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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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I am going through this as well dealing with my deceased mother's mortgage. First they send the escrow refund check to the adress of a house that has been sold and after weeks of sending them documents they are flat out telling me they will not accept an Illinois Small Estate Affidavit. The rep flagrantly flouted the law on the phone as they are required to accept a valid SEA. Unfortunately you often don't have a choice who your mortgage servicer is but your other accounts I would save yourself and your loveones the stress and headache and avoid Bank of America. There is a reason they are the leader in CFPB complaints.

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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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Inducing customer confusion and dilatory tactics seem the norm at more and more banks these days. What better way to steal free use of money? It's easy and almost always goes unpunished. The Probate Court Order, typicially codified as Letters Testimentary, but not less than 60 days old (sometimes accepted if older, but easily renewed) is, idealistically, considered irrefutable proof the Executor or Personal Representative has all rights which the decedent would have otherwise had. On occasion is submit the Court Order with the Letters. Even AARP's United Health Care representatives have claimed "Well, our attorney is reviewing the Letters Testimentary and that will take a few weeks" as a delaying tactic. My advice for holders of a LT is to immediately become very firm and explain there is no "attorney review" when it comes to following a Court Order. The reason is simple - the time for attorney protest or objection passed when the initial probate filing was made. When a person cannot understand the principle or get their attorney's go ahead within a day, I then file with the Court and advise the contempt and ask for any sanctions the judge deems appropriate. So far, knock on wood, we have never litigated any further than this, but there are always the most arrogant bankers to deal with - and they do get sued and some even get jailed. The legal point is simple - it the bank didn't object you becoming Executor during proceedings, they cannot object now without meeting a very high burden of proof, unimaginable in and of the types of transactions described here. For a recent multi-million dollar estate involving three banks and multiple accounts at each, the run around was universal. In each case, we submitted all of the necessary and sufficient documents under law and then held our ground. I am sad to report this approach does very little to make the process any faster (but it is efficient for the Estate); and, whether or not an attorney is involved is of marginal difference (unless, I suppose, the layman Executor appears to be incompetant). Here is how the story worked out after almost 6 months: The first financial institution, a regional bank where the decedent held considerable shares of stock in the same bank, delayed and dragged until, the fact the decedent's Estate was a major shareholder seemed to wake them up - check received after only 5 months, with branch manager calling to apologize for her oversight. I do not recommend buying stock in your bank to get better treatment, especially BofA. The second financial institution, with $100K in decedent name and another $50 in wife/heiress name, was recalcitrant, never giving last names and continually inconsistent with respect to which and what documents they claimed they needed. In the end, again, they finally admitted just shy of a show cause motion (contempt of court filing) they confessed to the true fact they had always been in full receipt and posession of all the necessary and sufficient instruction letter, certified (original) Death Certificate, timely delivered Letters Testimentary, and Afficavit of Domicile (technically not required but avoids any phony excuses and challenges). The bank's agent, suddenly displaying a 180 degree change of attitude, advised their decision as if it was a favor to us (and as if they had discretion in the matter); but, then pushed hard to simply into the account belonging to the heiress (widow). He claimed in the course of researching the matter he discovered other account numbers. We explained the animus his institution showed delaying and putting the Estate through hoops and preparing extra court filings for such a simple transaction barred doing any futher business. We then provided instructions to close the widow's account, too. There was dead silence on the line. It is amazing to think after gaming the withdrawal to the max time limit and flirting with comtempt of court, they actually believed they could continue a business relationship. Contumatious!!! The agent has promised the check is in the mail. If not received there will be motions and real litigation. And, finally,  there is BofA, the long pole in the tent in this story and subject of this forum. Imagine incredible confusion and poor communications, making me speculate whether anyone can write letters this unclear without actually trying to be confusing and misleading. Computer generated letters spew out and arrive with redundant and lengthy lists of hypothetically required documents, many of which allegedly must be obtained from the bank and are not available on their website. All of the above should be considered by readers as not particularly surprising. For elderly people, I hope they will consider the record of how financial institutions handle estates but this is seldom the case and most people die thinging their affairs are in order and the transision should be a smooth one. For BofA, in the end, either they will send a check or keep several hundred thousand dollars in high net worth client money and then face a court battle where we will petition for secondary damages. They already held the money (hundreds of thousands of dollars) during one of the strongest rises in stock prices in recent history, leaving some speculating whether this is the reason banks won't release estate money and so many cut back the size of their estate handling staffs. In any case, we have proof of what we delivered to BofA and when; moreover, they will not be receiving other documents simply to make it appear we caused the problem, not them. The elaborately structured mess called BOA estate department(s) may spell the future expectations for Exeutors and Personal Representatives.

