My beautiful Mother went to Heaven on June 21 this year. Mam had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's two years and Eight months previous, and I was so glad to care for mam throughout her short illness. We had a great time together, reciting poetry and singing songs together every day. We lived together all my life of 56 years, and I can honestly say mam was my oldest and dearest friend. Mother was such a sweet heart and so easy to love. Alas mother passed away peacefully but suddenly while on her fifth day of her first restbite care stay. After mother's funeral when I called to our bank to withdraw a cheque for to pay the undertaker from our joined account the bank clerk said oh im sorry but the account is frozen as revenue are investigating if your late mum owed any taxes to the state. Since mother lived 87 years why could revenue not have looked into mother's affairs when she was alive ? Or could revenue adapt the moral approach ah sher shes finished with it, so we will confiscate the money. This is the coldest most heartless thing I have ever seen done in my life. I'm just wondering is this the normal thing when a loved one passes away ? Or is it legal ? I'm pretty annoyed over this to be honest.
Mon, Jul 6, 2009
If this has happened to you, you would have received a Notice of Attachment from them beforehand.
Could we call a truce among ourselves, and focus on helping the OP -- those of us who know something about banking where they write cheques?
But the worse was when some idiot wrote my father and told him he couldn't get a refund for a dead person (himself) and advised him to use the specific form for collecting a refund for a dead person. There were absolutely no grounds to assume he had died - he signed the return a few months ago; I filed no form, notices or indications he had died.
Yet some moron decided he had died, then wrote to him advisingi him he couldn't collect on behalf of his dead self.
This is more than a mistake; it's sheer stupidity.
In the past the IRS was fairly easy to deal with and I was always able to get assistance on questions I had, or resolve specific issues. But that's changed in the last several years. The notices we get are ones which are a waste of time if someone was properly trained and really understood the issues instead of just firing off a letter.
You seem to be protecting an agency that has been known for rampant mistakes...the IRS has made lots of mistakes that lead to huge problems for the citizen...including setting a citizen to deceased when they are not!!!! If it were me I'd be heading to the source of the freeze to find out why.
Now, that doesn't mean that I don't doubt the original posters story. If the account is truly frozen for unpaid taxes or fraud...then likely either they didn't file taxes for years, or they have a tax debt...both conditions would have meant a significant amount of warnings through the mail which may have been ignored by the original poster. But, if it is truly a mistake, and there is no evasion of tax payment, then definitely the original poster should go to the source.
So the first question is whether you're in the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, or where? Answers are going to vary, and if you're not in the US, then advice on dealing with the IRS or a US state government is not going to be helpful.
Generally though, it seems as if some department/organization/agency has for whatever reason decided to investigate whether your mother owes taxes; however, there should have been a notice before seizing the bank account, and my guess is that unless she was very wealthy, she probably didn't have any tax liability.
If you have an accountant, check with him/or as to whether or not past returns have been filed and whether there was any liability.
It does really seem unusual for revenue chasers to come after a deceased person unless there was substantial wealth involved, or someone tipped them off to check this out.
Did you ask to speak to an officer of the bank?
If the account is in both of your names, and both are joint owners (both your mothers and your social security numbers associated with the account) then you should have access to the account.
The only reason I can see that the account would be frozen is that the IRS sees evidence of either failure to pay past taxes or fraud. Had you and your mother filed your taxes every year and/or do you owe for past taxes? As a priority collector, the IRS can freeze all assets until they believe that their claims are settled. Are you aware of any open debts to the IRS?...they are the ones that got Capone after all, they won't play around with past debt. If I were in your place I would go, personally, to the nearest IRS office and demand to see a supervisor or someone in charge to see exactly what the claim is that the IRS has. You may be surprised by what information they have...perhaps an old inheritance that taxes were never paid on, property taxes, income tax...who knows? It's best to go right to them to find out exactly what the status is.
When my husband went on hospice I transferred the small amount out of his checking account. After his death I went into the bank and tried to close the account. I had his death certificate, but I had no authority over the account, so it is still open three years later, with a 0 balance. It would be to the banks advantage to close it, but they have to follow procedures.
If you are the executrix of the estate as named in the will, the estate still needs to go through probate (unless all assets were in a trust with you as the trustee). Probate is the time period where all creditors (including the IRS, but also credit cards and medical bills) can be attached to what is left in the estate. So, what I think you are referring to, is that her account is in probate (which would freeze it) which is the normal way of things. Am I correct? If so, yes this is very legal and very expected. Did you speak to an elder lawyer about her estate prior to her death, before she was ill? They would/should have explained this to you.
If I am making incorrect assumptions please let me know as I would like to help you.