Letters – Elderly reader offers advice to others

To the Editor:

I am an 88-year-old great-grandmother. I think I should take time to voice a warning to my elderly friends.

It is very important that no one other than yourself have access to writing a check on your bank account. No other signature should be allowed on your signature card, even if you feel you can trust that son, daughter or loved one.

Years ago, I bought a small rock home on San Jacinto Street for my son’s divorced wife and my two grandchildren to live in, because they needed a home to live in and go to school.

After helping them through school, I managed to sell that home a short time ago and deposited the money into my checking account until I could decide what to do with it. I had never had that much extra money in my checking account before in my life.

Since I have not been able to get around because of my health, I depend on a walker to get around in my home.

This is where I made my big mistake.

As we get older, we need help. Be cautious when you choose who to help you. Since I haven’t been able to get around and need to use a walker, I asked a family member to sign my bank card in the event of the need to write a check to take care of an emergency purchase or a small purchase for me… and I explained this to the signer.

My problem was not a small purchase, but in less than two weeks after we deposited more than $100,000 from the sale of my house, a check came through my account for $50,000; it was a shock for sure!

There had been no discussion before, and since the signature was on the account, it was considered legal. An annuity was purchased for that $50,000, in the name of that family member and me, and I, the 88-year-old owner of the bank account, was named the beneficiary.

I asked the owner to cancel the annuity, and I was told no, because they would charge $4,000 to cancel it. The $50,000 went through because the signature was okay.

I think it is important of all of Caldwell County to know this, and to make sure they think about it before they allow someone to be on their bank account. I also hope, that by telling my story, someone will see it and help me try to find a way to get justice for what I think must have been a crime.

Thank you.

Mary Patton

Lockhart

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