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  1. Agreed. We tried to some degree. He was almost 84 years old when he divorced. Family tried to get him to get his affairs in order, but we did not go so far as to use the legal system to attempt to find him incompetent. We probably could have. He kept saying, "I'm going to live to be 100!" Well yeah......except he only made it to 87. Thanks for your insight, Tax_Counsel.
  2. Yes.... and I go back and re-read my original post, and it's obvious that I didn't have a clue what I was talking about. We "don't know what we don't know". My apologies for that. It was a sole owner account, and the ex-wife was POD. We never did obtain an actual copy of the Account Agreement, but the wording, description, names, dates, Case/Cause number, Estates Code citations, account number, etc... on the letter originally sent from our attorney, to the bank, was/is all correct. We have evidence of hand delivery, backed up by Post Office documentation that the Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested was executed. I'm a layman, but it would appear to me now that it's a matter of; 1) was the letter from our attorney adequate documentation/notification?, and 2) was the notification provided in a reasonable, timely fashion? Personally, I don't see how the documentation would not have been adequate, although it is just a formal letter, on law firm letterhead, from an attorney. As far as timely, we discovered that the bank received the hand delivery 7 days before the withdrawal. The Signed Return Receipt bank signature is dated 5 days prior to the withdrawal.
  3. We had a significant development today. My brother was able to visit directly with the (Texas) Chase Bank branch manager today, by phone: "The account showed that your Dad was sole owner and (ex-wife) was shown as POD. Any further request for information will need to come from your attorney and be directed to our legal department."
  4. I'm not sure that I understand enough about probate processes to give an educated answer. We were encouraged to use an Independent Administrator and Dad died without a will, hence no executor(?)..... if that makes any sense. I live over 1200 miles from the County/Bank/attorney where this all took place and my brother lives about 900 miles away. We tried to keep things moving but it was phone, fax, and email wherever possible and yes, it was slow. We couldn't walk into the law firm office every day and "push" them from a thousand miles away. Absolutely agree and up until a week ago..... these types of thoughts never even entered our minds. We may very well hire a new law firm in Fort Worth, or at least meet and do a consultation on all of this. However, we are going to wait a couple weeks in case Chase does respond, one way or the other. Maybe Chase Bank will mail us a copy of the Account Agreement! :-) The woman that took the funds recently bought a new house in Tarrant Co., TX.
  5. Over the course of the last week, my brother and I are starting to think our Estate/Probate attorney was "less than fully competent". Probate ended last Tuesday but we are sorting and sifting through all of the paperwork while we wait 10 days for Chase Bank to respond (or not). We are also continuing to gather new information. As of today, I am amazed that the attorney didn't get a copy of the original Account Agreement/Signature Card. On the other hand, the bank wouldn't release documents about the account without proof of a legal representative of the Estate which took 8 months to obtain as part of Probate. It is appearing that the attorney just "assumed" that it was a single owner multiple-party account when in fact the attorney did not know. (The Divorce Decree specifically mentions 4 accounts, 2 of "his" and 2 of "hers", each with 1 checking account and 1 savings account apiece) The attorney likely made the assumption since the money was in "his" checking account. We are still attempting to obtain a copy of the Account Agreement. Another road trip is being planned. The nearest Chase Bank branch is over 300 miles away. My apologies for inaccuracies in my first few posts. I didn't know the legal difference between single-owner vs multiple-owner vs joint owners and I was taking at "face value" the descriptions and explanations the probate attorney was giving. Lesson learned! Thanks again to everyone for assisting!
  6. I was asking a new question, a question specifically and solely with regard to a person using a name that did not appear to be officially or legally correct. I am not an attorney, but using the last name of "Wilson", when a Court has already ruled that your name is "Doe" appeared to me, a layperson, as being significant without any further context or details. I wondered if this act, and this act alone, could be considered an offense and seemed to fit this sub-section of the forum. Tax_Councel has answered that the person was not trying to impersonate someone else, had in-fact identified themself and therefore the use of "Wilson" or "Doe" is basically insignificant absent context, ..... which answered my question.
  7. A woman gets married and changes her name from Jane Marie Doe to Mrs. Jane Marie Wilson. Several years later, she gets divorced. Stipulations in the Final Divorce Decree state that her name is hereby returned to what it was prior to marriage, Jane Marie Doe. Three years after the divorce, Jane Marie Doe goes into the bank that still maintains an account for her ex-husband (and on which she was at one time a party to), and makes a withdrawal on the account using her obsolete personal identification containing the prior name of "Jane Marie Wilson". Without additional information and without additional context................... is this act, in and of itself, a criminal offense subject to potential criminal prosecution?