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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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What is going on at Bank of America? As the executor trying to close an account for my mother's estate, this is endless and is costing BOA a ton of money in employee time.   It's obvious that when you are 92 and die in an Alzheimers/Dementia Unit you will not have the following: drivers license & electric bill!!!  I have been asked for these documents twice.  They have received my mother's death certificate stating where she resided at the time of her death and that she is actually dead. The death certificate and Register of Wills document were transmitted to the corporate office through the local branch.  This account isn't even big bucks, yet they are trying to squeeze it out for as long as possible.  My wise mother had many bank accounts and this is the only one that cannot be closed!  Unbelievable!!

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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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The best advice I have to offer after the loss of my Dear Mother, who had a Will, a Trust and a very organized final list of wishes, talk to an Estate Attorney as soon as possible! It's a small price to pay to have someone file the necessary paperwork with the state, and give you papers in hand to go deal with financial institutions and others! Once the banks see you have an attorney on board, they are less inclined to give you the runaround! I can't stress enough how this saved us so much trouble during our time of grief! 

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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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I am having issues with the BOA Estate Unit. My dad passed away in February 2017. BOA requested his be probated which was done. All documents that were necessary were submitted to the bank including the death certificate and His Will. Having great difficulty trying to close out the checking account and obtain the funds. It has been four (4) months and there continues to be delays. A very frustrating matter.
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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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I am having a similar issue involving the estate unit. Mine involves a CD that has come due after both my parents have passed away. I have been trying for 2 months to get the info I need to have that money released to my siblings and I. Maybe AARP should investigate.

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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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Message 7 of 10
I m having the same problem as I write
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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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I am currently assisting by brother to obtain a checking account his deceased wife had with BOA. What a circus. You would think they were underwriting a mortgage loan. 1st they would not accept his Short Certificates because in the state of NJ when a spouse dies with out a will they are called Affidavit of Surivining Spouse. I cleared up that issue for him. Next the Death Certificate contained an incorrect birth year for the deceased (they check Lexus Nexus). Got that corrected. Next the joint 2014 income Tax Return was deposited after her death into the account. They wanted a statement from the IRS that no parts of that deposit is to be refunded back. Had to go to the iRS to get a print out that the deposit was in fact a tax refund. That was done 18 hours ago . My bother is now waiting on their decision if they will release the account to him. This process began on April 29, 2015.
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Re: Bank of America Estate Unit

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Message 9 of 10

js,  I am officially kicked off of here as of March for criticizing aarp and its business practices.   But maybe I can sneak this in real quick:

 

If I am understanding you,  you are saying it took BOA two months to re-title the accounts in the name of your mother's estate,  right?  I agree,  once  the administrator (executrix) has received the new tax # for the estate from the IRS,  and the administrator has received his/her Letter of Appointment from the local court,  no bank should have any excuse for that long delay in re-titling the accounts.  (Actually,  in some states,  you don't have to wait to get the tax # from the IRS,  you can just write in "Applied For",  and banks must accept that as temporary authorization to open account)

 

However,  you are confusing me when you speak of the bank "releasing" the funds in the accounts.  Once the account is in the name of the estate,  you,  as administrator or executor,  should sign the new signature card (for checking) so you can legally write the checks necessary to pay the bills that need to be paid before the estate is formally closed.   

 

Once all bills have been paid and the final tax returns filed for decedent (and also separate return for the estate itself) then the distribution of assets (closing the estate) can commence. 

 

So,  technically,  there is no "releasing" of funds by banks prior to that. 

 

It is customary for banks and other financial institutions to require eyeballing original documents and refusing to accept photocopies,  faxes,  scans,  etc.    Keep in mind,  documents coming from the local probate courts carry the seal (medallion) which cannot be verified unless viewing originals.   But,  clearly,  bank officers should certainly tell you exactly what you must bring in,  so you don't waste time making wasted trips back and forth.

 

Other than that,  can you clarify what you mean by BOA foot-dragging   - am wondering if this is yet another result of all the drastic layoffs and other re-structuring changes made by BOA in recent months that is making them just about the most unpopular Bank in the U.S.  (?) 

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Bank of America Estate Unit

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Message 10 of 10

I have had a terrible time closing my deceased mother's accounts at Bank of America.  Their Estate Unit handles this, and delays the withdrawal of funds by not asking for all the materials they need at once.  They also don't tell you that you can bring documents to a branch to have them scanned in, or that there is an "escalation process" to get the money out quicker.  They also have multiple departments in the Estate Unit, and once your Case goes to the "Deposits Unit", you have no way to reach them without holding for more than 30 minutes.  It took more than 2 months to close three small accounts.  I truly believe the Bank of America has installed a standard operating procedure in their Estate Unit which is designed to delay release of funds.

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