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Here is what is happening, let's say somebody has all his money in the US. He does not have any accounts anywhere else in the world. As soon as he leaves the US, a 10 year ban is triggered, so returning is impossible for 10years if not ever (for overstaying a visa). After he leaves, he still has online banking, and phone banking etc. He is still able to move abroad to Europe for example, and open accounts there, and then wire through online banking. But. The banks say that it is possible, that the US banks might just simply freeze the accounts for any reason (that might be fraud alert etc, there are many reasons), and in that case the banks will require the person to show up IN PERSON at the bank with an ID to unfreeze the account, it will not work over the phone or online. This event might especially be triggered by logging into online banking from a European IP (which is very likely, since he is moving to Europe), but there are many other cases that might trigger an event like that. It is not possible any more to try to open an account online in another country before leaving the US. It would unfortunately not be possible to add another custodian to the accounts (a relative who will NOT be banned from returning), because those relatives do not have a US social, and it is impossible now to add somebody as a custodian without a US social. The banks say that it is good to tell them that he will be traveling for years in Europe, but they still might freeze the accounts for other reasons. It is very unlikely to carry the money out in cash through an airport out of the US, since anything over $10K needs to be reported at the departure, and if you report, they might ask questions and they might still seize the money(even if it was legally earned in the US and taxed properly, and proven with W2s).

What I do not know or understand is, let's say the banks will freeze the accounts while he is already out of the US (so banned from returning), what will happen to the money then? Years pass, he cannot return, and the money is sitting in the bank in the frozen accounts. Even if the banks would close the accounts, (and let's say he adds a mailing address in Europe), the bank would maybe send a check to Europe with the money. The problem is, European banks do not accept checks, nobody uses that kind of checks in Europe. So the check would not be used and the money would stay with the US banks.

Questions:

1.) What will happen to the money?

2.) Will the banks close the accounts?

3.) After how much time will the banks close the accounts?

4.) Is there anything else to do? Any ideas? Before leaving?

5.) Is there any way to send a relative to the US with any kind of paper of power, to unfreeze the accounts?

6.) The banks say they would need a power of attorney, but does that person actually need to be an attorney in the US, or can it simply be a relative WITH a paper (a paper that says power of attorney) or what is a power of attorney exactly, is it an actual attorney person, or just a paper?

7.) Is there any other way to unfreeze the accounts?

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    There's a whole lot of legal stuff in there. I'd strongly recommend speaking with an immigration attorney. – BobbyScon Jan 9 '17 at 18:02
  • That's what he has been doing for years. Those attorneys say they cannot help with banking stuff. – Árpád Szendrei Jan 9 '17 at 18:11
  • You could try to open a brokerage account with a foreign broker, they will likely accept deposits of any currency. I know for a fact that Interactive Brokers will keep custody of your assets abroad if they are not USD denominated, so if you just do a currency trade to EUR or open a position in a EUR money market fund with them you'll end up with EUR held at a bank in Europe. Once you have an account in Europe you can transfer the funds out and close the account. This should work with some of the other brokers as well. – SMeznaric Jan 9 '17 at 18:16
  • Disclaimer for the above: None of the above is tested in real life, so might want to exercise caution. – SMeznaric Jan 9 '17 at 18:17
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    I would suggest something like working with a bank with an international presence, and working with them to setup a foreign account, like this example service from HSBC: us.hsbc.com/1/2/home/personal-banking/global-banking/… Talk with international banks about plans to live abroad for a while, and wanting to setup a proper foreign account for them to use when they get there. Transfer the moneys to the foreign account before leaving, then probably withdraw when he arrives right away to minimize chance of issues. – BrianH Jan 9 '17 at 18:30
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If it is planned, then one can get a Bankers Check payable overseas; if destination is known.

1.) What will happen to the money?

It will eventually go to Government as escheating. Unlcaimed.org can help you trace the funds and recover it.

2.) Will the banks close the accounts?
3.) After how much time will the banks close the accounts?

Eventually Yes. If there is no activity [Note the definition of activity is different, A credit interest is not considered as activity, a authentic phone call / correspondence to change the address or any servicing request is considered activity] for a period of One year, the account is classified as "Dormant". Depending on state, after a period of 3-5 years, it would be inactive and the funds escheated. i.e. handed over to Government.

4.) Is there anything else to do? Any ideas? Before leaving?

Try keeping it active by using internet banking or credit / debit cards linked to the account. These will be valid activities.

5.) Is there any way to send a relative to the US with any kind of paper of power, to unfreeze the accounts?

6.) The banks say they would need a power of attorney, but does that person actually need to be an attorney in the US, or can it simply be a relative WITH a paper (a paper that says power of attorney) or what is a power of attorney exactly, is it an actual attorney person, or just a paper?

7.) Is there any other way to unfreeze the accounts?

Although I can confirm first hand; I think there would be an exception process if a person cannot travel to the Bank. It could even be that a person is in some remote state, not well etc and can't travel in person.

I think if you are out of country, you could walk-in to an US embassy and provide / sign relevant documents there and get it attested. Although for different purpose, I know a Power of Attorney being created in other country and stamped / verified by US embassy and sent it over to US. This was almost a decade back. Not sure about it currently.

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