Mom has credit card debt with the same bank that handles her bank account. Can they collect from her account on her credit card bill? - AgingCare.com

Mom has credit card debt with the same bank that handles her bank account. Can they collect from her account on her credit card bill?

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My mother is on Medicaid in a nursing home, and she has a checking account and a Qualified Income Trust account through a bank, I'll call it "Bank A." She has two sources of income - her state pension and Social Security goes into her checking account and then from there the money is transferred to her Q.I.T. account and basically the nursing home gets her money. She also has $7,000 in debt with a Visa credit card through, you guessed it, "Bank A." My question is, can the bank take any action against her checking or Q.I.T account? I don't think they could unilaterally do anything or be stupid enough to try but I thought I would ask. I am worried if they try to do something with her checking account to try and collect on her credit card bill. I don't think such a thing is legal or remotely likely but I thought I should ask. Is there any point on saying anything to anyone at the bank? This is in Florida.

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Since a trust is a separate legal entity, no they should not be able to. However, some banks will do something like this and only correct it if/when they have to. In the meantime, there's a financial mess. Example: I was a corporate officer with a startup, which I later left. When the corporation later overdrew their account, the bank subtracted the amount from my personal account. I had to bring in an attorney to get them to correct their error.
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Reply to jjariz
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GA - I am assuming that your situation involves a revocable trust, because my understanding is that assets in an irrevocable trust are protected from the grantor's creditors. A QIT is an irrevocable trust.
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Reply to AlfredR
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Alfred, I can. In that situation now, but it's not an adversarial one.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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If all of her money goes to the nursing home, you should try to have her income deposited into the QIT account directly. The QIT is a separate entity from your mother, and I can't imagine a scenario where a bank would try to offset a personal debt using the assets of a trust.
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I think the first question is whether or not the credit card is in default, or if payments are being made on it.

Second, I think the rights the bank has are likely stated in the terms and conditions it provides and which govern the accounts, as well as any constrained or enabled by statute.

This is a complex issue; I wouldn't even try to guess what the bank might do. But since you're worried, it might be a good idea to get a one time counsel from an attorney who specializes in finance, and specifically, consumer banking. Alternately, a bankruptcy attorney could probably address the issue.

I wouldn't think a bank that attempted to recover advanced funds should be considered "stupid enough to try" to recover those funds. It's a business, just like the nursing home, and is entitled to repayment.

Another option is to try to find a Florida agency that offers advice to residents on financial issues, something like our Elder Law of Michigan agency. Or you could try to find a Senior Center that has attorney days once a week or biweekly. You could get nominal, free advice from those sources.

I think you're wise to address this now, especially since your mother does have assets that can be seized if the credit card is in default.
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