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freya4

?? Estate of Young Grandchild

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We are grandparents and our grandchild was killed as a result of car accident in which one parent was the driver. The other parent though a hearing, uncontested by divorced spouse, was placed in charge of our elementary age grandchild's estate. The case will go to probate and it looks as if 1/2 will go to one parent and the other 1/2 to the other parent after all debts are cleared. ( The other parent -- the driver --- has now come forth to claim 1/2 of monies from estate).

Our intention is to halt frivolous spending and ensure responsibility on the part of the driver parent towards remaining sibling. One parent intends to use monies from the judgement to provide for remaining sibling's future needs.

The questions: What can we do to ensure the other parent contributes to the remaining sibling? The only idea we've come up with is some trust fund, but we don't know if as grandparents we can do so in probate.

We don't know enough about our court system in RI ….Would we need to file "pain & suffering" in some other court? On the accident report, the parent who was the driver ( 1 car accident) was listed as criminally negligent, but not formally charged … Do we have to go as far as to file a civil suit? Again, our intention is provision for remaining grandchild, not to punish other parent.

Please Help! We're completely unsure of which court, which type of lawyer and our rights. Thanks in advance of any and all replies.

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I'm sorry, but you have no legal standing here.

Unless murder was involved, the parent is an heir, and it isn't up to you or anyone else to dictate what that person does with their share of the child's estate (that said, what is there to inherit?).

"What can we do to ensure the other parent contributes to the remaining sibling?"

Nothing. If that parent isn't the custodial parent, however, of course the custodial parent would ensure that this inheritance you mention be taken into account when it comes to the support of the surviving sibling.

"Would we need to file "pain & suffering" in some other court?"

Sorry?

"Do we have to go as far as to file a civil suit?"

It's not clear why you believe you're in a position to/have standing to successfully pursue any civil action.

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Fallen,

Thanks for your reply. Can you point out a source(s) for this information?

I've been searching the RI laws and although I've gathered much, I've still been unable to get anything definitive.

Freya4

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Did you provide the grandchild's estate? Where do the funds for this estate originate from?

Try these resources to help to determine your best course of action:

You may want to check the estate planning laws of Rhode Island and consult with local counsel. Good luck.

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Sara

Thank you for your questions about where the monies are coming from as it helped me to clarify my own thought process. The money is mostly from both parents' insurance.

We're hoping to get some ideas without saying too much here. Please, feel free to toss out any thoughts/knowledge you have. (Or anyone else reading. : > ) It isn't something that we are able to talk to family/friends about .... strong emotions when a child is involved! Below is a portion of thoughts from notes I've made.

> civil : wrongful death, emotional distress, negligence, may be third party negligence also.

> probate: wrongful death (pain, suffering) is there some type of "survivorship action"or something like it here?

As stated in my original post, we do not want to pursue this for "punishment". Enough is enough for all involved .... I guess the best way to put this is: We do want accountability. There must be Some Way for this tragedy to yield a positive in the life of the remaining sibling.

Freya4

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You don't have legal standing to do anything. When a child dies, it is the parents who are the next of kin entitled to bring a cause of action against the wrongdoer. Money from the minor child's estate goes equally to both parents unless the non-accident involved parent wants to litigate the issue to ask the court to deny the at-fault parent from obtaining any of the estate.

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