Could My Inheritance Get Lost in the Mail?

Do you know what it takes to be the executor of an estate? There are several important responsibilities like managing the assets of the deceased and organizing appraisals and sales. All this effort is to ensure that the estate’s beneficiaries get their proper share, but what would you do if part of the inheritance you were managing got lost in the mail?

Inheritance Lost: How UPS Lost Almost $700,000

When a man in Canada passed, he left a sizable amount of money to his children and named his daughter the executor of his estate. The woman had to divide this large sum between herself and her siblings, so she consulted her bank about secure ways to send the cash to her brother and sister. TD Canada Trust recommended sending the payments via bank drafts—which work like personal checks except they are backed by the bank instead of a person.

UPS was hired to ship one of these drafts to the brother of the executor. However, the bank draft worth the equivalent of $664,850 never arrived at its destination. The shipping company lost the inheritance, and only offered the family $32 in compensation—the same amount as the cost to ship the item.

When the draft didn’t arrive, and the daughter was notified, she went to TD Canada to refund and replace the missing draft, but the bank was hesitant to cooperate. The financial institution wanted an indemnity agreement that said the daughter would cover the costs of the draft should anyone find it and cash it. The bank also wanted the woman’s house as collateral.

This led the bank and the executor of this estate into a stand off that lasted several months. It was only after the daughter approached a local television station with her story that the bank conceded and allowed the woman to sign an indemnity agreement that didn’t include her house as collateral.

In the end, cases like this prove just how complicated probate and estate planning can be. That’s why it is important to have experienced help when putting together an estate plan, will or trust. To learn more, keep following the Troncelliti Law Associates—helping families plan estates since 1980.