Much of estate planning is taking steps now to minimize potential problems that might arise after you die. For one Jacksonville, Florida widow, her late husband’s Wells Fargo savings account has been off-limits to her since he has died even though the two were married for 53 years.
Julia Bolena’s husband died about 16 months ago and, ever since then, she has been trying to access the account funds. Though the two were joint account holders on their Wells Fargo checking account, she was apparently not listed as a joint account holder or as a transfer on death beneficiary for his savings account. He also apparently failed to transfer the account to the trust the couple had established.
When Bolena tried to access the money in the account the bank prevented her from doing so because she was not a joint account holder, executor, and didn’t have a financial power of attorney.
Further complicating the matter is the fact that when she called the local probate court clerk’s office, the clerk informed her that it could issue her a letter directing the bank to allow her to access the funds but it would cost $250. Unfortunately, the account only had $273 in it. To Ms. Belinda, who operates off of a small fixed income, that money is not insignificant but she has no effective way of obtaining it. Additionally, Wells Fargo continues to charge the account a small fee every month.