Pre signed checks after death

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First of all, I am joint owner with survivorship on my father's bank account.
He and I set this up back in 2010 so I could handle his affairs after his death.
After his death, my sister withdrew $19,000.00 from his account.
with the intent of distributing it.
Without discussing it with me prior.
When I was going to go to the bank to tell them of his passing
I called her, she told me she had written out this pre-signed check and put it into her account.
I freaked out because I thought writing a check with the date after his death was fraud.
I went to the bank and put a stop on it fearing I would be liable.
Now I am being accused of creating a big mess where there was none.



7 Comments

Mica, my gosh, your Dad just passed away a week or so ago. Why was your sister in such a rush to distribute what was in that account? You probably will be getting bills for your Dad that will need to be paid, such as his funeral, medical bills, etc. My Mom passed six months ago and I am still getting misc medical bills as some places are very slow on filing Medicare.

As for the pre-signed checks.... as soon as your Dad's had passed, those checks with your Dad's signature would have been voided. I would have done the same thing that you did. What did the bank say?
Personally, I think you did the right thing and not necessarily for the reason you state. This situation is exactly why - even though I am an open book in sharing information with my brothers - as DPOA, I am the only person who knows account numbers, PIN numbers, passwords and have physical possession of the check book etc. I do it to protect myself, my mother and yes, even my brothers. In my opinion you are creating a recipe for disaster by allowing more than one hand in the cookie jar, too many chefs in the kitchen and all that. I realize your sister doing what she did pretty much was out of your control - but sheez, how sneaky can can you be?!! You did the right thing in taking control back. That is, I'm assuming- that you are the designated person to be handling the finances and not your sister. I also would suggest you use this experience as a red flag and be on guard - do what you need to do to protect yourself and your fathers estate. Only the executor of your fathers will is legally able to take these types of actions - that is you, yes?
I imagine that since you are joint owner with survivorship, your sister was seeing toward getting her share of the money quickly. Had your father signed a check so that she could write herself a percentage of the money that was in the account? It might be that she didn't trust that you would distribute the money, since the money would legally belong to you. If this is the case, I would understand the concern and put it behind me.
He died Six days ago!
Truth be told - I zoomed over there to put a stop on the check and did not tell them he died yet. I was SO afraid.
I am reading online now that presigned checks are good for 10 days after death??!
Once I was at the bank they showed me she had withdrawn $15,000.00
in May 2016.
It was SO HARD for me to keep my cool standing there as the owner of this account that I hadn't kept track of.
She and I had only discussed monthly checks to his children of $1,000.00.
until his death.
I hadnt discussed what would happen afterwards with her because he had signed survivorship to me to handle it.
Oh Mica, I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this, on top of all of the other things that must be handled in tge first few days! My condolences on the loss of your Dad! Take care, and you did the right thing! There will probably be a few bills that will come up, and those monies need to stay in the bank to cover those, plus the incidentals of your memorial service. Again, take care!
My father had been unable to sign checks, he was too sick then.
She said he had "pre-signed" ....
I was caring for both parents- laundry, grocery and taking him out weekly-
I had a mental breakdown after a year or so of that and with much regret told her to take him out weekly. I couldnt leave my mother alone! . She then ordered checks and the bank sent them to her thinking dad lived there.
When he was healthier she would visit him and he would sign checks for each his children. Last May she told me a check for 1x was in mail- I replied "Wow! he couldnt open his eyes when I visited". I thought she had visited and he was better and signed the check. I know now I was incorrect, she hadnt visited in six months.
Yes, it is my fault for thinking the money was safely in account while I cared for my mother.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that she would use it to pay her own debt of 15x .
Yes, I have been on the phone for days. Yes, overdue bills are being emailed to me from her for me to pay and I dont even have any checks for that account.
............................

I'm so sorry for your troubles - siblings that to your woes are unforgivable

May I ask two questions? Did your father have a will and if so who inherits according to his wishes ? If he did not do you live in a community property state so it goes to your mom? Sounds like you might need to consult an attorney to protect your mom's finances - do yo have a sr center to contact for a referral?

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