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Old 04-23-2007, 11:59 AM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 23,899,346 times
Reputation: 5787

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Having worked in the banking industry AND having seen what some banks do at the time of death, I've always told all of my family that before they shed a tear to head straight for the bank and get the money out. There are several reasons why.

The banks CAN and DO put a freeze on accounts of people that die. Many have on staff people that read the obits daily and look up to see if they are account holders and if so freeze the account(s). This prevents ANYONE, even another signer on the account from being able to use those funds. What if those funds are needed to make the mortgage payment, buy groceries, pay utilities, etc. The family already had enough to deal with without having to deal w/ mortgage companies, utilities, etc because they could not pay their bills or the check bounced. The funds can also be needed to pay for burial but if they are frozen they can not be touched until a will has been probated, another expense.

This happened to my father when my grandfather passed away. My dad was the sole heir and both my parents were signers on my grandfathers account. When my grandfather turned in the signature card at the bank the lady there thought he was being "forced" to do so so she did not file it. So when he died, not owing a dang penny to anyone, SHE FROZE HIS ACCOUNTS! The ONLY way my parents could get access to those funds was by having the will probated, something that they would not have had to do IF she had not frozen the accounts and had properly filed the signature card. They needed the money to pay the cemetery but had to go get into their own savings to pay them until they could get the will probated. They tried to write a check out of my grandfathers account but it would not clear as the funds were frozen.

If the funds are frozen there is no way that ANY survivor/heir can use those funds to pay ANY bills if they wanted to. If the heirs were signers on the account they have every right to the funds. I'd rather they get it than a person that knows NOTHING about the situation freeze it to prevent the family from being able to take care of whatever business needs to be taken care of. I'd also rather the family not have to spend any more money than neccasary on attorneys to have wills probated so that the funds can be released. While the funds are frozen NO ONE GETS PAID! If the bills were in one name solely w/o any other party being liable there is no way that they can be forced to pay.

This is also one HUGE reason why ALL assets including bank accounts should be in the name of a family living trust. The account NEVER changes hands, the only thing that changes is the owner/trustee of the trust.

 
Old 04-23-2007, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Northern MN
592 posts, read 1,978,753 times
Reputation: 329
Quote:
Originally Posted by christina0001 View Post
I think it's criminal. If your in-laws are destitute and can barely afford to eat, I can understand and sympathize why they would do this. But because of situations like this, we all have to pay higher prices for healthcare. Your sister in law received the services, and if her estate is able to cover even a little of the cost, it should.
Sounds like felony theft to me...not only to the individual dying, but to the taxpayers across this country..Christina puts it best..
 
Old 04-23-2007, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Between Here and There
3,684 posts, read 8,491,012 times
Reputation: 1603
Quote:
Originally Posted by christina0001 View Post
I think it's criminal. If your in-laws are destitute and can barely afford to eat, I can understand and sympathize why they would do this. But because of situations like this, we all have to pay higher prices for healthcare. Your sister in law received the services, and if her estate is able to cover even a little of the cost, it should.
Totally agree with this. One of the reasons that health insurance is going up and becoming less affordable is because the insured are paying for people like this who cheat the system.
 
Old 04-28-2007, 12:26 AM
 
Location: Warwick, NY
1,172 posts, read 4,373,962 times
Reputation: 899
Quote:
Originally Posted by irishmom View Post
Totally agree with this. One of the reasons that health insurance is going up and becoming less affordable is because the insured are paying for people like this who cheat the system.
A system which is designed to leave every single person who passes through it destitute at death. We have created an adversarial system of health care. The people who are the gatekeepers of care are the very people who stand the most to gain by denying the patient that very care. It's absurd. Corporations have a duty to make profits any and every way they legally can. The less they pay, the more profit they make. They care about you, the insured, only inasmuch as how much profit they can make off of you.

THAT is not the way to run a healthcare system. The vast majority of people have no way or means to care for those who need long term or catastrophic care. As it is currently, a person who needs this sort of care must spend down all their savings, sell their belongings, sell their home, and become destitute to qualify for Medicaid. If they're smart, they put their assets into a trust or transfered them to a trusted family member at least three years before they began to need that kind of care.

It is an embarassment to our society that we force our elderly and very ill to become impoverished to stay alive or receive proper long term medical care.

Complain about socialized medicine all you want, our health care system is NOT the best in the world unless you are very rich and can hand-pick your providers; something we patients increasingly can't do. Our physicians are leaving their practices too. They can't make money with what HMOs are paying them and the insurance companies are charging them for malpractice. Would you like an HMO to come into your office and tell you that you can't spend more than 10 minutes on a patient and you need to push them through like an assembly line? It's not just the patients who have issues, physicians themselves are at a breaking point. Other countries now have better health care under a national system and there's no reason we couldn't afford it if our congress and president would get a handle on spending overall. That's a separate issue, but as it is now, France, Scandinavia, and The Netherlands have systems that outrank ours on just about every level of care there is.

GenX on down won't have Social Security and won't have Medicare by the time they retire. They will be paying for all their health care out-of-pocket. Given that medical costs are greatly outpacing just about every other measure of inflation, they will not have any care at all.

It's time to bite the bullet and prioritize our needs as a society.
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