I am trustee for an elderly relative who is not financially competent, and being taken advantage of by a girlfriend. He cannot hold onto money for long, and so I need to periodically provide him small amounts of money from the trust's checking account rather than larger transfers.

I need to transfer $100 to him on a daily basis (so that would be 365 X $100, or $36,500 a year). I'd like that transfer to be automatic (or as automatic as possible), and not require a check or a trip to the bank each day.

This money is for basic living expenses; rent is covered directly by the trust.

This family member is financially irresponsible and cannot hold on to sums greater than about $800. At under $800, it's not worth his girlfriend's time and resulting (temporary) aggravation to steal the money. Over $800, and it's gone. He consistently shares his ATM/PIN, over and over and over again.

How can this be accomplished?

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    Again... I'm not asking about any tax consequences here. I'm just seeking a process that I can use to make daily transfers. I suppose if there are only 240 or so actual banking days in a year, I could transfer $152 per day on those days instead of $100 for every day of the year. But again, it's the process I'm seeking. – mbmast Jun 12 at 18:23
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    $100/day is a lot for basic living expenses for 1 adult (not 2 - she doesn't count) esp if rent is covered. Manhattan, Maui, or Bay Area? Eat out 3 meals a day? If not, cut it to $50/day. If he blows it & has to eat cat food, that's on him. Don't drive yourself nuts trying to manage someone who refuses your help and takes advantage of you. Looked into guardianship laws in your state? Or criminal elder abuse laws? Collect documentation & record conversations (if legal) to boot the "girlfriend" if she's really stealing from him. Good luck! – mc01 Jun 13 at 2:39
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    Where are you transferring the money from? Another US bank account or international? Same state? An account at the same bank as the target? – Freiheit Jun 13 at 14:57
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    Alternative route to a solution - have you reported the stealing girlfriend to the local authorities? – TylerH Jun 13 at 16:21
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    Stupid question: Is banking wherever you are so primitive you can not set up a recurring transfer in your bank account? I am based in europe (Poland, Germany) and in both countries I would just set it up as "transfer X every 1 day" and be done with it - bank computers do the rest. – TomTom Jun 14 at 7:47

I'm troubled by this: either the person is financially competent, or they are not.

If he's genuinely not financially competent, then I would say the trustee should not be handing them $3000/month and trusting them to pay all their living-expense bills: gas, electric, auto insurance, car payments, etc. The trust should take those over and should own the car. Minimize the number of things the incompetent person needs cash for, to give them far less cash, to "sour the milk" for the soaking girlfriend.

Even grocery or eating-out money can be covered by supplying "gift cards" or retailer (trade) credit cards, e.g. they make Mobil credit cards only good at Mobil stations. He likes Applebees, give them a $100 Applebees gift card every month. If the girlfriend sells the Applebees cards on Craigslist to raise cash, then you have no trouble proving criminal elder abuse.

Now with that done -- to answer your question -- with that $3000/month chopped down to more like $700/month, now weekly or monthly automated transfers make more sense. Those are a lot easier to find, or simply do manually. Monthly or weekly is easy with PayPal, we use it for membership renewals.


It may also be a good choice for the trust to sell the house and use the proceeds to place him into a quality retirement village/community. Some of them are truly marvelous, and the sale proceeds and the $36,500/year will more than cover the expenses of living in a good one. Once he does, 90% of his daily living expenses are part of membership, and he only needs about $10/day for food to cook, offsite entertainment, etc. Maybe $20/day if he retains a car and needs to buy fuel and is going out more. That should "sour the milk" good-and-plenty for the soaker.

It also means he never has to mow a lawn again or fix a furnace or roof.

The retirement community also helps a lot if the state takes away his driver's license, either because he acted eccentric at a license renewal or got in an accident where senior-itis appeared to be a factor. My parents had to make that transition, and it was almost painless due to the retirement village they chose 11 years prior when they were active seniors. They get by fine on about $300/month.

