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Dad, 91, has never asked me to plan for his estate before. To me that's his responsibility. He had gone to see his banker wanting to find a way that I can pay the bills and mortgage while I'm settling his estate.


Best thing I come up with is to make his checking acct (that all his bills and mortgage are autopaid from) and his savings, joint accounts with my name on them. He says that doesn't work because when Mom passed he had to wait to access her accts that he says were joint. We are in Texas. But I googled it and every article says that with a Joint acct when one person passes the other person retains full and sole ownership of the acct. This would solve the issue.


I have lived at home for 3 years and helped take care of them, Mom passing in April. His wish is that when he passes I'd be able to stay here until the estate is settled without spending my own money, I can't afford to be here on my own to be honest.


So do I understand this properly?


Thanks

Be sure you are on the bank account as an "or" joint owner. That gives you immediate access to the account both now (while Dad is still living) and immediately following his death, with no necesity of proving his death. An alternative is to title the bank account as "TOD" (transfer on death) so that you have ownership following his death, upon proof he has died (i.e., you have to show the bank the death certificate first).

On small accounts, there is little risk by putting your name on a parent's bank account as joint owner, but if you are sued or divorced, that money may be at risk, unless and until you can prove that money originated from your father and not you.
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dimeolas Sep 11, 2018
Thank you,
he has designated his bank accts as POD with my name as beneficiary. His banker says that when I show them the DCert they will close his accts and mail me a check. The issue I see now is that I will be still living in his home getting it ready for sale and looking for my own place. Since all his bills inc mortgage are auto taken from his checking acct and they close that acct....I would be scrambling to setup a new acct and changing the bills to pull from that acct and hoping the check comes before the bills. I would really need them to keep that acct open and really need them to move his other accts into that acct.
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Joint tenancy with right of survivorship instead of joint tenancy. The right of survivorship should transfer to you outside probate. Some banks also have TOD transfer on death. Ask the bank which they recognize and what they need signed. Medicaid will treat the addition of you to accounts as gifting, so if that’s a consideration talk with a lawyer.
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dimeolas Sep 11, 2018
Thanks, thats what we decided, or rathe what dad decided. The accounts are POD to me and we will be either adding me to the deed with ROS or there is something Texas and a couple other states do that passes the house to me when he passes. Sadly, I have seen mention of medicaid and gifting but I have no idea what that is. I do plan on a visit with an estate attorney soon. I have a full page of questions for the atty and the banker.
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Dimeolas,
Yes, you are correct. No what your dad is telling you isn't true.
When you have a joint account, when one passes the other is automatically sole owner.
Im going through this right now.
If you dont have your name on his account as “joint”, the account with his name only will go into probate for the estate. Unless, he puts you as beneficiary. Then you will have access to the account but you will have to take down the death certificate after he has passed, to the bank, fill out paperwork etc.

A joint account is also guarenteed that the money cant be considered part of “estate funds”. This means that you will ONLY be able to pay bills for the estate with it, any money left over goes to the estate in probate.
With a joint account or you as beneficiary, you can do what you want with the money and the court cant stop you. If the bank account goes into the estate, you have to keep records and be accountable for everything you spend from that bank account.
Also, my advise to you, have your dad appoint you as administrator or exeutor of his estate, now. Otherwise, you have to be court appointed after he passes. Which can take a lot of time. The judge can deny you. Then you have to get a lawyer to fight for you. Do it now. It will save you a MASSIVE headache later on.

Be aware!
Everything needs to be on paper! After they are gone there is no more “he said” My dad said a lot of things before he passed but nothing was ever put on paper, so there was no way to “prove” to the court anything he told me before he passed away.
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My name was on Moms account and Medicaid never questioned it. It was Moms money. I was on it so I could pay the bills.
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Invisible Sep 2, 2018
But was it joint? I'm on Dad's account but not as a joint owner. So I can pay his bills as POA but if he passes, the account goes into the estate. I feel vulnerable.
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Just realize, when Dad passes his SS and any pension he may have stops. You will not have them to help offset bills.

Does Dad have a Will in place, if not and he can make informed decisions, then get one done. This will make Probate a lot easier. If he dies with no will, then the state controls the situation.

Our neighbors were in foreclosure 2 yrs before the bank evicted them. So, if Dad passes and you can't pay mortgage and taxes it will be a while before your evicted. I just heard of a couple who continued to pay taxes but not their mortgage knowing it would take the bank a couple of years before they evicted them.

