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Frozen account

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#1
What is the name of your state? Arizona

My sister and I have been trying to help my mother with her bills and managing her excessive charitable contributions for a year and a half. We offered to go online to her bank account to manage what is coming and going, and help her sort out the "questionable" purchases at the onset of this problem. Progressively the situation got worse to where she was forgetting purchases or donations made and filing "fraud" complaints to the bank. Each time they refunded her money, but grew concerned with her memory loss and contacted my sister and I (on numerous occasions) hoping we could curtail the spending and withdrawels. My mother is very independent and controlling and won't allow any of her children to manage her finances, only to help her out when she's in a bind. She's claimed fraud 4 times in less than a year and the bank suspected it was not accurate, so ultimately suspended her check-writing privileges and issuing a bank card, only allowing cash withdrawels, money orders or cashiers checks. We have a POA but they would not accept it because it named both my sister and I, not just one of us. The only way around it was for one of us to relinquish our POA role, which we won't do because it does not honor what my mother originally wanted. At that time the bank manager was concerned about my mother's mental state. She has since been diagnosed with "moderate dementia with an aggressive track" by her neurologist. My mother has withdrawn nearly $50,000 from her account in less than a year and is now "over-drawn" on her account and insists that it wasn't her. Several months ago we told her we needed to move some of her money into a joint account that my sister and I set up to pay her bills with because she was forgetting to pay them each month. We took all of her bills and made them paperless and/or auto-bill pay through the joint account we set up. A few weeks ago she went into the bank and told them that her daughter (my sister) was taking money from her account without her permission. They (yes, the same people that have spoken with both of us about my mother, had set up the joint account at their recommendation to pay her bills, and acknowledge her dementia) believed the allegations and launched an investigation. As such, froze my sisters accounts (that she had at the same institution) without her knowledge while they conduct (yes, still conducting and taking up to 4 weeks now) the investigation. My sister is devastated as that's all of her finances and her employer direct deposit that she cannot access. She's tried speaking with the investigator explaining the situation that the ladies at the local bank already knew, and showed the paper trail of the funds that were moved and what bills were paid (in detail). In the midst of this, we had been filing for Conservatorship of my mother, which was granted over a week ago. The bank will not accept the stamped court documents of proof that my mother's mind is not able to remember information and/or is articulating false information and will not lift the investigation so that my sister can access her funds. We have also requested that they freeze a portion of her account, for the funds that were transferred and in question ($6,000), rather than her entire account ($15,000), but no. To this day, my sister still has not received notification from the bank that her assets were frozen or any written correspondence informing her of the fraud allegations.

The bank told us the only way to have the investigation stopped is for my mother to accompany us to the bank and verbally articulate the reason why she would like to stop the fraud investigation against my sister. We could easily do this but she won't remember doing it the next day, and will most likely go back again and tell them the same story of fraud (as that's been the pattern all along.) We also questioned why they would accept her verbal statement, knowing her dementia status, over a court document that declared her unable to manage her finances. No good answer other than...."that's what we would need".

Sorry this was so long, but is there any way to have the investigation concluded immediately so that my sister can access her money and pay her bills? She's already had bounced check fees due to the frozen account that she wasn't aware of initially. It's hard to believe that a bank can freeze your entire earnings and assets, preventing you from living and paying your bills?

Thank you for your help!
 


LdiJ

Senior Member
#2
I think that you and your sister need to get an attorney involved to deal with the bank...and once you get everything unfrozen then all accounts at that bank need to be closed and all money moved to a different bank.

Dealing with bank accounts and a parent with dementia is challenging to say the least. However, if your mother has significant dementia how is she even going to the bank alone to make all these messes? Have you not had her driver's license yanked yet?
 
#3
As such, froze my sisters accounts (that she had at the same institution) without her knowledge while they conduct (yes, still conducting and taking up to 4 weeks now) the investigation. My sister is devastated as that's all of her finances and her employer direct deposit that she cannot access.

It's hard to believe that a bank can freeze your entire earnings and assets, preventing you from living and paying your bills?
It's in your account agreement. Immediately when this started to happen, your sister should have opened a new account somewhere else, and switched her direct deposit.

In the future, you should always have two or more checking accounts and everything it takes to make the switch at the drop of hat.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
#4
Why would your sister's pay be deposited in to an account that was intended only to allow you to help mom pay her bills using her own money?

In any case, the advice given above to get an attorney involved is wise. Once the conservatorship was granted, the conservator should have been able to straighten this out.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
#5
Why would your sister's pay be deposited in to an account that was intended only to allow you to help mom pay her bills using her own money?

In any case, the advice given above to get an attorney involved is wise. Once the conservatorship was granted, the conservator should have been able to straighten this out.
They didn't just freeze mom's account. The also froze sister's own personal account which happened to be at the same bank.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#6
in a way you need to be thankful that the bank put a lock on her accounts until there is some clarity ...all too often one reads that some vulnerable persons accounts have been cleaned out or wasted . ( locking sisters separate account seems a step too far)
A joint POA can be a pain ( not sure if you meant It as AND or OR as to two children ). ..no matter what Mom wanted ....

IF there is a conservator in place it does not make sense that the logjam on Moms accounts cannot be lifted by the conservator . Perhaps the bank thinks it needs an official copy of the conservatorship "ex record " i.e. under seal....if so, go get a fancy version at courthouse probably for a very modest fee and walk it in via conservator . And go far enough up the bank chain of command to get it implemented literally on the spot.

Once that is done , sister needs to raise a royal fuss if her log jam is not lifted.

You do not need a lawyer to raise an intelligent royal fuss with a bank...but you may need to go up the chain of command . ( and use separate accounts in separate banks as you think best )
 
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