Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Dash for Cash – Informal Funding of Inheritance Has Hidden Dangers

CashVirginia Hammerle had a few clients who happened upon a cash envelope that belonged to their great-aunt after she passed away. After finding the envelope taped behind a dresser, they realized they were going to have to do some searching to find the rest of it. Their great-aunt did not believe in banks so she hid cash around her house.

Hammerle stated that this is not as rare as you might think. Hiding cash and valuables is "well-known phenomenon" especially for those that went through the Great Depression or who have dementia. Popular hiding spots include "inside the mattress, between the wall boards, behind a loose brick in the chimney, under the floorboard, tucked into clothing, buried under the backyard tree, or taped inside the piano."

Before you consider hiding your life savings in your home, you should know that it is not a good idea.

Having a houseful of cash can be dangerous. "Consider the case of Hee-Haw comedian David “Stringbean” Akeman and his wife who were murdered in 1973 after returning home from the Grand Ole Opry. The villains were two thieves who had heard that Akeman had thousands of dollars hidden in his house because he did not trust banks.  The thieves did not find the money, but they had been right; decades later thousands of dollars were discovered hidden in the couple’s chimney and clothing."

Further, your loved ones may never find your cash, your house could catch fire or be hit by a tornado, the cash could disintegrate or become moldy. Also, the "dash for cash" could leave a bad taste in your loved one's mouths. Your loved ones could become bitter and being racing to find the cash and may not be completely honest about what they find. 

You could also be setting your loved ones up for a criminal investigation once they have to deposit a boatload of cash into the bank. 

When you are estate planning, do not forget to make a plan for the distribution of your cash. 

See Virginia Hammerle, Dash for Cash – Informal Funding of Inheritance Has Hidden Dangers, Legal Talk Texas, August 2, 2020.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


Death Event Planning, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink


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