ING Won't Give Me My Dead Husband's Money (Updated)

Cathy’s husband died about a year ago, and she recently discovered he had a secret CD account with ING that he was using to save up for a surprise vacation. For no apparent reason, the bank is freezing her out of the $2,000 in the account. She says it will cost much of than that in lawyer’s fees to try to get the money, but she’s fighting anyway.

She writes:

He did give me all the info on it – passwords, account number, amount, etc. After I had regrouped a bit and was able to start sorting through things following his death, I contacted ING. They told me I would have to wait until probate to be able to do anything, which I understood. Now comes the continuing and frustrating part.

After finally getting through probate, I contacted ING again. I was given a list of things to fax to them (will, probate documents, letter of instruction, death certificate) and was assured that it would all be resolved when these were received. I faxed everything in (including Muniment of Title) on Aug. 3. After hearing nothing for over two weeks, I called again. Let me also state that every single time I called I had to explain the entire situation again – sorta understandable, but then each time I was transferred up the pecking list I had to go through it again and again and again. Complete with passwords, account numbers, SS# and on and on sometimes 3 or 4 times per phone call. Reiterating that my husband was dead each time – it got a little painful.

On this particular phone call, I was told that I needed a “Letter of Testimentary” – first I’d heard of such a thing. Upon checking, I discovered that this is unavailable in the state of Texas when the deceased has a will. Obviously, he did. Call ING again – they tell me they have to have this regardless of the laws of the state I live in and they do business in because their legal department wants it.

I have had more than one phone call since and finally gave it to my attorney to try to resolve this. One of their representatives openly stated that “we dropped the ball on this one”. Still, even after my attorney faxed in his copy of probate papers which includes Muniment of Title, I haven’t got this cleared up. Do they want a pint of blood and my first born??

It is going to end up costing me more in lawyer’s fees to get this CD closed then the $2000 that is in it. Yep, that’s right – that’s all the money involved. The will states I am sole beneficiary and executor, probate states I am responsible for all debts, assets and property in lots of legal terms, Both items are filed and approved by the court and ING apparently needs this little bit of money more than I do. Compared to this, BofA and ATT are coming out smelling like roses.

At this point, I have just asked my attorney to do what he can to get whatever part of the money back from ING he can pry out of them. If most of the $2,000 goes to him for his trouble then I guess so be it. Goes without saying that I for one will never never never trust them with a dime in the future. And BTW- yes, DH should have put my name on the stupid thing in the first place but as time ran short it never crossed our minds the will/probate wouldn’t be enough for these people. It has been more than sufficient for everything else. Maybe my difficulties will help someone else avoid something similar in the future.

If you use ING or an off-shore online bank, do you take any measures to safeguard your funds?

UPDATE: Cathy said ING had a change of heart:

I emailed last week about the trouble I was having with ING releasing my late husband’s CD to me. I just wanted to let you know that they have finally released the funds and are sending me a check, closing the account.

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