If my mom is expected to pass away soon what should I do with her money and bank account before she dies?

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Mom's dying.What about the acct? I'm the only relative

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Does she own a lot of money? I'm not sure that pulling out now - if she will die soon - will matter anyway. But you maybe should check with the bank, first, and then check with an elder law attorney, if your mom owes money. If you are only worried about the account being closed, just ask your bank. I don't think it would be, but you should check.
Good luck,
Carol
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IGLOO is exactly correct....been there, done that (PROBATE I MEAN) and it is NOT pretty. My entire family does not speak to me as they are angry the "water faucet" has been turned off so I can pay for HER CARE..it is HER money.
They called me bipolar, sick, a thief, and on and on..I was almost crying. The Judge saw through all of them, appointed me conservator and I have done a kick-ass job.
I am on my moms credit union account as POD. The rest will pay off any bills (her annuities) and anything left is in an educational trust she literally pissed away paying my 55 year old sisters rent since 2002...plus, she got an $18,000.00 car, and $10,500.00 for every birthday....I got $100.00 for mine. The grandchildren that are left will never see the educational money...the Red Lobster got it along with Florida movie theaters my sister has stock in....she uses "my life stinks" to extort money from my mother...not anymore. I am in charge and she is CUT OFF, by the Probate Judge...he knows all about her!
I wish I belonged to a family that would treat me nice....my husband and son get it, and they stand by me 100%. My son and his cousins have nothing to do with each other....calling your mom a thief is not the way to bond with family.
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Hello!
All the advice is useful so far, but also consider, if your mother is coherent and able, to add the designation on the checking/bank account, "POD" which means "payable on death." It is free of charge, is revocable, and she can name any one person. It is sometimes called "the poor man's trust".
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I've been executrix for two estates & I'm NOT an attorney but in going back & forth to probate court have learned quite a bit.

Here are my thoughts:
1. If your mom has a true estate - that is she has assets that legally will need a change of title or ownership in order for people named in her will to get, like a home or a car or stocks, then you will need to go thru probate. Probate costs money to do - about 3 - 5% of what the estate is.

2. BUT if mom owns nothing - no house, no car - she was just on Social Security or SS and a small retirement, there is no real need to do probate. So IF all she has is those coming in monthly and maybe a small savings in the bank, then go and get the money out before she dies and the account gets frozen and you have to go thru probate. If you are on the account as a POD (paid on death) the money will go to you once she dies but you will need to go with a death certificate in order for this to happen. This can take time.

If you are the only relative, there will be nobody to challenge what you do. Don't worry about it. Use the money for her funeral, give some to a charity that mom liked (Humane Society, Leukemia, whatever), arrange for flowers placed on the grave every month. If you want to pay off her bills with it, then do that.

I can remember being in probate court and there would be families there for a hearing over bank accounts with just a few thousand dollars in them and the nasty level of fighting going on over it. Just ugly. If you can avoid it, do so. Good luck.
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Yes, this is a good point. We don't think about these things at the time. I have a notebook with my husbands things and these are the kind of things I jot down so I won't forget when the time comes. Yes, it's up to God to decide all of this, not me. One more thing I forgot in my last post. I was on my grandfathers accounts as I signed his checks for him as he trouble. I did get him to write his checks when I could. The judge said that my uncle and Mom were next of kin and that was that! I was ONLY a granddaughter. So, I was only a granddaugher but I was the only one willing to take care of him at home as no one had any time for him as they were too busy with their own lives or didn't have the right accommondations or whatever excuse they could come up with. I enjoyed very much taking care of him and being with him daily. I will never feel that I didn't do my best (which he knew) and I didn't want to take money from him. He insisted that his SS check be mine every month. At that time not much but he felt he was paying his way. I usually spent it on him anyway without his knowledge. By the way, I am originally from northern CA too. This was the judges decision and I abided by it no matter how unfair it was. I think he got the feeling that I was out for money. Not so. I did this because I loved him, still do and nothing more. God will take care of me.
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Ruiz - please keep in mind that if in the future you should ever need to place your mom on Medicaid the $$ in an account the is co-mingled (yours & hers) can be entirely viewed as her assets and could keep her from qualifying till it is spent down. Also if something should happen (like bills from an accident) and there is a debt with a judgement against you and/or your mom, the $$ in the account that is co-mingled can be attached or seized.

