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  1. #1
    bobedwards is offline Junior Member
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    Jan 2008
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    P.O.A. Seizes Account After Death

    What is the name of your state? NJ

    Hi,
    I am the executor for my mother's estate. My sister had Power of Attorney while my mother was alive. My mother had a bank account which she added my sister to so that bills could be paid when she was incapacitated. I do not believe this was a P.O.D. account, but am unable to find out. All funds in the account were my mother's. Other accounts were set up as P.O.D. accounts, so my mother knew what she was doing regarding leaving money to heirs in general.

    Not long after my mother's death, my sister removed all the money for her personal use and closed the account against my instructions to freeze all accounts until I could get legal advice. Information I have seen is somewhat confusing. She claims the money is hers because her name was on the account too and she is the sole survivor. As I understand it, the person with P.O.A. must return funds of the person they had P.O.A. over to the estate after their death and cannot seize them for personal use.

    While I do consider her actions unethical, I am not clear over the legality of her move. All estate assets other than the house are to be divided equally among the five beneficiaries according to the will I must execute. Both my sister and I are among them. The amount in question is approximately $16,000.

    What is the name of your state? NJWhat is the name of your state?
  2. #2
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    As executor you can examine how the account was set up at the bank and the documents involved as well as getting an account statement of activity, but please do so politely--don't go in aggravated because sis was on the account.
  3. #3
    bobedwards is offline Junior Member
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    Hi Don,

    I can try going to the office where I think she set it up. I called Bank of America where I have the estate account set up so they know I am the executor, and they wouldn't tell me anything about the account because my name wasn't on it. It may require more than me asking to find out.

    Can you tell me if there are circumstances where it is OK to grab that money? Is it OK for some accounts but not others? If there is nothing specified (just a normal account that another person was added to), where should the money go? Is it entirely dependent on the way the account was set up?
  4. #4
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobedwards View Post
    ...She claims the money is hers because her name was on the account too and she is the sole survivor. As I understand it, the person with P.O.A. must return funds of the person they had P.O.A. over to the estate after their death and cannot seize them for personal use.
    ...
    If ma put her on the account as joint tenant, then shows ma's intention for her to have the dough after ma passed.

    But we really need to know the exact way the account was titled.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  5. #5
    Mike Green is offline Junior Member
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    Sep 2007
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    If she closed the account after death the POA is not even valid.

    If she was a joint owner of the account then the money is hers. Simple as that.

    If everything was done "after" death POA is not even a factor.

    If she was NOT a joint owner on the account and there was NOT a POD on the account the money is NOT hers and the bank should not have given her the money.
  6. #6
    ladybg1 is offline Member
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    has probate been opened & the court has appointed you the executor? If so than the bank will have to talk to you about the acct. But only after they see the letter from the court giving you the right. Just because mom said in the will that you are the executor doesn't give you any legal standing or the bank the right to discuss the acct with you.
  7. #7
    peppylady is offline Member
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    Florida
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    Even if he does show Letters of Administration from the Probate Court he won't get any information from the bank due to privacy issues. They can't and won't discuss that account with him. They will only discuss it with the account owner.
  8. #8
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    I disagree, the estate *is* the person. Even on joint or POD accounts, we've never had a problem (many times hoops must be jumped, but that's another story) getting info on any account which had the deceased's name attached once we got the letters.

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