Even though she and her husband had been married for 53 years, a Jacksonville, Florida widow has been unable to withdraw the money out of the savings account her husband had with a national bank.
Julia Bolena lost her husband about 16 months ago, and ever since has been fighting with the bank to try to recover the money in his savings account. Though the two had a joint checking account with the bank, the savings account was only in Mr. Bolena’s name and he had apparently not named his wife as the beneficiary. Additionally, Mrs. Bolena didn’t have financial power of attorney and was not named executor of her husband’s estate, two options that the bank said would have allowed her access.
What makes the case even more aggravating is that even though the two had apparently created a living trust, Mr. Bolena had never gotten around to transferring the savings account to it.
The $273 in the savings account could help Mrs. Bolena, who is operating off of a fixed income. Yet when she contacted the Florida probate clerk’s office, she learned that she would have to pay a fee of $250 for the court to issue her an appropriate authorization letter that would allow her to access the funds. Also, the bank has apparently been charging the account a small monthly fee.
While situations such as Ms. Bolena’s are not everyday affairs, they do highlight the importance of not only creating a comprehensive estate plan, but properly funding your living trust. Such problems are most common where people fail to plan or attempt to cut corners by seeking do-it-yourself or bargain basement solutions.