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    Former MSE Lee
    Real Life MMD: Do I have a right to my niece's money back?
    • #1
    • 17th Feb 11, 1:08 PM
    Real Life MMD: Do I have a right to my niece's money back? 17th Feb 11 at 1:08 PM
    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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    Last edited by Former MSE Wendy; 22-02-2011 at 6:29 PM.
Page 1
    • boots_babe
    • By boots_babe 22nd Feb 11, 9:24 PM
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    • #2
    • 22nd Feb 11, 9:24 PM
    • #2
    • 22nd Feb 11, 9:24 PM
    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
    • #3
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:27 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:27 PM
    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
    • By scotsbob 22nd Feb 11, 10:47 PM
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    • #4
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:47 PM
    • #4
    • 22nd Feb 11, 10:47 PM
    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
    • #5
    • 22nd Feb 11, 11:08 PM
    • #5
    • 22nd Feb 11, 11:08 PM
    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
    • By darkwarrior 23rd Feb 11, 12:00 AM
    • 183 Posts
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    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 11, 12:00 AM
    • #6
    • 23rd Feb 11, 12:00 AM
    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
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 11, 12:12 AM
    • #7
    • 23rd Feb 11, 12:12 AM
    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.
    Last edited by Indigomoon; 23-02-2011 at 12:15 AM.
    • darkwarrior
    • By darkwarrior 23rd Feb 11, 3:09 AM
    • 183 Posts
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    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 11, 3:09 AM
    • #8
    • 23rd Feb 11, 3:09 AM
    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
    • By dirtmother 23rd Feb 11, 6:56 AM
    • 114 Posts
    • 85 Thanks
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 11, 6:56 AM
    • #9
    • 23rd Feb 11, 6:56 AM
    Erm, I am not getting why money given to the niece should be paid back to the giver and not the niece?
    • addyann
    • By addyann 23rd Feb 11, 7:29 AM
    • 38 Posts
    • 28 Thanks
    get niece's money back
    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.
    • gaily
    • By gaily 23rd Feb 11, 8:18 AM
    • 188 Posts
    • 157 Thanks
    Wow - that's low.

    If the account was opened by you in your name, for your niece - but you have not yet given her the money, then it's still yours. If you can check the balance, it sounds like you retain some control on the account.

    Maybe it's your fault for giving the account details to the parents - surely they can make their own mind up to save for their kids if they want to. If you put it in her name - it's kind of tough, but as the account opener, the authority should have come to you, not to the parents about withdrawal.

    I'd have thought (and I'm not being niave here, as it seems to be easy nowadays to commit fraud) but if you are the holder, then they shouldn't have been able to see the balance and have defrauded the bank, by taking out money in either your or their daughter's name.

    I'd be more concerend as to how the family got the money. I've got ISA's set up for my kids, but they are in my name, so that if my kids are less responsible than i like at 18, then i can choose to wait until there is a need for it, rather than a 'p**s it up the wall' attitude when they turn 18!! I'm not giving any account numbers to anyone as they can make their own savings for my kids if they choose.

    I get given clients bank details on a daily basis sorting out direct debits etc, but wouldn't have the urge or any inkling of how to go about taking money from an account. I know I'm harping on about it but it beggers belief that the bank let them....

    Unless the account was in the niece's name with the parents as guarentors - and then you've just been daft! Sorry, can't provide a defence for you on that one.
    Last edited by gaily; 23-02-2011 at 8:21 AM.
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  • birkee
    The money was given freely, and is no longer anything to do with the giver......the money belongs to her Niece......when she's 18.

    However! The thought of adults smashing open their Daughters 'piggy bank' for cash, makes them VERY desperate; or not very nice people at all. Did the money help to fend off a Baliff? A bit more understandable perhaps, BUT, every penny removed, should be paid back into the account with interest.

    I have to ask! How come the giver was able to check the account to find it empty? Has it been used as a control mechanism for another family member?
    I don't wish to make assumptions, or determine motivations, but checking someone elses account? How is this possible?