I know it seems simpler to do what you're doing but it could cost you in the long run.

If you're doing this to be off the grid, it really doesn't work. If they are getting
SS then they probably also getting Medicare. All that is constantly updated so a death notice happens within 48 hours. SS will do a claw-back on any payments sent after the month of death too. The banks are linked into the SS notices and will freeze the accounts that match.

Yes, if she truly has no assets, then you never need to worry about probate. But if there is anything out there (house, car, she is part owner of some family property or business even if it is from ages ago) that would require a transfer of title in order for the next person to have clean ownership, then you have to go thru probate for the transfer to happen.
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Ruiz - Maybe it will never happen BUT if the day comes and you need for your mom to get Medicaid for LTC, the state will require an accounting of where her assets (SS and pension money) for up to the past 5 years has gone. They want a papertrail and without it her application will be turned down.

You say she has Soc. Security and a small pension & whatever savings she has (not a whole lot) goes into a savings account in your name. When you do that the $$ becomes commingled. The state can require that everything in the savings account (that is in your name) be spent down on her care even if some of the money is your own personal savings because it has been commingled. Medicaid does not allow money earned from work or Social Security to be “commingled” with anyone else’s money if the person wants to maintain eligibility for Medicaid.
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Who is the executor named in the will? Could pay for funeral costs/burial. That is legal.
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My mom had all her bank accounts with her name "or" my name. This helped while she was sick and when she died. I was paying her bills the last few years with her accounts (but because of the wording on the account I was able to transfer between her accounts when her SS and pension was deposited, I was able to cash in cds when she needed money for rehab stays, etc.), and when she died the accounts automatically were turned over to me. However, I'm an only child, mom trusted me also - so circumstances were very easy, I had no relatives to contend with unlike some of the horror stories I read on this site. Mom had a will (dad did also and everything automatically went to mom when he died - the accounts also read his name "or" her name "or" my name ) and on mom's passing everything automatically went to me - accounts, house, etc. because wording on accounts and deeds was set up that way (again my parents trusted me). No probate no will actually even necessary. Regarding the above post about the bank account being closed when she dies - well, I believe you may find that account closed immediately if only her name is on it. When I went to the bank after mom died to tell them to close her one open credit card (which she only used in an emergency) they told me that it was already closed as she was deceased. I asked how they knew that since I was just coming in less than a week after she died - their response "we're notified immediately of someone passing away in the event their accounts need to be frozen". So don't assume the account will still be open the next day even - - news travels fast! If your mom is on medicaid or possibly may have to go on medicaid, you have to account for every single penny of hers, so thinking you can just pull the money out of the account is not the answer. I know you said she is expected to die shortly - I don't know her circumstances, but I was called by two different doctors on two different occassions - 5 months apart telling me that mom would not make it through the night. The next day the social worker from the hospital called me and said she was going back to rehab. Both times I argued that they must be talking about the wrong person because the night before the doctor said she wouldn't make it. No they were right! She did a 360 degree turnaround twice. At the end while in the ER the doctor told me she wouldn't make it through the night (she developed a hole in her colon and poisons were leaking into her blood and all her organs). Two other drs. confirmed that and said she would last a few hours at the most. She was transferred to Hospice as the hospital told me she couldn't stay there because hospitals "are only for people that will get better". Anyway she died 4 days later! And that was withholding all food and water. So what I'm trying to tell you is no one knows - except God - when the persons time is up. That being said, be very careful on what you do with her account at this point. It could cause you more problems in the end if you take the money out now.
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Hello again! One more thing. When your mom passes, there is a moment when you have to get death certificate ordered/mailed to you. BE SURE to order 10-20 of them!! They are free (at least here in Northern California) when you FIRST order them and they come all at once very quickly. If you order them later (and you will need them for an amazing variety of reasons for proof of death), the city/county takes weeks and charges $10.00 or more a copy.
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