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'WIBTA if I put a lien against my parents' house and sued them for my college tuition?'

'WIBTA if I put a lien against my parents' house and sued them for my college tuition?'


"WIBTA if I put a lien against my parents' house and sued them for my college tuition?"


I, 17F, am graduating high school next month and am set to attend my first-choice college with a partial scholarship in the fall. It's an instate school about an hour away, and because of my dual enrollment credits, I should only be 5 semesters from finishing my bachelor's degree and then going for the master's degree I need for the career I want.

Five years ago, my Mamaw, (mom's mom) died, leaving behind a college fund for me and my siblings, Kyle (M25) and Kelsey (F22). Mom's Aunt Teresa was supposed to oversee it, but she died in 2020, and somehow my parents wound up in charge.

I don't know all the details because I was 12 when Mamaw died and 14 when Aunt Teresa died. I'm not even sure exactly how it was structured or how much there was, except that it was supposed to be enough to cover a significant amount of our expenses if not everything.

Kelsey is a fine arts major and her first year of college was derailed by lockdowns, and she wound up losing an entire year. She was supposed to go back for her final year next fall just as I am starting college.

But last night, at our Grandpa's birthday dinner (Dad's dad), she announced that she had been invited to participate in a Junior Artist in Residence study program and was deferring her last year of college.

Everyone congratulated her and my grandparents asked about what sort of stipend she was getting. She said there wasn't one, but Mamaw's money would cover her living expenses.

My uncle said that, between me starting college and them covering that, the fund would be empty soon, and would her share be enough to pay for her final year after? That's when my dad said that, since I had scholarships and my sister needed it more, I wouldn't be getting any of the money Mamaw left for us.

Everyone was shocked and started asking questions, but my parents insisted that it was important to support my sister's artistic goals "the way we never were", and that I'd be fine.

When my grandparents argued with them, my mom said I could take out loans for what my scholarship didn't cover and live at home to save money. I was in tears and my sister was upset that people weren't happier for her.

When my uncle asked if there was even going to be money left for my sister to go back and graduate, my parents said they would take out a loan against the house to cover it.

Everyone got in a huge argument and my parents and sister left. My grandparents, uncle, and aunt got to talking and my uncle, who is a lawyer, says he's going to look into it and that we may have to sue them for my share of the college money because he believes they mismanaged it.

My grandparents are worried about them mortgaging the house and losing it, and suggested we take out a lien against the house for my tuition money so they can't use it to get a loan to pay for my sister's expenses. WIBTA if I sued my parents for my college tuition and put a lien against their house like my grandparents suggested?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


This sounds like they horribly mismanaged the money. A fund that was supposed to cover even 50% of 3 college tuitions should have had a HEALTHY 6 figure amount. Not to mention the find was supposed to be used for TUITION, not other programs.

During the discovery your uncle may find out some disturbing truths, but secrets especially money secrets always are the worst. Whether you do or don't your relationship with your parents and sister is likely irreparably damaged. NTA.


It's possible that an older person was leaving what, to her, was a lot of money. But it may not have been in the 6 figure range.


NTA-if your parents are refusing to give you money that was left in trust for you, you are 100% in the right to try to get it. They are essentially stealing from you.


NTA for asking the question, but this is outside the internet's pay grade. You need a lawyer.I’m so sorry this is happening to you, it’s a horrible situation to be in and a terrible thing to even have to contemplate. Good luck.

EDIT: sorry I missed that your uncle is a lawyer earlier. No it doesn’t make you the asshole here if you sued them. But you’re the one who has to live with the fall out a lawsuit will create and we don’t know what your family dynamic is or how it would affect you to potentially be extra from your parents permanently, which could be the result of a lawsuit.

I’m not trying to sound discouraging, just thinking realistically of the long term impact on your family relationship. If they mismanaged the funds they need to be held accountable, hopefully it can be resolved quickly for you. Good luck.


You can’t put a lien against someone’s house for any old reason. What your parents decide to do with their own home is their business, you can’t stop them or try to get “your share” of the equity in their home.

Now, if a court decides they mismanaged the money and they do owe you a certain amount, they certainly can take out a loan at that time to pay you back. But you can’t do it yourself.

Your lawyer uncle needs to take the reins on this one. He needs to get a copy of the will stating that funds were set aside, and statements from the account detailing when and how funds were disbursed.


You need a lawyer (not your uncle, have him make a referral) to determine how exactly the funds were left. Your uncle can probably look up the will and any other public documents to give your attorney a head start.

You need to find out if there was anything like a trust, with named beneficiaries or if there was just an account that was "for college" but without any rules such as each of you having equal rights.

There is a trust in a family close to me where upon passing of the original funder, the money was split into separate sub accounts earmarked for each heir. Trustees control access to the funds to make sure the heirs use the money as intended.

Or that their parents use it as intended to benefit minor children. The trustees are "fiduciaries" which means they cannot do things like deprive an heir of their rightful (defined) share or redistribute it among heirs on their whim.

Or allow parents of minor heirs to do so. But if OP's grandparents didn't define heirs and their rights, then who knows? The above is not legal advice, you need a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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