Can a bank take money from an account that is not yours to pay a debt that is yours?

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Can a bank take money from an account that is not yours to pay a debt that is yours?

I recently divorced my husband. My 3 kids and I moved out of the house and in with my mother because we couldn’t afford the mortgage payment. The house in which we lived was vacant for 4-5 months, in which time the mortgage did not get paid. My mother is a widow and I her only child. My mother has a savings account at PNC bank, the same bank holding the mortgage for mine and my husband’shouse. Since my mother is getting up in age, she put my name on her account for security if anything was to happen to her. She went to withdraw some money and it was gone, PNC took it all to pay mortgage.

Asked on June 13, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The problem is that putting your name on the account may have made it your account, at least in part. That's not for certain--it depends in large part on exactly what was done--but there is a good chance that the act of putting your name on the account made it a joint account. If it was, then it may be that the bank could take the money out; for example, the mortage agreement may have provided that if the mortgage was unpaid, the bank could take the money from any account(s) you had with it. You should retain or consult with an attorney, and bring with you all your documentation relating to the mortgage and to the bank account. Good luck.


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