Real Life MMD: Do I have a right to my niece's money back?

Former_MSE_Lee Posts: 343 Forumite
edited 22 February 2011 at 7:29PM in MoneySaving polls
Do I have a right to my niece's money back?

I opened an account for a niece when she was born and have been paying into it ever since intending her to have the money when she's 18. I gave her parents the account details so they could add to it. I've just checked and found the account's empty.

I asked and they were having financial difficulties so they used it but now things are better and they've been splashing the cash around. Should I make them pay me the money back?
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  • boots_babe
    boots_babe Posts: 3,237 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    Not quite sure how they managed to clear out the account when you only gave them the account details? Unless you also handed over the card for the account too?

    In which case that was a bad move but I guess too late now. The money was given for their child and not for them, so I do believe they should repay it. Not to you though, they should repay it into their child's account.
  • Sapph
    It sounds to me like they are dishonest & do not deserve someone to be as considerate towards their daughter's future financial welbeing as you have been. If all you gave them was the account number & sort code then they have fraudulently taken money that does not belong to them, so I would be taking the matter up with the bank in question.

    If however you gave them the book & had them as signatory then you should have been slightly more savvy in the first place. Most importantly why did you not put the money in an account that would gain a better rate of interest? We all know that there are any number of online/branch based accounts that are intended for long term saving, in particular trust funds which do not allow anyone other than the intended to access the money.

    Sounds like you should stop saving any of your hard earned pennies for this greedy family & think about wiser investment options you choose in future, whoever the money is for.
  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Posts: 4,632 Forumite
    If the family were in financial difficulties then that would affect your niece, the money would have benefited her as part of the family.

    Furthermore, something given away is no longer yours to control. Lesson learned for the future perhaps.
  • tommy060289
    how can you say it benefitted the niece. They may have been in difficultly due to something self inflicted such as alcoholism or gambling (not saying they are bad people and were) but the fact remains that this money was saved to help your niece out for some help she would need when she became an adult. Not issues of her parents.

    This behaviour to me is disgusting, dishonest and the lowest of the low. If you can, I would take this up with the bank and threaten to take it up with the police if they do not return the cash ASAP. who cares if they means hardship for them, they shouldn't have done it in the first place and it's doubly-worse if they have been flashing the cash of late.

    I dont know how legal (or not) what they have done is as you say they had some details but were they down as controller of the account. If so it is probably too late was simply a bad move on your part. As said, should probably kept it in a savings account yourself and then handed it over to her from you. But then hind sight is a wonderful.

    Sorry if I sound harsh but selfish behaviour like this really does annoy me when other people take advantage of other peoples hard work and generosity and then are too selfish to repay!
  • darkwarrior
    Oh my dear god. They stole their childs money and basically slapped you in the face. Damn right you're entitled to that money back.
  • Indigomoon_2
    Indigomoon_2 Posts: 160 Forumite
    edited 23 February 2011 at 1:15AM
    Well, they obviously do not deserve your kindness and generosity, as they didn't even think it decent to first inform you before they drained the account. Also, i don't think it's something you've already given so you can't take back - as it was not a present for your niece's so-and-so birthday, but clearly something you intended to give her in the future and for quite a different use, you have every right to control the money before she turns 18.
    It's even worse as this is obviously being done to you by one of your siblings, doesn't matter if you gave them all the details, cards, books, etc. they cannot treat you like that.
    Yes, you should ask for the money back.
  • darkwarrior
    In this case as well, I think the amount matters.

    Of course they've ripped you off but the higher the amount, the greater the contempt I'd say they have for your generosity. Are we talking hundreds or thousands of pounds here? If its thousands'definitely asks for it back.
  • dirtmother
    Erm, I am not getting why money given to the niece should be paid back to the giver and not the niece?
  • addyann
    addyann Posts: 43 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Yes you do. Or rather your niece does. And the interest it would have gained
  • emphatiC_hanK
    This appears to be fraud - pure and simple.

    Whether you would be able, or have the desire, to take the matter any further is a matter for serious consideration, but there can be no excuse for parents to act so irresponsibly.
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