Can debt collector withdraw money from a bank account? 23 Answers as of July 04, 2013

When my brother was 16, our mom helped my brother opened a bank account. My mom at that time already had an account with the bank so she helped my brother open another one. I think there were 2 separate accounts but my mother has access to my brother's account. That was 8 years ago. My brother is now 24 and independent, living by himself and supporting himself. He did not realize that our mom had closed her first account and had some debt. My brother never took my mom's name off the second account because he just doesn't think it's necessary. Today he was traumatized when he found out that a debt collector had withdrawn $600 from his account, basically emptying it. My brother is a college student so he doesn't have much money. Upon checking his statement, he found out that they had withdrawn smaller amount in the past few months ($50 each) but he didn't notice . My brother does not owe anyone any money so he assumes that this has to be our mom's debt. Is this legal? Can collection agency withdraw the money in this situation? I told my brother to go to the bank tomorrow and file a complaint/dispute. I have not talked to my mom to find out who she owes money to. Can they take money from my brother's account if my mom's name is still in it? Thanks for answering.

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Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
Your question is based on supposition, you need to gather facts, then come back.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/22/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
Your mother is considered an owner on the account and as such, your brother's account can be used to satisfy mom's debts.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/19/2011
Financial Relief Law Center
Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
Generally yes, they can. Because your Mom is named on the account, and she apparently has unpaid debt that is in collections at this point, the creditors are searching for accounts that have viable funds in it to satisfy what is owed. There are two ways creditors can do this: 1- if you bank with the same financial institution in which the debt is owed, the creditor can go and levy the bank account without first having to obtain a judgment. Or, 2- the creditor can file a lawsuit against your Mom, which will eventually become a default judgment if it is not contested, in which case the judgment can be executed to garnish her wages, restrain any bank account in which her name listed or even put a lien against property in her name. You should contact your mother to find out which of these is the case and what she is doing about it. If it does not get resolved by either paying the debt, filing for bankruptcy or taking your mom's name off of the account, it is likely to happen again if the entire debt hasn't been paid in full at this point. If your mom's situation warrants it, she may be able to file for bankruptcy, however if that is the case, you should be cautious and speak with an attorney before you take anyone's name off of the account because pre-filing transfer to hide assets can be deemed fraudulent. If she ends up filing for bankruptcy, you should probably not take her name off of the account but instead list it on the petition but be prepared to show that your brother's income is the only source of the funds in the account and therefore should be part of the bk estate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/16/2011
Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
Yes. The account also belongs to youir mother. If she owes money they will take it. There is nothing the bank can do. He needs to immediately cease putting money in that account. He may be able to convince the judge through the claim of exemption process that the money was his and not your moms.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/16/2011
Dan Shay Law
Dan Shay Law | Daniel Shay
The short answer is yes. They can take money from any account your moms name is on in the form of a set-off, if one owes their bank money, or a levy once a judgment is entered. Filing bankruptcy would prevent this.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Afraid so. If her name is on the account, they'll take it. Your plan is a good one.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
    Yes, but first they must have a court order allowing them to do so. Also, if the order only states that your mom owes the money then the collection agency can only seize your mom's money. In Arizona, the names on the bank account do not necessarily indicate actual ownership of the money within the account. Ownership of the money in the account depends on ownership of the money before it was deposited. For instance if your mom did not deposit any money in the account then none of the money belongs to mom and all of the money that was collected belongs to your brother. If this is the case then you can get your brother can get his money back so long as he can prove that the money was his and not mom's.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Engberg Law Office
    Engberg Law Office | Harry A. Engberg
    Once the creditor has a judgment against your mother, they can garnish or levy any account that has her name on it. Normally there is a 30 day period to object to the action. If it was the sheriff who took the money, a lot of times if you can show him where the money in the account came from, not from your mother; some sheriffs will return the money. Other wise you must file an objection with the creditor and the court claiming the money was not her money.
    Answer Applies to: South Dakota
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    Creditors can only withdraw money from an account after obtaining a judgment against the account owner and garnishing the account, unless the creditor is the bank at which the account is located in which case the bank may have a right of set-off.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    You need to find out more information. The most important information is who took the money and why. There are ways for a creditor to take funds from bank accounts. If money is owed to the bank in question, they can take money to pay a delinquent debt at any time by exercising the right to set-off that is included in most banking contracts. Other creditors can usually only collect from a bank account if they have a judgment or if the account holder authorizes the payment.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If a creditor has a judgment it can levy on bank accounts in the judgment debtor's name. If an account should not have the debtor's name the name should be removed. You might want to have the account order show proof that it is not the debtor's money. You could sue in small claims court based on that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Ray Fisher Law Offices
    Ray Fisher Law Offices | Ray Fisher
    No they cannot do this legally. Your brother needs to hire a lawyer to take care of this.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    First of all your brother has made two blunders - (1) leaving his mother on the account, and (2) not looking daily at his account online, which all people need to do. Whether money can be withdrawn depends on what his mother signed. If she approved it, even years ago, the money probably is toast. He needs to close the account and open his own. The money probably is gone, but he needs more information to know.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    With mom's name on the account the creditor CAN do this. They must have a judgement against mom. He needs to follow the instructions he received from the bank and claim the money is his, not mom's. He can get it back if he does this. The instructions come from the bank. He can go to the bank and get a set of instructions now, rather than wait for them to come in the mail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Nanina Takla
    Law Office of Nanina Takla | Nanina Takla
    The collection agency can only take money from the joint bank account if they have a judgment against your mother or if your mother gave them permission. If they had a judgment, your brother should have gotten notice from his bank that the money had been garnished. Have you or he talked to your mother? It's very unlikely that the bank would permit the withdrawals without authorization.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Her name, they can do it if they could get from her legally. Sorry.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Law Office of Xochitl Anita Quezada
    Law Office of Xochitl Anita Quezada | Xochitl Anita Quezada
    If the creditor is the bank with whom your mom has the account then they can take the money. Even though she was not actively using this account, her name was still on it. Another possibility is that there is a judgment against your mother and the creditor is levying on her accounts. Once again, this would be legal. You need to speak with your mother regarding her financial situation and have her name removed from your brother's account. In the alternative, have your brother open a separate account.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
    A debt collector cannot process an electronic payment without an account holder's authorization. It sounds like your mother, a joint account holder, may have given them that authorization. If the amount of the transaction exceeded the authorization (i.e. the collector was authorized to take $50 but they took $600 instead), then the charge should be disputed with the bank immediately. Before going to the bank, your brother may want to check with Mom first to find out if she authorized the transaction. Someone had to have given the necessary bank account information to the debt collector! If it was Mom, your brother should ask Mom for repayment and possibly consider filing a lawsuit if she doesn't pay. The only way I can think of to prevent this from happening in the future is for you brother to close the joint account and open a new account in his name alone.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Creditors can levy bank accounts with valid court order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Yes they can since her name is on the account. However, the question is whether that is her money. Although she gave it to him, it was a gift, so it is his money, and since it has been more than four years ago, the creditor has no right to claim what is called a "fraudulent conveyance", so if the garnishment just occurred, I would contest the garnishment by making a claim with the Court where the judgment was entered that all of the money is his and the creditor has no right to it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller | Jackie Robert Geller
    If your mom is still a joint owner of the account, a creditor with a judgment can levy that account regardless of whose money it was. However, there is a process called Claim of Exemption that your brother may be able to utilize. Call a debtor's rights attorney. Also, set up another account without Mom.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
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