Can an individual freeze a bank account that their name is not on?

UPDATED: Feb 20, 2012

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Can an individual freeze a bank account that their name is not on?

My wife, acting as POA for her dying father, combined his and his wife’s saving and checking accounts into one account in her name. She did it in order to pay bills, etc. when her father died. Her stepmother is medically unable to to carry out those duties. However, her stepbrother wrote and signed a letter saying she inappropriately moved the funds and alleged misappropriation of those funds which was not the case as our records support. He signed the letter with his name and added “Attorney at Law” (although he does not have a license to practice law in the state). Without telling us the bank froze the account.

Asked on February 20, 2012 under Estate Planning, West Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

He did not freeze the account.  He challenged your wife's actions and the bank froze the account so that they will not be held liable should he succeed in proving his allegations.  You need an attorney to help you asap.  If she had authority to combine the accounts from her step mother and POA from her to do so and she can prove that she did not breach any duty then you are clear here.  You just need some muscle of your own.  Good luck.

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