  8. Thank you for your time! I'm not trying to become an attorney... but just a few last questions and then I'm going to quit: What is your opinion on the fact the bank was notified by certified return-receipt mail (fully executed and signed) that the account was to be frozen pending probate. The letter did specifically say that Mrs. XXXX did not have legal rights to the account. What might be the legal standing of Chase receiving the notice and then still allowing the funds to be withdrawn 7 days later to a non-heir? Would the bank not have "some" responsibility to follow the direction of a certified probate law attorney? Was the last 8 months a waste of time? I can handle the truth ;-)
  9. I'm learning a lot this week. Next thing on my list is to get a copy of the account agreement/signature card. The Divorce Final Decree specifically refers to the account number that contained the money and provides that the account becomes the "sole and separate property" of Father and that the ex-wife is "fully divested". If I understand correctly, this was (at least in-part) the legal basis for the certified letter instructing the bank to freeze. Lots of moving parts here..... Thanks for bringing my attention specifically to the POD/JTWROS issue. Depending on the account agreement, I think I now understand how this could let Chase off the hook. The bank would not likely have had any knowledge of the Divorce Decree. That makes sense.
  10. Sorry. The bank branch manager was not cooperative earlier in the week, we were "stunned" to find out the balance was $0, and ultimately left without asking to obtain a copy of that document. Our mistake, obviously. We did get a printout showing the dates of all transactions within the past year. However, the Estate/Probate attorney says it's a moot point anyway because (1) Texas state law, and (2) the bank was issued a certified letter instructing them to freeze the account 7 days before the funds were withdrawn.
  11. First, you folks are great for listening and helping. Texas law, Estates Code, Subchapter D. Effect of Dissolution of Marriage on Certain Multiple-Party Accounts, 123.151.: (b) If, after a decedent designates a spouse or a relative of a spouse who is not a relative of the decedent as a P.O.D. payee or beneficiary, including alternative P.O.D. payee or beneficiary, on a P.O.D. account or other multiple-party account, the decedent's marriage is dissolved by divorce, annulment, or a declaration that the marriage is void, the designation provision on the account is not effective as to the former spouse or the former spouse's relative unless: (1) the court decree dissolving the marriage designates the former spouse or the former spouse's relative as the P.O.D. payee or beneficiary (IT DID NOT); (2) the decedent redesignated the former spouse or the former spouse's relative as the P.O.D. payee or beneficiary after the marriage was dissolved (HE DID NOT); (3) the former spouse or the former spouse's relative is designated to receive the proceeds or benefits in trust for, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a child or dependent of either the decedent or the former spouse (SHE WAS NOT). The Probate/Estate Attorney said she has conferred with a few other local attorney's and they concur that this was negligence on the part of Chase Bank and that it's "black and white, no gray area". As a side note, while not a consideration here, not only did the Divorce Decree specifically state there was to be no beneficiary between them, it also stated that wife #4 would pay Father $40,000.00 upon sale of their shared house... which she never did. At the time, Father was still alive and that was none of our business and we did not intervene in any way. Obviously, my brother and I are going to intervene with her taking our inheritance now. Actions against the bank will move outside of the expertise of our Probate/Estate attorney and we will be searching for a suitable new attorney to continue the case.
  12. Thank you all for the help. I have been visiting with the Probate attorney and compiling additional information at a rapid pace. I live 1,248 miles from the bank and the Probate attorney's office and my brother has been helping. Father died in 2017. His divorce from his 4th wife was in early 2014. The Divorce Decree (we have a copy) clearly states that they will both have their own bank accounts and lists account numbers for each of them, and that they are parting ways both emotionally and financially. The bank was sent a Certified Letter (from Probate attorney) instructing the bank to freeze the account after he died. The letter was verified received and signed by the bank branch officer 2 days later. Texas law also automatically severs survivorship rights upon divorce, unless there is specific and clear documentation stating otherwise. Wife #4 went into the bank 7 days after the certified letter, apparently showed the bank teller her driver's licence (she still had my father's last name at that time), and the teller let her withdraw almost $200,000 in one lump sum. The Probate attorney is telling us that Chase is clearly at fault. The branch manager has been very uncooperative because I think he knows he screwed up, which is why my information collection has been slow/confusing. Branch manager would not even give us an update on the account balance until 3 days ago when we found out it was $0. I am going to go after Chase Bank first, because they were negligent. If that doesn't work, I will go after wife #4 for fraud and theft. What type of attorney do I need to deal with JPMorgan Chase Bank? Does the attorney need to be located in Texas to go after a national bank?
  13. Father married and divorced 4 times over the course of his life. Died 3.5 years after his last divorce. When he died, his bank account still had the name of his 4th wife on it as a joint account, but it was not a POD (pay on death) or "rights of survivorship" account. Bank provided account balance information to me at the time of death, but no other information pending Probate. Fast forward 8 months later; all issues complete, independent administrator appointment, discovery of heirs, public notices, court hearing.... all done. Leave the courthouse and go to the bank and discover all the money had been taken by the 4th wife. Up until his death, she had not accessed the account for several years. QUESTION: I am looking for an attorney in Texas. It's too early to know who is at fault, the bank, or the 4th wife. What type of attorney do I need?
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