Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Big Issue

Okay, yikes. This is the big one.

My mother was concerned that if something happened to her that I couldn't get to her money. She wanted to make sure I had access. So, a few years ago, she put me on her accounts.

She filed bankruptcy in 2005 after my father died. She's on a very limited fixed income (SS, and as a SAHM for most of my life, it's not much) and has scraped and saved as much as she could to come up with what she calls her "burying money".

Well, she's saved more than she needs for that. And the problem is that technically it's "my" money. My name is on it. I could write a check with it or use a check card or simply transfer it to my own account at any time.

Trustees don't care about intent. It's money that they could legally take to pay off my unsecured debt.

I will NOT screw my mom over.

I asked her if she was mad. She's not. I feel horrible. However, I did actually get some advice from the lawyer about ways to protect it.

Option 1: Open a new account, without my name, and wait a year to file.

This isn't really an option for us. If nothing else works, we'll have to make it work, but I don't see us waiting that long.

Option 2: They can't really do anything if she spends the money.

According to the lawyer they can't do anything if she decides to spend the money. If she prepays her end of life expenses, pays off her car, etc. they can't do anything about it.

I hate telling her she has to spend the money she's saved. And any money she has after that is possibly at risk, at least until our filing date. After that he said we could win the lottery and they can't touch it. The filing date is the day they go by.

I hope to do some more research and come up with some better options. I'm just not sure how that will work.

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