Should I Get my grown child off of my banking account - how?

I did all of the end-of-life things, will, living will, DNR, all that stuff. I am selling my house soon, I hope. I put my offspring’s name on my credit union account in case I face plant and go into a coma. I want her to take money out as needed (for good reason). Now, I am wondering did I do the right thing? (I haven’t talked to the bank yet). - she could, if wanted, clean me out and book off to another country. The agreement was, her father died and left a little money to ME and it would go to her when I died, but I wanted to share it with her now…so she has some emotional problems and often ghosts me and is very jumpy and irritable when I do see her. She isn’t helping me much with the cleaning out of this shithole, I only see her once a month if that. Because…“I’m TRYING TO LIVE MY LIFE HERE”… I get it, I was her age, I know how anti-parent-old-life can be. … But still…should I worry about my money, has anyone done this and regretted it (putting child’s name on money/house/property)? She’s always been a fine hardworking good person, but we aren’t all that close now…

The straight rational and dispassionate answer is that she should NOT already have access to your account. There should be a process for her to gain that access and that process should have some impartial 3rd parties involved who flip the switch. She should be aware of the setup but that’s the limit.

Even if she’s reliable, there’s risks like that she meets some scary guy who finds out and forces her to start taking your money, while he sets up flights to Barbados.

If she has her own job then she doesn’t need the access until the moment when she’s gained you as a dependent. At that time, you need a third party to examine the situation, determine that it’s all above-board, and grant access.

You can designate her as “POD” on your bank accounts. That means “payable on death” - she’ll get access to the account when you die, but won’t be able to pilfer any money while you are alive.

Similarly, you can structure a real estate deed so that she’ll own your real property upon your death, while still not letting her own any of it now.

This kind of agreement is only as good as the trust you have with the other person. It can work out great or it can lead to a lot of problems. Based on what you say, it would probably be a good idea to take her off the account. Setup a different joint account for you and her with a modest amount of money in it for these kinds of emergency situations. That way if she (or an unsavory friend) cleans out the side account, your main money would be safe.

One safe thing you can do is list her as a beneficiary on the account. This means the account will transfer to her upon your death and it doesn’t have to go through probate or anything. But she wouldn’t have any access to the account while you’re alive.

My mother just put me on her account a couple of years ago for the same reasons as the OP. She got a separate bank account from her main one specifically for me and my siblings.

She keeps a X amount of savings in there. That way, in the unlikely event one of us goes nutters, the most damage we could do is the amount she put into the account.

So should I go to the bank/credit union and talk to them? I really don’t know how to proceed. Could I take money out of account ‘A’ and put it into another one I arrange, an account ‘B’? I am reluctant to do that right now, so far, she’s only moved a little money around, and she calls me first asking if it’s ok. I would feel awful, with no evidence or proof of malfeasance, to just cut off access to the account.

My mother had dementia, and we went up there and had my name put on her account. I paid all her bills till she was ready to go on Medicaid and into a nursing home…I guess I could have taken out her paltry few thousand and booked off to parts unknown.

Put the account in a living trust. Make her the trustee. You pass as trustee she should have full access to everything in the trust.

@Sage_Rat As I had occasion to find out recently, no form of power of attorney lasts beyond the grantor’s death. Even if the OP names the daughter as power of attorney, it will do diddly squat to help the daughter access the account after the OP’s death.

That’s not what the OP asked for:

This seems like a better fit for IMHO, so I’ve moved it.

This is what I’m going to do, go and make sure there is a separate account from my main account that I can transfer a little money into as needed. Daughter is already in my will so she gets it all when I’m deceased. I know I don’t sound very bright about all of this, but I have had a hard time of it the last year and can’t concentrate on a lot of stuff.


My impression is that your daughter is scared. She’s having to face your mortality, and that is excruciating. You may last for another twenty years, but all this talk about watching over the money, and the house being sold has overloaded her circuits. She doesn’t WANT to sort through the stuff in the house, because that almost trivializes her memories.

Pay a few bucks and talk to an attorney who does estate planning. He or she will be familiar with the laws in your state, and can help you organize everything so it won’t be a hellacious burden on her, and she won’t have to use the money for taxes. Consider hiring an organizer to go through your stuff to calm the waters between the two of you.

Consider a weekly lunch somewhere away from the house, where you can share memories and laugh, and just enjoy your relationship.

I wish you both my very best.


Yep. Talking to an estate attorney will be money well spent. It will give you a lot of peace of mind and make things much easier on your daughter later. And it’s a lot easier talking to one expert rather than getting all this separate advice from all of us here.

Thank you. I came here to ask advice because I admit I don’t know ANYTHING about selling the house, how to clean it out, what to do about my finances. I am just about alone in the world and don’t know where to turn. I do have a realtor and an apartment lined up. I know millions of people do this kind of thing every day, but I’ve lived a quiet sheltered life here for many years. Now this upheaval! I want to do everything right for my one offspring, but I want to be safe in my last years, too. We will be speaking to an estate attorney soon, so there’s that.

My mom set up a separate checking account/debit card with my sister’s name on it along with hers. Kept a few hundred dollars in it to buy medicine, groceries, etc… when my mom wasn’t able or didn’t want to leave the house. Came in handy when my mom passed away and we incurred some costs between her death and probate when we could access her estate.

One problem was my brother was listed as the secondary person with access to her safe deposit box at the bank. He had been dead for 10 years. The bank did allow us to look (we had the key) at the contents to see if there was a more current will but not allowed to remove anything until we were named and provided documentation that we were executors of the estate. The bank officer was right there watching us.

Do not put someone’s name on appreciating assets like a house unless you want to financially screw them over when you die. When property passes to someone at death, it steps up the cost basis. What does that mean?

Let’s say you bought the house for $100,000. When you die, it’s worth $500,000. When your daughter goes to sell it for $500,000, do you want her to pay taxes on $400,000 of appreciation, or $0 of appreciation? When it passes to her in a will, it passes to her at the stepped up ($500,000) cost basis, and she’ll pay minimal amounts of capital gains tax. If you write her onto the mortgage now, she keeps the $100,000 cost basis, and pays through the nose on taxes when she sells.

No, she’s got nothing to do with the (paid off) house. It will be sold I hope by the end of the year, It’s mine (husband died) and our wills leave any assets to her. I’m seeing the estate attorney in a few days and will get it all straight.

Thank you. No one has ever told me how hard this would be. I feel like I’m drowning just looking at all this STUFF.

Fictitious numbers used for illustration.

Bank account with daughter currently has $10,000. Open second bank account only in your name and transfer $9,000. At worst if daughter goes nuts, you’re out $1,000. Since you’re seeing a lawyer soon he can explain how your will, will then control access to the $9,000. when you have passed.