A young New Zealand-born woman whose father and brother died trying to climb the world's deadliest mountain is battling one of the world's biggest banks over her inheritance.
Sequoia Di Angelo, 24, is suing Wells Fargo for an alleged misappropriation of her late father Martin Schmidt's funds after finding his account had been emptied and its contents paid to her stepmother, Giovannini Cantale.
That was after Texan-based Ms Di Angelo had been blocked from closing the account until she could provide a will and copy of Mr Schmidt's death certificate, her lawyer Andrew Bender said yesterday from Houston.
Mr Schmidt, a renowned New Zealand-American mountain climber and guide whose feats included scaling Aoraki/Mt Cook 19 times and Aconcagua in South America 32 times, died with Di Angelo's 25-year-old brother Denali Schmidt in an avalanche while the pair were trying to become the first father-and-son team to conquer K2 in Pakistan in July, 2013.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
His will - for which he appointed New Zealand's Public Trust as executor - expressly identified his two children as his beneficiaries for funds in his United States bank accounts, Mr Bender told the Weekend Herald.
The lawyer said the funds were paid to Ms Cantale - who was the climber's second wife and is a third-party defendant in the case - after the bank had turned his client away.
He said that when Ms Di Angelo returned with a copy of her father's will to the bank in October, 2013, she was told the money had gone to her stepmother.
"Had Wells Fargo simply placed a note on the account after Ms Di Angelo notified the bank about her claim, this all could have been avoided," Mr Bender said.
Ms Di Angelo, who is booked to open an exhibition of her late brother's art works in San Francisco in July posted on Facebook yesterday that she had thought long and hard before starting proceedings against the bank.
"There are many things in life where I will just 'let go' but this is NOT one of them," she wrote.
"Through this lawsuit, it is my hope that the situation Wells Fargo put me in will never happen to anyone ever again."