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I have been added to my mom's checking/savings as an owner in order to pay her bills. At tax time, will this be considered my income?

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I received a notice of inheritance from the state of PA based on the balance in my mothers checking and savings account - I am only listed a s a co-signer on the accounts and had my name added as a co-signer 5 days before my father died. I was only added to help out my mom if she needed it and to be able to access her safe deposit box at the bank if needed. I have not received any money from their estate but was assed this tax on both bank accounts ($207.04 from the savings and $109.88 from the checking account) Have you ever heard of something like this and is this legitimate - I am in the process of trying to contact someone with the state of PA to challenge it.

Thanks for any input on this matter.
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Thanks, everyone.
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It will not affect your mother if she needes Medicaid to have your name on her accounts as long as all the money is all hers and you are using it for her benefit. However, you don't want her name on an account that has your money in it.
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Katie - Who's SS# is the account under? The SS# is what is tied to ownership and that is the # tied for IRS and all other reporting.

I am on my mom's bank account and was on all her accounts as a co-signer (this would be your "check writing privileges") from the time my dad died in the 1980's. My mom is on Medicaid in Texas and in a NH now too. All accounts were with me as co-signer NOT co-owner and all POD. When mom went into IL a few years ago, I started consolidating her accounts, CD's etc to have all going to 1 single traditional checking account which gets direct deposit of her SS and retirement. Having them POD (pay on death) is good as when she dies, I can just go and clear it out (more on this below) with no issues. You or whomever is the POD, can just go and empty out the account and clear it to zero and it does NOT go to probate as it is not an asset of her estate. If you end up needing Medicaid, probate is the mechanism through which Medicaid does MERP - the Medicaid estate recovery program - for most states.

I would not do a true co-owner (your SS #) as then the account is co-mingled and this could be an issue later on if you end up applying for Medicaid.

Keep in mind, that you should always keep whatever mom gets in SS monthly as a reserve in the account at all times. SS pays forward so if she dies before SS is aware and SS pays the next month, they will do a "claw-back". If the $ is not there, you get NSF charges and in general this is a real pain in the butt to deal with.

About the DPOA, is this a big banking group? Some of the bigger banks just will not recognize DPOA's or do notary work anymore because of legal challenges from unhappy family. For my mom, I bank with a smaller community based bank as this is not such an issue for them. They may ask you to have your own personal account (under your SS#) at the bank that is linked to mom's account - I did this and it was good for managing her account years ago to on-line pay for items for her. Now that she is Medicaid, I don't do this anymore as all her $ but her $ 60 a month personal needs allowance gets paid to the NH.

I'd also suggest that you sign up to do all on-line features on mom's account, like send a e-statement to your siblings. This can be especially good if later on there is disagreement with family on how mom's $ is being spent years from now.
Good luck and keep a sense of humor in all this!
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Thanks. I certainly didn't consider the Medicaid aspect of it. I have DPOA but bank doesn't recognize it. The bank said I had to be added to her accounts in order to pay her bills, transfer money, etc. I had the choice of "owner" or "check writing privileges". Can someone tell me how to legally set this up?
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It's not income and even if she gave you money, it can be up to 13k/yr non-taxable. However, if you plan to apply for Medicaid in the next 5 years, get your name off those accounts! Get DPOA (not just POA) and let the bank copy it for their records. Pay by check and nobody will turn down the pmt for bills if your name looks different...
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