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

UPDATED: Jun 13, 2011

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UPDATED: Jun 13, 2011Fact Checked

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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