Do I need to keep Mom's checking account open now that the estate is settled? - AgingCare.com

Do I need to keep Mom's checking account open now that the estate is settled?

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The estate is settled. Do I need to keep mom's checking account open (with a little bit of money in it) until after I file her 2014 taxes? If there is a refund, it could be direct deposited, right? This is not an estate account but her (and my) personal account. Otherwise, how would I cash a refund check?

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Katie - for what it's worth I just asked this ? @ my mom's bank. The account is in her & my name, we are both signatures on the account, the account is however tied to her SS # and therefore is her asset for Medicaid; the account is POD to me, and as such the bank has my SS #. Mom gets her SS and retirement direct deposit to this account from which I pay the NH her Medicaid required co-pay / SOC & builds each mo by $ 60.00 which is her state's personal needs allowance.

Mom is on hospice now and is in the long-goodbye phase of her 90+ years. Upon her death, I will need to send the bank an original death certificate; as my name is on the account and as a signature, I can continue to fully use the account. It will need to have some action (like $ 10.00) every 6 months otherwise state Banking rules makes the account go onto a inactive list. If I open probate, then once letters are presented, then I take the probate details to the bank and it becomes an estate of account and can be kept this way for 4 years (max time frame for TX probate). But I am going to try hopefully to do a muniment of title rather than probate on mom's estate, so for that approach, you just continue to maintain the account every 6 months till whenever you just don't need it anymore and then close it out 6 months after the last, last, last possible use of the account.

Also one thing I didn't know, was that if the account had just been as a POA account for how I was on it, then once mom died the account would be frozen and would need a probate court order to release it. It poses a couple of problems, in that if SS does a clawback of the last check (they died on or before the 3rd of the month), their clawback will bounce & is a headache to deal with. Another problem is that many families just do not do probate so cannot provide the document to the bank and then the account goes dormant, then dead and escheated to the state. Then have to wait 3 years for the state to put it on the list for recovery.
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Since it's in your name as well, don't bother closing it. Use it as you suggest: in case mom gets a tax refund. It's "her account," I understand that. But since your name is on it as well? It's yours just as much as hers.
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My mom and I are both owners on the account, so that is why it wasn't in the estate.
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You need an Estate Account, and the bank will help you set one up. You do the final tax return a little differently, maybe you should see the tax prep people.
Here in NY you have to wait two years for any outstanding bills to show up and be paid. The attorney said if I close out too soon, I become responsible for unpaid bills.
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Can you do a rough estimate of the 2014 taxes to determine if there will be a refund?

Couple of options, if there will be:

If you're not paying monthly maintenance fees, you could keep it open. If you are paying fees, I probably would close it but then you'd be best off taking another step.

If there will be a refund, it will be payable to your mother. You can file a Form 1310 which is the form IRS requires for someone else to receive a refund due a deceased person. I've found this is the best course of action to take. If you're the Personal Representative or Trustee, you so indicate on the form and the check will be made payable to you. That's how I handled my sister's Trust - that worked out well for us as long as the only funds you anticipate will be a tax refund.

I would not consider having a refund made payable to a deceased person deposited in an account on my name only without filing a Form 1310.

A refund could be directly deposted, but if the account is in your name only and there are other heirs, they might question the propriety of this action. So might IRS, if they verify the account holder before making the deposit.
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Your tax preparer can help you sort it out at tax time so that you will get a refund check provided she was living part of 2014. At least that's what I think is correct for this.
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No. Close the acct. Why wasn't this account included in the total estate? If it's a little bit of money ($5K or less), close it, take the money and deposit in your acct or open a savings account at your bank and hold it for a yr if you think something or someone might coming looking for it. I doubt there is enough interest on it to impact taxes.
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