For several reasons, I've been keeping Mom's checking and savings accounts open. My older sister and I were both on the account, so that we could write checks for her whether she was in Ocean City or at Leisure World. Now, however, it's time to close them; there is no reason to keep them open anymore.
So I went to the Bank of America website to find out how to close the account. I figured I'd be able to go to a page, click a radio button, and voila! Account closed!
I could either call them so that they could "understand why" and "help" me, or I could write them a letter specifying the account numbers, phone number, and address where they should send the funds. Oh yeah, and it had to be signed by all account holders.
My older sister lives in Ocean Pines, about 150 miles from me, and Mom is... not available. But okay, I get why they want all the signatures. I drafted a letter with all the info, attached a death certificate (since Mom can't exactly sign anything), and took it with me the next time we went to the beach. My sister was happy to sign the letter. I asked her if she wanted half of the money, and she said no -- I should just keep it.
Off the letter went.
Three weeks later, I got a response. I figured it was a check for the remaining funds.
It was a letter. The opening sentence -- and I am not lying -- is:
While we understand this is a difficult time, we need additional documentation to close the accounts.
This heartfelt sentiment is followed by a checklist of various documents, from certified court documents to corporate resolutions. One box in the list is checked. It says we need, and I quote, "a notarized letter from the joint account holder(s) authorizing the closure of the accounts. If one of the two surviving would like to relinquish their rights to the funds in the accounts, we would need a letter stating that as well."
So now I have to write another letter (because I stupidly did not save the first one, because I stupidly did not think I would need it again) with EXACTLY THE SAME INFORMATION that was in the first, and add the line about my sister being okay with me taking all the dough, drive down to Ocean City, get with my sister, find and go to a notary, sign the damn letter, have it notarized, pay the notary, and send the whole shebang back to Bank of America.
Or, have my sister:
- write a letter authorizing the closure and relinquishing the money,
- get it notarized, and
- send it to me.
I could then write my own letter and have it notarized, and then send both to good old BofA.
Either way, it's a big pain in the ass.
Meanwhile, I'm paying a $25 buck monthly fee to keep the accounts open.
Oh, yeah -- know how much money is in these accounts? A grand total of $56.75.
At least they gave me a postage-paid return envelope. Wasn't that nice?