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My mom has a cousin that wants to add her to his bank accounts. Is there a catch? Long Story (1 Viewer)

WDIK2

Footballguy
This is probably a lawyerguys questions.  Short story long:

My mom gets together once a month with cousins on her side of the family.  One of those cousins in a life-long bachelor in his early 70s with no kids.  He really likes my mom because she "has a good head on her shoulders" and has had a stable life.  This is true.  That side of the family has some interesting family dynamics and issues, while my parents have been married for ~56 years with 3 kids that have turned out pretty well.

A few months ago this cousin approached my mom in private about adding her as a joint holder on his bank accounts.  His reasoning is that he wants her to have his money and thinks this will avoid some legal issues and costs when he does pass on.  When my mom pointed out that she is actually a few years older than him he said, "No problem, we can add your kids too."  Supposedly he's ran this all by his lawyer.  :shrug:  

The only stipulations I've heard is that we donate $X to a couple charities he's involved in, and that we clean out his apartment and dispose of his possessions when he passes away.    :oldunsure:  

Is there a "catch" to any of this?  I've never met the guy.  My mom describes him as kind of "quiet and a little eccentric".  He has traveled and paraglided all over the world.  Mom would have jumped in months ago, but my sisters and I are being more cautious.  My younger sister is supposed to talk to a lawyer friend about the situation.

I have no idea how much money we are talking about here.  He says it's "pretty substantial", but that is up to interpretation.  (My sisters and I aren't running out to buy Lambos just yet).  I got a text this morning from mom asking if it was OK to give him my contact information because he is meeting with his lawyer Friday (tomorrow) and wants to add us to his will.  We are going to meet with him in the next couple of weeks to talk things over.

That's pretty much all the info I have, so I can't really answer any questions yet.  Any huge "red flags"?  One thing we talked about was if this guy ended up in a long term care facility if there was any way we could end up financially responsible.

Pretty busy at work, but will try to check in later.  Whatcha got? 

 
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the moops

Footballguy
Talk to an estate attorney, not just any @Woz type attorney :)

Don't think just adding names as joint holders of the account avoids any potential legal issues. Need a will for that and even that won't avoid every potential issue

 

WDIK2

Footballguy
No real advice... just wanted to say how terrible is it that we are all so skeptical of people trying to be nice (myself included)
Very true.  Kind of sad that one of my first thoughts when mom first told me about it was, "what is the catch?"

 

ChiefD

Footballguy
I would think as long as he draws all of this up with an attorney it is fine. He is free to do whatever he wishes with this estate, and if your mom is the beneficiary that is cool. As part of that paperwork she would be probably be named executor and granted power of attorney over his back accounts and such so she can spend his money.

My mother-in-law went through this with an uncle of hers who basically wanted to reward her for being the only relative to ever keep in touch with him. He had his lawyer draw up all the paperwork and it's all ready to go.

 
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Juxtatarot

Footballguy
One meaningful advantage of a joint account over a POD is if you guys needed to withdraw his money to help him if he were incapacitated. As the name implies, you can’t do that with a Payable On Death.

 
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kupcho1

Footballguy
I got a text this morning from mom asking if it was OK to give him my contact information because he is meeting with his lawyer Friday (tomorrow) and wants to add us to his will. 
This got me thinking as to what information is required to open/be added to a bank account.  SSN is on the list, no?

:shock:

 

WDIK2

Footballguy
I would also have him list in the will any heirs he specifically wants to have none of his money.
Never married and no kids.  Has other cousins and some step siblings with whom he has no contact.  Should they be specifically excluded?

I have thought about potential legal challenges from other relatives, but it sounds like he's trying to get that taken care of.  He has his reasons for wanting my mom to have it. 

For all I know his "assets" could consist of a shoe box full of buy one get one coupons to Denny's.  :excited:  

 

Dezbelief

Footballguy
Never married and no kids.  Has other cousins and some step siblings with whom he has no contact.  Should they be specifically excluded?

I have thought about potential legal challenges from other relatives, but it sounds like he's trying to get that taken care of.  He has his reasons for wanting my mom to have it. 

For all I know his "assets" could consist of a shoe box full of buy one get one coupons to Denny's.  :excited:  
I will concede to any legal professionals' knowledge. I know of a case in Texas where a woman had many children (10 or 12), two children were purposely left out and not mentioned. They contested the will which drew out settling the estate. It looked like they were going to get some of the estate until a document in which the executor and the deceased had been making notes back and forth came to light. On that paper the executor had asked specifically about those two children. The deceased mother had written that she wanted those two children to receive nothing of hers.

My mom ran into issues when her common law husband passed away and his will didn't specifically exclude his son even though everything was left to her. She got half.

Edit- if a defect is found in the will most judges will still look to it to see the intent of the deceased.

 
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Juxtatarot

Footballguy
I will concede to any legal professionals' knowledge. I know of a case in Texas where a woman had many children (10 or 12), two children were purposely left out and not mentioned. They contested the will which drew out settling the estate. It looked like they were going to get some of the estate until a document in which the executor and the deceased had been making notes back and forth came to light. On that paper the executor had asked specifically about those two children. The deceased mother had written that she wanted those two children to receive nothing of hers.

My mom ran into issues when her common law husband passed away and his will didn't specifically exclude his son even though everything was left to her. She got half.
Unlike a will, a joint account and/or payable on death designation would be extremely hard to contest.
 

 

Mrs. Rannous

Footballguy
While you are doing the estate lawyer stuff, make sure your mother gets Power of Attorney and Medical PoA.  If he becomes incapacited (such as in a coma), someone will likely need to access his accounts to pay bills, or whatever.  If he has a Safe Deposit Box, MAKE SURE YOUR MOM AND SOMEONE ELSE ARE ON THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACCESS.  Otherwise, the legal fun could be pretty bad.

My parents put me on their account as having access and the checking account was Payable on Death to me.  I still had to go through probate, but it sped up that part.  It also made money immediately available for cremation, etc.

 

msudaisy26

Footballguy
This is just my theory, but I think this is legit. I think your mom's cousin has probably got some bad medical news recently(or just hit 70 and that was the age he considers old) and he is probably the type of person that doesn't want to trouble anyone if he passes, but also wants to make sure his assets go where he wants it to go. One of my grandpas was like this. 

The only thing I can add other than my opinion above is if he does fall ill and your mom does have to pay for things or he does insist that she use the account as her money that she does all the transactions on a bank/debit card or checks. No cash. It makes thing much easier if there is a contest on a will or if he is scamming her. 

 

Dinsy Ejotuz

Footballguy
Check with a lawyer, but it seems likely he's doing her a big favor IMO.  Especially if she's the executor and/or will spend money out of those accounts when he passes.

(PSA:  if you have someone you trust get all this #### wired way ahead of when you'll need it.  Having been through courts recently to get guardianship and settle an estate it's a big PITA even if the paperwork is in order.)

 
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Mrs. Rannous

Footballguy
(PSA:  if you have someone you trust get all this #### wired way ahead of when you'll need it.  Having been through courts recently to get guardianship and settle an estate it's a big PITA even if the paperwork is in order.)
More importantly, if you have the paperwork in order, you shouldn't have to get guardianship.  It's a MAJOR PITA.  My lawyer did everything she could think of to avoid it, but no dice.

 

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