BIL's antics affecting our bank accounts


My BIL is 49 years old, hasn’t held a job since high school, still lives with Mother, is a raging alcoholic, manic depressive, and misuses prescription drugs.

We are doing our best to manage MIL’s bills and bank accounts, as she has dementia, and as I said, BIL is an asshole.

Newest wrinkle?

Taking care of her bills requires a lot of bank transfers and online payments. He saw one on a statement that he didn’t understand (he doesn’t understand most things), and spent literally hours with BOA complaining about “fraud”.

The result? BOA contacted our bank, and one of OUR accounts were temporarily frozen. WTF?

Both MIL and spouse say “there’s nothing I can do” about his behavior.

I think that messing with my bank account is WAY over the line, and the shrugging of shoulders on their part is completely unacceptable.

Sorry for the long post.

Any advice?

Sell MiL’s house and move her to a one-bedroom apartment?

Yes, she should probably go to assisted living. Or, BIL gets kicked to the curb. Neither of which will happen in this family. Which is why I so frustrated, and it’s affecting my marriage.


You’re paying for most or all of MIL’s expenses?

Have your mother-in-law’s bills mailed directly to you. That way brother-in-law won’t be able to mess with them.

and probably get yourself/your wife listed as POA on her accounts.

Well, there ya go. Divorce this mess and move far, far away. It’s not like its going to get better.

Give BIL a ruthless, stern talk. If you haven’t done so a hundred times already.
Then, yes, move MIL to assisted living; dementia is serious business.

I don’t know, if MiL doesn’t have much time left, maybe he can just grin and bear it for a few more months / years and then it won’t be an issue anymore.

That’s the answer. If necessary, have MIL declared incompetent.

Gets complicated - and often unworkable - to try to straddle the line.

I don’t think it’s so much a “grin and bear it” issue as it is that BIL has to be confronted about the fact that his behavior is unacceptable.

Call all banks and businesses and have BIL banned from any dealings. Power of Attorney should be in place, as said above. Talk to BIL, in no uncertain terms. Tell him he will be held accountable for any hijinx. Have one account strictly dedicated to MILs business. Separate from your personal business. Don’t let this affect your marriage. It won’t last forever. Do what you have to do to protect your finances. Spouse should understand.

Why would BOA even talk to your BIL about your MILs account. Do you ot have data protection laws in the states?

Is his name on the account? If not, why did Bank of America even talk to him?

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but you need to talk to an attorney. The problem is just going to get worse and there’s a good chance he’ll end up trying to get you actually charged with fraud or some other crime with actual, real, lasting consequences. I’ve seen this happen when people get desperate.

Personally, I’d try to get POA, but it sounds like she might not be considered competent enough to grant it. (Been there and done that, too.)

There’s information missing- first, as others have said, why did BOA ever talk to BIL ? If he’s on the account, the only way to fix that may be for MIL to open an account without his name. But beyond that- why is your bank doing anything to your account based on what BOA says your BIL told them. It just doesn’t usually work that way - at the very least, there would typically be a signed statement that says the transaction wasn’t authorized and then at some point BOA might reverse the transaction - which would only affect your account if you transferred money into it. I’m not sure why your bank would freeze your account simply due to a reversed transaction - a reversed transaction doesn’t even mean you did anything wrong. ( an accidental duplicate deposit or other transfer into my account can be reversed) It sounds like there’s more going on - are you transferring money into your own account and using that to pay MIL’s bills? If so- STOP. Pay her bills directly from her account. Because it’s possible that the bank froze your account because BIL/MIL told them that those two/three/ten transfers a month into your bank account for the last two/three/ten months were not authorized- and this would not have been an issue if the money was transferred/checks written directly to the gas company, electric company, property tax agency and so on. You can’t be sure MIL didn’t cosign his complaint with the bank because of the dementia, and if her problem is obvious , the bank may have acted on his complaint even if he wasn’t on the account.

She may not be competent to grant you POA- but if she was , she could give it to you/your wife , revoke it next month and give it to BIL. Better to petition for guardianship.

Thanks, guys and gals for all of the advice, I truly appreciate it.

Here’s the situation.

We had POA, but jerk convinced her to sign a new one, granting him POA.

She’s been medically diagnosed with dementia. She received a relatively small insurance settlement after the death of her ex-husband. A judge agreed that she’s not competent to handle her affairs, so what’s left of that money is in a trust account that we manage. It’s not enough to cover the monthly bills, though.

Jerkwad is literally stealing from his mother, and he should be in jail for theft/elder abuse, but the family won’t have it, because “Mother will be alone” if he’s hauled off.

Hence my frustration.

It sounds like HE should have been declared incompetent a long time ago.

You need to talk to a disability rights attorney.

Nope. The trouble multiplies after the death of Mother.

Get out. Now.

Is it possible to close your account with Bank of America so it’s not as easy for it to be frozen should he try something again? I don’t know how all that works. Is it still frozen? It seems to me the only thing YOU can do is get your own finances as far removed from MIL’s as possible. Then let whatever happens, happen. You’ll probably have to accept that you can’t control any of it. The poor woman. :frowning:

Good luck.