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    Structuring applies to cash not electronic transfers. You can't launder money if the source and destination accounts are known. – TTT Jun 13 at 1:43
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    @gerrit You missed the "the sale proceeds and" part coming before your quote. – Peter K. Jun 13 at 11:14
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    @gerrit - the rent is already covered directly by the trust, this is $36k on top of that. – sirjonsnow Jun 13 at 12:05
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    Good explanation on why the banks do not like daily transfers and have an obligation to place more scrutiny on these cases. However, the OP said he wasn't worried about tax repercussion and seems to do it in a legitimate way. If it is so, it should be easy to explain to the bank the reason, give them documentation satisfying them that it is not money laundering, then the bank should let him do. Daily transfer are frowned upon for a variety of reasons, but they are not illegal. I also agrees to try to reduce the daily $ though, for all the reasons you explain in your 1st paragraph. – Hoki Jun 13 at 12:13
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    Out of experience. Your initial statement is factually wrong. My mother was in her last 20 years legally financially incompetent EXCEPT for anything relted to her daily living. Trust her to pay taxes? NO. Conrol over her Estate? Damn, no. Pay her bills and grocery - yes. And yes, that was legal - she was not able to sign any paper outside her daily domain of living with her estate under control of a third party by court order. And 3000 USD per month may not be so much - it may be small compared to the earnings. – TomTom Jun 14 at 7:49

Have you considered a pull based system rather than a push based system?

  • Set up a bank account with the full amount.
  • Engineer or such that your relative can only access it via a debit card.
  • Set the debit card daily limit to 100USD.
  • Profit

EDIT: The OP asked how to deal with irregular unexpected expenses, such as, the beneficiary needing to replace his car tires.

As @Harper notes, the trustee and the trust should handle the large expense, such as his car.

However, that, in certain cases isn't practical. The beneficiary may need a large sum of money for legitimate reasons (e.g. Grandson's birthday gift, a ring to convert the Girlfriend into a Wife etc).

Under the situation, I would give the beneficiary a second (near limitless) debit card, which is linked to an empty bank account. When the beneficiary requires an irregular expense, the following happens.

  1. The beneficiary requests additional funds, giving amount claimed, and purpose for the claim.
  2. The trustee transfers an amount of money to be made available for the claimed purpose.
  3. The beneficiary pays for services/goods detailed in the claim.
  4. A receipt is photographed and sent to the trustee via smartphone and instant messaging application of choice.
  5. The receipt is recorded and logged into the corporate expense portal.
  6. At the end of each calendar month the line manager reviews and approves that month's expenses on the corporate expense portal. Irregularities should be submitted to the compliance department for review. Corrective measures maybe applied if the expense is deemed improper.
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    +1. I was going to suggest, on top of that, setting this on a separate bank account and transfer money there weekly/monthly. This way even if OPs relative's girlfriend manages to get in, she can only take that week's/month's money, not the whole thing. But essentially, just limit the withdrawal, not the transfers. – tfrascaroli Jun 13 at 11:42
  • this is the simplest answer – Marshall Tigerus Jun 13 at 18:29
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    The advantage of this suggestion is that it's really simple. The disadvantage is that it may not be practical (although, most everything else I've considered is also impractical). Let's assume, for example, that the bene needs tires for his car. Let's assume that's $400. With the push method, he can (in theory) save up $100 a day for 4 days and then go buy the tires without my involvement. With this method, he can't do that, as $400 > $100. But still, this idea definitely has merit. I may wind up implementing a blend of good suggestions. – mbmast Jun 13 at 20:22
  • @mbmast Another aspect to consider is whether to allow withdrawing cash at all - if he starts circumventing the limit by just pulling the max every day on a morning walk and sticking it in the jar on the mantle, you're back to a large pot of money to target periodically. – brichins Jun 13 at 23:23
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    @mbmast Saving up is exactly the situation you were trying to avoid. Your job as a trustee under the situation is to vet the 400USD transaction. Under the circumstances the workflow would be that the beneficiary would need to seek approval from the trustee for the irregular expense. You may even want to put into place a pre-approval process (he cam call you up to say the car is going into the shop). If you trusted him to "be financially responsible and save" you wouldn't be his trustee. – Aron Jun 14 at 14:12

