US Bank policy preys on grieving families. Is US Bank keeping accounts of deceased for months, years?

If your parents have an account at US Bank® you might want to get your name on the account as a joint holder, or get them to switch banks.  If you don’t it could be bad for you when they die!  Allow me to share my sad tale.

My mom was fiercely independent, like a lot of elderly folks, and didn’t put my siblings or my names on her accounts as joint holders. So now that she has passed away US Bank will not close her account unless my sibling and I come into a bank branch together!  My attorney tried to explain to US Bank that California probate law says our notarized signatures are sufficient. US Bank said they were sorry, they have a corporate policy.  Period.  No discussion, no exceptions.   To close an account a personal appearance at the bank is required, by all heirs, together at the same bank branch, and at the same time!  Yes, you read that right, everyone, together, same time, same place.  The local “bankers” and even the branch manager can’t override this policy, in fact it appears to me they aren’t permitted to make any real decisions on their own at all.  All decisions come from a nameless person they call on the phone who won’t talk directly with customers.

So I’m going to have to drive 9 hours up to where my sibling lives, spent 2 nights in a hotel on the trip, go to the bank with my sibling, then drive 9 hours back home.  It will cost me hundreds of dollars in gas, food, hotels, and of course time that could be spent on things that actually help people, like this website. Until then I can’t close out my mom’s estate because of this stupid little checking account with US Bank. My mom had 3 other accounts with major banks (like Wells Fargo) and all of them were very cooperative and closed the accounts long ago. Only US Bank have been jerks about this. Don’t find out too late like me!!!  Can you imagine someone who has multiple siblings living all over the country, trying to coordinate and pay for them to all appear together?!!  Makes me wonder how much dead people’s money a huge bank like US Bank has on their books at any given time?  1,000 dead people with only $1000 per account would be a million dollars!

Note that having power of attorney will not help you.  I had that, your power of attorney ends the second someone dies.  As best I can tell you have to be a joint account holder to avoid this mess.

Consider passing this warning along to your friends who have elderly relatives, maybe you can save them from what I am going through.  I’ve really just barely touched on it here, the details would amaze you, but sharing them would invade my family’s privacy.

Shame on US Bank, preying on grieving relatives with unreasonable demands!

(This is an editorial/opinion piece based on personal experience.)