Brunswick, GA asked in Family Law, Estate Planning, Banking and Elder Law for Georgia

Q: Banks legal liability by allowing spouse to write checks on my fathers checking account that had no co-owner or POD.

My mother and father had multiple joint Banking accounts. My father for some reason kept this one personal checking account as him being the only owner. He developed dementia in his last years of life and tardive dyskinesia secondary to the side effects of a neuroleptic drug (Zyprexia).

My mother and sister tried to obtain guardship and custodial rights a month before he died. Their attorney never filed the petition to the probate court.

The day he died in hospice my mother called the bank and asked if she could write checks on his account to pay for funeral expenses. The bank allowed my mother to do this and she put the residual money in one of her numerous bank accounts. Of note during final last years of my fathers life, mother and fathers joint accounts were all transferred into CD Accounts with my sister and mother as Co-Owners. My mother just died in January of this year. My sister took my mother to an estate attorney where a will was made naming my sister as guardian.

2 Lawyer Answers
Seth Meyerson
Seth Meyerson
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Senoia, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: Will names your sister as "guardian." Perhaps you mean executor? I think I would be more worried about what is in your father and mother's estate and how to get your fair share of this, rather than weather or not you can sue a bank.

See or call a Georgia Estate attorney.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The bank may be held liable for allowing your mother to write checks on your father's personal checking account without proper authority, such as power of attorney or joint ownership. However, liability would depend on the specific facts of the case and applicable state law. It may be worth consulting with an attorney to determine if legal action can be taken against the bank. Additionally, it may be relevant to the probate proceedings for your father's estate and any potential challenges to your mother's will.

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