Most banks offer inter-bank transfers on a recurring basis, but AFAIK the smallest recurring increment is typically weekly instead of daily. First you should verify that both the trust and beneficiary's accounts allow for at least 31 transfers per month, and if they do, as Hart CO suggested in the question comments, you could likely set up 7 recurring weekly transfers (one for each day of the week) of $100 each.

In the event that the trust doesn't allow for that many transfers per month, you could simply set up an intermediary checking account which receives weekly transfers from the trust, and then does daily transfers to the beneficiary's checking account.

As a side note, your question implies that if the beneficiary receives too much money all at once, his girlfriend might "take the money and run". If that were to happen and she didn't come back, it might be financially worth it in the long run... :)

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    Nice side note... – AbraCadaver Jun 12 at 19:43
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    @AbraCadaver True. Unfortunately, the question doesn't really say that the girlfriend would "take the money and run", just that she'd take the money. – mastov Jun 12 at 20:55
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    @mastov - hehe good point. That's a sad state of affairs: Man: "You stole my money!" Gf: "and?" Man: "nvm". – TTT Jun 12 at 21:24
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    Any given bank may not offer transfers on non-banking days (ie weekends or public/stat holidays) so the transfer might get done on the next banking day after, or very rarely the last banking day before the scheduled time. That could be 3x $100 all done on Mondays, or occasionally 4x $100 on a Tuesday. – Criggie Jun 12 at 23:35
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    Also known as a "standing order" (in the UK, at least) or "regular payment". – Nigel Touch Jun 13 at 0:14

Could you get the $700/week down to a less tempting figure by paying some significant recurring amounts directly from the trust?

I'm thinking things like utilities, property taxes and services (anything from cleaning to insurance). I'm not in the US, but here they go out monthly/weekly from one of my accounts. I can think of ~$150/week in my case that could easily be paid directly and never touch the vulnerable individual's accounts.

This has the further advantage of protecting his payments to some rather powerful creditors in case the girlfriend cleans the account out just before they're due. It's possible some of this is covered in the rent, but you could look carefully for other possibilities.

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    The trust is paying property related expenses directly. I was hoping to find a way of getting the bene's expenses paid with a reduced risk of the GF stealing the $ such that my involvement in the bene's life wasn't "day to day and moment to moment." As of my writing this, based on existing answers and comments, it's looking like I need to implement multiple recommendations, at least to some extent. – mbmast Jun 13 at 16:19
  • I'm sure multiple approaches will be required. I wasn't sure from the Q and previous comments whether it was just rent or all housing costs that were already done directly. Multiple protections are a good idea anyway. – Chris H Jun 13 at 16:24
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    As other people have said, a hundred dollars a day is rather a lot of money, there is an assumption that some part of it is paying for recurring expenses that could be automated and handled by the trust automatically. – arp Jun 15 at 15:56

As suggested in comments, one good solution may be to have a joint account. Most banks will allow transfers between self-controlled accounts; i.e., I can transfer easily (and recurring, if I want) from my savings to my checking or vice versa.

That joint account wouldn't have to be anything with more than that $100 per day. He also wouldn't have to be an owner of the account; you could probably set him up as an authorized user of the account without being able to control it in any meaningful way (this depends on the bank, but many do). Make sure it doesn't allow overdrafts (probably don't even allow checks, just cash?) and you'll be okay.

