Author Topic: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?  (Read 3837 times)

DesireeD

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Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« on: December 28, 2014, 12:47:31 PM »
   My grandparent just asked me if I could be added to their checking, savings, and investment accounts in case they needed someone to take care of things. She doesn't have any debt, but does have investments and properties. I told her that the executor of her estate should be added, not me. She has 3 living children and 11 other grandchildren, but has no will.
    I have told her to get a will made up. What risks do I incure being added to someone's account? If she bounces checks or whatnot would I be liable?
    What should I do?

Future Lazy

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2014, 12:56:58 PM »
Even though she has 3 other children and 11 other grandchildren, she must trust you quite a bit to ask you to do the honors. Adding your name to all the accounts does the same thing as making you beneficiary - if she croaks, it's all yours.

However, you're right, you definitely want to explore the liability side of it, especially with real estate involved. It might actually be better for you guys to go in and talk to a legal counsel about what the best thing to do is.

I would imagine the best thing to do is for her to have a will, and a living will, that name you her power of attorney, which would give you decision making power over her assets in the situation where she's unable/dead. Likewise, with a will, she can choose to leave all those assets to you (if that was her plan with putting your name on things), or not, without there being any question because your name is (or isn't) on her bank account.

I'm not a pro, though. Definitely talk to a pro, together.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2014, 03:44:10 PM »
My MIL tried this a while back and yes, according to the bank rep, you would be responsible for any bounced checks or other liabilities incurred on the account if you were on it.

So yes, y'all should go see a lawyer to get info on how to set up everything so you can help them (and step in) when necessary without it being a burden or liability to you or causing your grandparent any problems.

DesireeD

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2014, 03:56:55 PM »
    Thanks. Will get a will and poa drawn up.

GizmoTX

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2014, 04:09:22 PM »
You want to be added as an authorized user or trustee to banking accounts but never as an owner. Check with the institutions involved.

Your grandparent needs a current/recent will, health directive (living will), & springing power of attorney for health as well financial decisions (two separate documents). There should be more than one person named in each POA; in case the first named cannot serve, then a backup person can.

act01

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2014, 04:31:48 PM »
Are you comfortable taking on that duty in case something happens while they are still alive? Dementia, Alzheimer's, etc? It's a good idea for them to have an authorized user.

TerriM

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 08:22:20 PM »
In addition to what people said above, just adding you to an account (thereby essentially giving you the money) is probably a taxable event.  Trustee and power of attorney wouldn't be.

former player

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 06:41:25 AM »
I'm a bit concerned about the potential family dynamics for you.  Investments and properties means a fairly substantial amount of money.  Three living children and a total of 12 grandchildren means a lot of heirs and a potentially tricky distribution between the generations.  That is a lot of scope for a massive family fall-out.

So I would echo the advice given above.  Your grandmother must make a will.  If you are added to any of her accounts, or act under a power of attorney, you must keep meticulous financial records so that everything can be demonstrated to be above-board.

If there is even the slightest scope for someone to argue in the future about your grandmother's mental competence, or that she is acting under some kind of influence when making her will and granting power of attorney it would be a very good idea to have a doctor certify to her competence to act and to ensure that a lawyer has gone over the arrangements being made and preferably witnessed her signatures on everything.

If the above seems a bit like overkill, just spend a few minutes contemplating the scope for unending family ructions if you don't.  Best of luck with it all.

FarmerPete

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 06:57:58 AM »
No will and she wants to add you to the accounts?  Sounds like you just won the lottery.  Too bad your family will hate you forever.  Maybe you can buy a new family.

Catbert

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Re: Should I be added to my grandparents accounts?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2014, 10:28:10 AM »
I think adding you to the checking account might be a good idea.  You can pay their bills and keep an eye on things - assuming your willing.  Sometimes those springing POA due tor incapacitation aren't as quick and easy as they seem. 

There is no reason to be added to investment accounts or property.  A comprehensive estate plan (i.e., will, trust, POA for financial and health decisions, etc.) is the cleanest way to go.  They can also establish Pay on Death beneficiaries on IRAs, investment accounts, etc. if that's what they want.  It's much better from a tax perspective to "inherit" property/investments than to have it "gifted".