Daughter Is Put On Elderly Mom's Bank Account
Putting a sibling's name on Mom's bank account can be a very bad idea. The solution seemed simple, as Mom was in poor physical and mental health. Daughter Amy was put on as a joint owner on Mom's $300,000 account. Amy's three brothers thought it was a good plan so that Mom's bills could be paid and her medical needs could be taken care of.
Brothers Believe Mom's Wealth Will Be Split Up
Besides that, Amy's brother Todd observed that when Mom died, Amy could split up the remainder of Mom's wealth with the siblings. That way no probate proceedings would be necessary when Mom dies because all her assets would be in Amy's bank in the joint accounts with Amy's name on them.
The brothers were in for a surprise when Mom died and Amy claimed the entire quarter of a million dollars left in Mom's bank account.
"Mom Wanted Her To Have It"
Amy said Mom wanted her to get the bank accounts. The brother said that Mom wanted all four children to get ¼ each as shown by Mom's Will, which said that.
The judge decided against the brother, ruling that Minnesota Law presumes that joint accounts are owned by the survivor on the account. The court noted that Minnesota Law required the brother to prove "by clear and convincing evidence" that Mom did not intend that Amy should get the joint accounts.
While there was conflicting evidence, the judge said it was largely a "he-said-she said" dispute and the brother did not prove that high standard of evidence that the law required.
A Lesson To Others
The case is a good lesson to the unwary that while it may have been convenient to put a child on the accounts, it could cost the other children their entire inheritance when the parent dies.
A better approach is to consult with an estate planning attorney and make a plan that provides both for the care of the parent and for the children's inheritance after the death of the parent.
Bill Peterson is a Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney with over 40 years of experience as a lawyer. He can help you plan for the future by creating a Minnesota Estate Plan. For more information, please visit http://www.mnestateplan.com or call toll free at 952-641-7312.
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