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Bills don’t end with mere death

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You see advertisements for “free checking for life” from almost all banks. The key word here is “life.” It is the word “free” that gets our attention to sign up. Did you know that (some banks) charge a monthly service fee on the account immediately on the first statement after a person dies? There is a 45-day waiting period before you can submit a death certificate to the bank of the deceased account holder. I was not only surprised but truly irritated with the bank. I have been financial caregiver for a family member for 10 years until her death in January. She had had that “free checking for life” account with a bank in Auburn since the 1970s. As power of attorney of the account for the last 10 years, I really thought I could go to the bank and close the account. The bank neglected to disclose to both of us 10 years ago when the power of attorney was placed on the account that it would be null and void when my family member died. I was told by a customer service rep that I had to obtain a court-ordered power of attorney in order to continue managing and/or closing the account. Unfortunately, due to the 45-day waiting period and personal circumstances I have been unable to do so until now. The bank has now charged my dead family member two months of service fees. Folks, I would advise you to read the small print on your “free checking for life” terms and agreements. And to also review any power of attorney papers that allow you to handle someone’s bank account while they are living. I am here to personally state that bank fees apply when one dies. Cherie Holm, Meadow Vista