seen the document, and can provide you with that information. Once you have that information you can get copies of the documents and proceed as above. It may even be the case, depending on the wording of the document, that you can simply bypass your mother, present proof of age, and receive the annuity.
Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):
Family Wealth--Keeping It in the Family: How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual, and Financial Assets for Generations