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One related aspect I came across in BC was what happens with the usual monthly bills when one spouse dies, if that spouse was the one in which the services are registered.

This happened with a woman we knew in the Okanogan. Her husband died and she was grieving while at the same time finding herself having to deal with transferring things like the phone bill, the internet bill, the electric bill, etc. all over to her name. Her stress level was through the roof. I tried to help her deal with some of this but of course for some things, the providers would INSIST 'no you can't speak for that person, that person has to deal with us directly'. Left unsaid was, 'even though she is in no condition to do so, we don't care.'

Now imagine she is grieving, they didn't have a lot of money, her finances are in a state of disarray as his pensions are suddenly not coming in, etc. and the electric company is saying to her, 'your husband's estate executor (he had no will and so no executor) will have to send us a certified copy of the death certificate and apply for a refund of the original deposit and have the account closed. We will turn off the power after receiving that.' She would then have to make sure she got her request in to have the power continued (like you do when you buy a house) and pay a new deposit for that to happen.

Imagine it. Her husband just died 2 weeks ago and some pimple faced 20 year old on the phone is telling her, 'it doesn't matter if the account has existed in your husband's name for 20 years and a payment has never been missed, OUR SYSTEM will not allow me to just change the name on the account and continue taking the payment by direct debit from your joint account that has also been paying the bill for the last 20 years.'

Apparently, this issue of changing over accounts when one spouse dies is a common one. Having gone through this in BC in trying to help this woman, when we moved to Ontario, we made sure to put EVERY account in our joint names. Some readers might want to consider making that change while they still are alive to do so and save their spouse some hassle down the road potentially.
 

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I have had worse. I was dealing with an issue with ICBC when my father died. They were aware that I had POA.

Incredibly, after his death I had two people at ICBC tell me that the POA was valid even after his death. And argue with me about it. I simply stopped dealing with them and heard nothing else from them.

There are some basics that people need to be aware of as it pertains to bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, etc. that can easily cause financial challenges after the death of a loved on. My learning....act quickly at the bank BEFORE providing them with a death certificate. We were able to transfer funds and get into the safety deposit box prior to the bank's lockdown on everything that is not joint AND on the safety deposit box.. After that we had to produce the probate approval documents.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Good advice Ian. Keep quiet about the death when dealing with financial institutions. I have a couple of accounts in my name only. But my wife has access to cards for those accounts and knows the p.i.n. numbers. I have told her to use the cards and simply draw the allowable $1,000 per day until nothing remains. Maybe then tell the bank.
 

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When my Mother died I had to empty an account in the UK that she kept some money in. I had signing authority on the account and simply went in and withdrew the money in full and told them to close the account. I did NOT mention that my Mother had died. They did ask why I was closing the account and I simply told them that my Mother had instructed me to do so. I did NOT elaborate. In case anyone is wondering why I went all the way to the UK to close the account, I went to take my Mother's ashes to be scattered there.

It shouldn't a genius to realize that if you tell a bank, a utility company, etc. that someone has died, they will immediately start telling you what their 'system' will and will not allow you to do.

In dealing with her bank accounts here in Canada, I did much the same thing. The difference was I did not have signing authority as such and so could not instruct them to close the account. So after I had got the money out, I then told them she was deceased. They asked me to provide them with a copy of the Death Certificate. I told them they could take my word for it or not, I really didn't care what they did. They wanted to follow their 'system' which told them to never close an account if possible, so they wanted to put a roadblock in the way of closing it. That's what they will always do if given a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
LTA, even a lack of signing authority need not be a roadblock. For one thing, it would probably be fair to say that if mummy were still alive, she would happily authorize you to sign on her behalf, checks or any other documents necessary to get things done sans fuss. Moreover, let's suppose you "forge" mummy's signature on certain documents. If mummy has passed on, will she then be available to deny her signature (not that she would have any reason to do so in any event)?

Not that my words here should be construed as committing the criminal offence of "counselling".
 

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At the end of the day I believe that intent, common sense, and obtaining more or less gain than would otherwise be the case would prevail over the ramifications from taking a common sense and expedient route to reach end of job.
 

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Sure. I think that the authorities and some businesses turn a blind eye in this area to practices that may not be correct but are expedient and make sense in the moment.

For example, my fathers bank contact made it VERY clear to us that she could not do anything until we submitted a death certificate to her. She made it clear, in so many words, what would happen after that. We were left in little doubt as to what my sister and/or I should do. Get to the safe deposit box and have a look while we could at any relevant documents. Move money electronically to joint accounts and then out to keep the funds from being frozen AND keep them from being subject to probate and probate tax. We routinely deposited checks made out to the estate of in our own accounts. No signature, just put them through the ATM.

I could be that she knew our family situation and knew that there would be no disputes. In fact she took the time to outline what she had experienced with other former clients whose families were at each others throat over the spoils and why the bank had to protect themselves by doing what they do.
 

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I completed the Probate process in BC. The process was straightforward and we did have to complete certain steps like seaching the provincial wills electronic datatbase, send copies of the will to various beneficiaries. Two of whom were our children. Did we give them a copy of the will or did they ask for it. No, we told them what was in it and what they would be getting. There were several other areas in the Probate process that I suspect we not examined. One that come to mind (as I recall) was the tax return question.

Everything went smoothly but we did 'cut' various corners when it made sense
 

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Good advice Ian. Keep quiet about the death when dealing with financial institutions. I have a couple of accounts in my name only. But my wife has access to cards for those accounts and knows the p.i.n. numbers. I have told her to use the cards and simply draw the allowable $1,000 per day until nothing remains. Maybe then tell the bank.
... I'm guessing you have never worked in area of Wills/Estate, as a lawyer and most definitely never worked for a bank. Those hyenas from the bank will stop at nothing to make life miserable for the surviving clients, stating "we're only doing our jobs". BULLLSH1T.
 

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Actually, the banking rep explained to us that the bank could be held liable if they released funds in excess of $10K (at that time) IF probate had not been completed. The basic issue is how would the person at the bank know that the person trying to withdraw funds prematurely is in fact a person who is a beneficiary. The person may have been a POA but that does not necessarily mean that he or she is a beneficiary, a beneficiary to the extent of the monies that he or she wants to grab, or indeed if the liabilities of the estate, tax or otherwise, exceed the asset value of the estate.
 

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When my Mother died I had to empty an account in the UK that she kept some money in. I had signing authority on the account and simply went in and withdrew the money in full and told them to close the account. I did NOT mention that my Mother had died. They did ask why I was closing the account and I simply told them that my Mother had instructed me to do so. I did NOT elaborate. In case anyone is wondering why I went all the way to the UK to close the account, I went to take my Mother's ashes to be scattered there.

It shouldn't a genius to realize that if you tell a bank, a utility company, etc. that someone has died, they will immediately start telling you what their 'system' will and will not allow you to do.

In dealing with her bank accounts here in Canada, I did much the same thing. The difference was I did not have signing authority as such and so could not instruct them to close the account. So after I had got the money out, I then told them she was deceased. They asked me to provide them with a copy of the Death Certificate. I told them they could take my word for it or not, I really didn't care what they did. They wanted to follow their 'system' which told them to never close an account if possible, so they wanted to put a roadblock in the way of closing it. That's what they will always do if given a chance.
not sure what value an empty account is to the bank. They generally will want to keep a deceased persons account open for a few months for the inevitable “last” cheque or direct deposit that may come through. Having to negotiate a cheque (rarer these days I admit) is more troublesome when there is no account.
 
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