Probate should not take that long if a will is in place. You will just need to show that all debts have been satisfied. Follow Dads wishes. If you can't afford the house, then sell it. Then Probate can be closed.
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Invisible Sep 2, 2018
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I agree that medicaid will view this as gifting so be careful. Although the plan to keep our parents at home, something can happen at the blink of an eye that can turn every plan upside down in a split second..... so before you do anything at the bank, I would speak to a recommended elder attorney on this issue.
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When my friends with dementia issues made me their durable power of attorney, I went with them to the bank to have the papers notarized there, so the bank people met me then. They were relieved someone was able to step in an manage their finances. I sign the checks and put in parenthesis POA after my name. I am also executor of their estate when that time comes. I also had all their mail sent to my address so I could catch any bills and the phony come-ons that they were being bombarded with and couldn't figure out what to do about. The wife has since passed and everything was held jointly, so the husband had it all. He is living in a memory care apartment and I continue to pay all his bills, making sure not one cent comes to me. I don't have to account to anyone with this arrangement, but act as though I do. The only money that leaves the bank is to pay a documented bill. Any check to him that comes in the mail is deposited to his account in its entirety. This system has worked very smoothly the 5 years it has been in effect. The biggest project was emptying out their townhouse and selling it, which took about 2 1-2 years. I have other things in my life to manage and pay attention to, so I didn't put any pressure on myself to get it done quickly. There was plenty of money in their accounts to ease the pressure on this. Once sold, their townhouse is paying another 20 months of memory care fees. The husband is physically healthy at age 92, but can't remember hardly anything from one minute to the next. He is intelligent and coherent, but without that memory, could not begin to function on his own. We have been friends for almost 50 years and I am grateful we can still maintain this friendship. We joke about being "brothers of another color" since he is a black man and I am a pale Swede.
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dimeolas Sep 11, 2018
Brothers of different mothers we used to say. God bless ya for being there. Luckily dad is in pretty good shape and pretty sharp of mind. He has all his bills auto from his checking so he doesnt have to worry. I know this house will take months to clean up, empty out and sell. What we are trying to set up if it works will make things much easier. At this point I have almost a page of questions and research. But I am also studying for my first IT certification and everything is pushing me late for it. Im not doing well at a balance. I have to get on with it however as I will be unemployed until at least the first cert and maybe the second and possibly a two year degree if it works out.
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I found that each bank has a different set of rules so check with the bank. Even though I am my mother's conservator, she has 2 siblings on her joint account for emergencies when one is not available. I just hold the checkbook although the other sibling can set up an online access to the account if needed. When she passes, Both sibs will still have full use of the account
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Burnedout2017 Sep 2, 2018
Be careful having so many people on your moms account.
I would talk to a lawyer about this.
My brother had a joint account with my dad, I didn't. Im the administrator BUT legally HE had the right to do what he wanted with my dads money.
After dad passed, my brother emptied the bank account and TOOK OFF and I nor the court could stop him, legally, because my dad set up the account as joint with my brother, there was nothing I could do because my name wasnt on the accounts. I had no money to pay bills so it ALL came out of my pocket. Thank God my dad got a small settlement check later on that Im able to put into the estate account to pay bills now.

Holding the checkbook for the account means nothing in a court of law. Its just paper. You need to have your name ONLY on the account, as joint with your mom as administrator.

Its sad but when a person dies and other people have access to that money, a feeding frenzy starts and it doesn't end until the accounts are completely emptied. Trust no one!
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I am not an attorney but what I do believe when someone dies and bills need to be paid is that you get a death certificate from the County Clerk where you live - this is where you take the will and other documents and they issue a death certificate. You take that to the places where money was held by the deceased. Then you can take l00% of all funds and put them into NEW 'ESTATE OF (NAME)' ACCOUNT. Then out of that account, you pay all bills. DO NOT USE YOUR MONEY _ it will complicate things down the line. Call your local county Probate Office and they can help you with what you need to do.

Another thought is that if he is still alive and has money in the original joint accounts with his deceased wife, you could obtain a Power of Attorney so you would have access to the accounts in case he can't do it himself. POA stops on death and that is when you need to show you are the Executrix of the Will and must open an estate account to pay all bills. I would suggest calling an elder attorney as to the best situation where you live to avoid problems.
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ThereIsNoTry Sep 3, 2018
This makes too much sense to be true! LOL
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My own experience is that Banks (or their staff) act differently irrespective of what the law says. I have known banks to refuse to allow access to a joint account by the survivor who now owns it legally, and banks who have allowed withdrawals from an account in the sole name of the deceased if it was under a certain amount. Banks who have allowed money for the funeral account, banks who wouldn’t. My only suggestion is not to accept the answer from the clerk on the desk, go to the manager, and say you will go to head office if you get an answer that you know goes against the law on a joint account.
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dimeolas Sep 11, 2018
Thank you,
Dad has a good banker that he has been with for many years and he trusts him. I like the guy myself. When the time comes they will honor the law or there will be legal action. Everything is pretty cut and dried so i dont expect any problems. But if needed I'm not shy about getting an atty and aggressively seeking justice.
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