I turned 18 two weeks ago. My whole life I've had a savings account with my mom at Wells Fargo/Wachovia. However, I have a personal checking/savings account with my dad over at Bank of America which I put all my paychecks and such in to for regular spending and saving. I have no idea how much money is in the Wells Fargo account because my mom used to take money from it when I was a kid and swore she put it back. For all I know the account could be empty.

Is it possible for me to go to the bank and empty that account and then put it in my account at Bank of America so I have control over it? What kind of documentation do I need to get my money out? Any advice? Thanks. :)


1 Answer 1


You need to find out exactly how the two accounts are titled. If an account is an UGMA (Uniform Gifts to Minors Act) account that is in your name with your mother/father as custodian, then you are entitled to all the money in the account when you become an adult. If the account is indeed a UGMA account, the bank is supposed to not let the custodian operate the account once the child becomes an adult, but this does not always happen. There was a question earlier on money.SE (which I cannot find at this time) in which the 25-year-old person asking the question claimed that his father was still buying and selling shares in his UGMA brokerage account and the IRS was asking why the profits and losses from these transactions were not being reported on the 25-year-old's tax return. Money in an UGMA account is not supposed to be used for payment of household expenses, food, etc. which is the parent's responsibility during the minority, but this can well be abused. As to whether money was taken out and then restored (or possibly not restored, as you seem to suspect), it is possible to sue the custodian for improper handling of the UGMA account and recover the funds, but whether one wants to sue a parent over what might be a relatively small sum is another matter. Consider whether most of what is recovered might go to pay legal fees or other costs of the recovery process, and will likely ruin a family relationship.

If the accounts are titled as joint accounts, then either party can empty the account without informing the other. But doing so would need information about the account number etc. which you may not have. For tax purposes, there is also the issue of whose Social Security Number is listed on the account, yours or your parent's.

See also this answer for a view of what happens from the other side.

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    Many states have an 18/21 statute, meaning the custodian may turn over the assets at age 18, but must turn them over at age 21. Check with your state to be sure
    – Kent A.
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 0:21

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