    Perhaps I misunderstand, and the giver is the owner of the account on behalf of her Niece, so how were the family able to withdraw cash from it? If someone has MY account details, withdrawing cash from it is illegal. Did the giver allow multiple person access to her Nieces account?
    This setup has left me very befuddled!
    • purpleweasel
    • By purpleweasel 23rd Feb 11, 8:31 AM
    • 115 Posts
    • 202 Thanks
    If i was you i would feel hurt that they didn't at least consult you first, knowing that you were likely to notice. Do they really not care about family connections? Something like this can cause a permanent rift in a family.

    If you get the money back &/or still want to save for your neice's future, you could always try premium bonds. I don't think you can buy them yourself for a neice but grandparents can buy for their grandkids so you could get your parents to do it for you. They are non-transferrable and could not be cashed in by anyone else. Not sure how any winnings would be paid, but if you have the same kind of luck as me you won't have to worry about that!
    • JSS
    • By JSS 23rd Feb 11, 8:33 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 45 Thanks
    Tell your brother/sister that you want the money back to put into another savings account for your niece - one they CAN'T get at - otherwise you'll give the girl a card for her 18th with a note to explain that her parents stole her birthday money.

    I wonder, however, how you didn't notice that your own brother/sister was in such financial trouble. You should also tell them that if they get into that sort of trouble again, they should come to YOU for help.
    • leann1
    • By leann1 23rd Feb 11, 9:09 AM
    • 5 Posts
    • 13 Thanks
    You clearly care a lot about your niece so need to tread carefully, I beleive that relationships are much more important than money.

    If you carefully approach your brother/sister and explain that you understand why they've used the money but now that they're in a better financial position what's the best way to put the money back into the account, draw up some kind of repayment.

    Also advise them that you wish they'd come to you in the first place as you could've helped them out.

    That way you're being reasonable and hopefully don't have to fall out with them risking not seeing your niece!
    • penarthian
    • By penarthian 23rd Feb 11, 9:12 AM
    • 56 Posts
    • 79 Thanks
    The deed has been done and it is obvious that you should have been more aware of the implications when you opened the account. The advice we were given when choosing childrens' savings was to imagine that we had saved for 18 years and then the child we had saved for, thinking it would be a deposit on a house or a car, blew the lot on a party or holiday with their friends. HOW WOULD WE FEEL. If that did not figure in our plans keep the money in your name and then YOU can decide WHEN the money should be gifted it would not be the child, or in this case the parents choice of timing. I presume it was your brother or sister that cleared the account out and you must have had a good relationship with them to initiate the savings plan. So why do you not investigate another savings plan and invite the parents to top it up with all or some of the money they 'borrowed'. After all it will be their child that will benefit in the future.
  • zigzigzag
    This is theft, pure and simple. You gave the money to the niece, and they stole it. You didn't give the money to them, it wasn't there for them to take. In hindsight it would have been preferable to make restrictions on the account, but of course you never thought you'd need to protect your niece's money from her own parents! I think it's shocking that your brother/sister would treat you, and treat their daughter, with such disrespect. In an ideal world, they should pay back into a new account the amount that they took out. But when it comes to family dynamics, things can be far from ideal. (My parents did the same thing with money that was given to my brothers and me when we were kids - they never replaced the money. It still really annoys me, as they've got lots of money now.)
    I agree with the poster above who says you should stop saving your hard earned money for this greedy family. If you want to benefit your niece, do it in a way that can't be exploited or touched by her greedy parents.
    And it's very easy not to notice that people are in financial trouble - people don't generally publicise that sort of thing. Also, they were able to get out of it quite easily/quickly by stealing your niece's money.
  • antonia1
    This totally depends on how skint the parents were when they took their daughters money. If they had run out of fag money or wanted a nice bottle of wine then thats pretty bad. If they had no money to buy food then taking it was probably best for the child.

    Either way, though, it is nothing to do with the original giver of the money. It is their daughter's money they took, as once you have given a gift it is no longer yours.
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    • pennypinchUK
    • By pennypinchUK 23rd Feb 11, 10:00 AM
    • 382 Posts
    • 732 Thanks
    You've every right to be incensed - the parents have clearly acted against your intentions and there's no excuse for their actions. At the very least, they should have approached you and asked if they could borrow the money from the account and pay it back later. Without a doubt, I would ask for the money back, but you have little chance of forcing them to repay it. Families have been divided for much less.
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