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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My husbands daughter came into money when she turned 18, which

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My husbands' daughter came into money when she turned 18, which her late mother left to her to be used for her education and investment in her future. I made a death-bed promise to the mother that her daughter would never miss a day of school, and that we would encourage her to go to university as she is a very intelligent girl.
However, she has no common sense whatsoever, and had caused us an untold amount of worry and concern. As a young teen she ran away to meet someone she met on Facebook and the police were called in. She would sneak out of the house on numerous occasions, and eventually we sent her to school to live with her aunt in Sri Lanka- but she pulled the same stuff there too. She has bunked off school roughly eighteen times in the last year or so. We know for a fact that she is involved in the use of so-called "legal" drugs- one of which killed one of her friends recently. Since she came into her money last September she has been spending between £2000 and £4000 PER MONTH on online gaming, takeaway food, probably drugs, and funding her boyfriends' lifestyle. I suspect she paid his rent this month. At this rate she will be broke in a year or two.
My husband is beside himself as he doesn't know what to do, or if there is anything he can do about this. She has moved out to be nearer her college, so she is no longer under our roof. I remember (this may sound funny) that when Britney Spears went off the rails her parents took conservatorship of her affairs, but I don't know if anything like that exists in UK law. Truthfully her mother did her and her brother no favours by leaving them lump sums at such an immature stage of their lives, and it would have been better if it had been doled out over time. Is there ANYTHING we can do?
Kind Regards, XXXXX XXXXX Jones.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

may I clarify from what you say, that the money left to your husbands daughter by her mother was not left in trust that was simply left to her absolutely?

Customer:

She received a lump sum of £75,000 directly to her bank account

Joshua :

thank you. It is not possible for a child to legally own property until they are 18 years of age however once they reach the age of 18 years they can.

Joshua :

If the money was left absolutely without any condition to your husband's daughter, it is not possible to intervene in respect of controlling that money legally. It is of course possible to give advice and encouragement, for example you could encourage her to transfer the money into your your husband's joint control as trustees for you to look after the money until she is older but she is free to refuse

Joshua :

because she is over 18, nor is available any form of parental responsibility aspect where you can exercise parental control

Joshua :

in short, unless she's breaking any laws of a criminal nature, legally she is free to behave as she wishes and is free to spend the money as she wishes free of any external influence.

Joshua :

may be that if she will not bow to any form of influence or advice, you may have to patiently wait until she runs out of money for her to come back into the fold. as you say, unfortunately leaving significant sums of money to relatively young adults can be counter-productive which is why many people choose to impose an older age condition in their wills in respect of gifts to 21 or even 25.

Customer:

But if it can be shown that they are not using the funds for what their mother intended, and are possibly jeopardizing their health and safety- does the concept of conservatorship not exist as it does in the USA?

Joshua :

may I clarify - USA? does this question relate to the USA please?

Customer:

no- we live in the UK

Joshua :

thank you. if the money was given to your husband's daughter absolutely - i.e. not in trust but absolutely to the daughter, one can express a wish that the money is used for certain purposes but this which is not binding. The way in which to control the purpose of the money would have been for her mother to place the money in trust for the daughter specifying an age when she was entitled to it absolutely. Until she reaches that age, the money can only be used for the purposes of education and advancement. however, from what you say, unfortunately the money was given not in trust but simply as an absolute gift with a wish direction as to how the money should be used which is not binding in law. I'm afraid I cannot comment on the position in the USA however US laws do not apply in the UK.

Joshua :

the ideal solution be persuading her that she would do well to consider transferring the money to you and your husband perhaps jointly as trustees to look after the money for her such as is left of it, until she reaches an agreed age. Unfortunately, you have only your persuasive skills to rely on this respect however if she can be convinced to transfer the money in this way, then you can take control of administration of the money for her benefit in the future.

Joshua :

if she cannot be so convinced, regrettably, the law provides that she may do it she wishes with money given to her absolutely in your position is limited to support both now and as and when the money runs out.

Joshua :

is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

No I think that just about covers it. As I suspected- her father will just have to try what you suggested. Thank you anyway.

Joshua :

I'm so sorry is nothing in law that can help further. is your quite correctly identified, the damage was done the moment mother gave her the money other than by way of a trust. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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