  • From the comments the beneficiary already has an account at the same bank, so I'm not sure how daily transfers to a joint account would be any different than transfers to the beneficiary's account directly. – TTT Jun 12 at 19:14
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    @TTT I think that it's typically easier to transfer to your own account than to someone else's account. – Joe Jun 12 at 19:43
  • Ah, OK, could be depending on the bank. – TTT Jun 12 at 19:46
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    My reluctance to getting a joint account is that I don't want any risk of my credit being damaged due to his irresponsible behavior (e.g. overdrawn accounts, etc.). – mbmast Jun 13 at 16:23

Have you considered a secured credit card with a linked checking account? You'd keep full control over the checking and give him the PIN to the credit card only. You may want to investigate whether the credit card + PIN is sufficient to gain access to checking, but assuming it's not, this could be a good solution.

The benefits:

  1. Since you are transferring between credit card account and checking account, which are linked, you can make transfers every day. You may need to look into the details for how non-banking day transfers are handled (does the credit card available balance change even though the transfer itself is delayed?)
  2. Many banks offer a card whose limit is based on the secured balance. So, that allows saving for a purchase by not spending the daily $100.
  3. You can automate/schedule the transfers.
  4. You can schedule less periodic transfers from the trust account to the checking account, say monthly trust to checking, to limit the amount that could be taken from the checking should someone social engineer access to it using the secured credit card details.

You'd want to start the account with an initial deposit that acts as a buffer for the time between the date of scheduled transfers from trust accounts and when the checking account is actually credited.

  • Looks like there are three things involved - a checking account, a credit card, and a debit card. Are the cards the same or related? (they are very different things). – Volker Siegel Jun 15 at 3:03
  • @VolkerSiegel sorry, there's just to be two, the checking account and secured credit card. I kept writing "debit" instead of "secured credit". – iheanyi Jun 15 at 18:53
  • Thanks - I think I understand now how it works: You use a normal credit card, but "configure" it's setup for use (almost) like a debit card. I think there are also pure debit cards, possibly from Visa (and looking like a Visa credit card), but prepaid, working only on money that has been transferred to it's account. (I assume that the available cards vary by continent, at least the terms used do.) – Volker Siegel Jun 15 at 19:09
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    @VolkerSiegel yes, a secured credit card is essentially a prepaid card as your "credit limit" is controlled by the amount of money you have in the account, so you can never spend more money than you actually have available. The reason I went with secured over prepaid is because the accounts are necessarily linked and so (most days) there's no lag between money hitting the account and money being available on the card. – iheanyi Jun 19 at 14:03

This is a little bit strange but you could use IFTTT (if this then that) and Square Cash to do it:

https://ifttt.com/applets/368267p-send-recurring-square-cash-payments-with-google-calendar-gmail

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    Hi, Imran Khan, and welcome to StackExchange. We are a little different from other website forums, so please, take the tour. While your answer does provide an answer to question asked, more details on how this can help the question asker makes for better answers. – sharur Jun 13 at 3:36
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    I haven't used Square Cash, but I was under the impression they charge transaction fees. – Kevin Fegan Jun 14 at 8:07

Everyone's already lectured you, so I think you've had enough of that already.

To answer your question directly:

1. Zelle (formerly clearXchange) should allow instant transfers on weekends.

2. Chase allows automatic weekly transfers via Chase QuickPay (their Zelle).

So it should be possible to automate this by setting up 7 repeating transfers to cover all weekdays.

Caveats:

  • I have not tried this. You might trip a flag somewhere.

  • I have read stories about Zelle transfers going awry. Do your research.

  • The receiver also needs to support Zelle. Currently, only these banks support Zelle:

    • Bank of America
    • BB&T
    • Capital One
    • JPMorgan Chase
    • PNC Bank
    • US Bank
    • SunTrust
    • Wells Fargo

I like Venmo. It's completely free and easy and they don't take a cut. Transfer from any bank account to any bank account.

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    Does it actually support daily recurring transactions as requested in the question? – Ganesh Sittampalam Jun 13 at 10:16
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    The recipient has to manually transfer the money from Venmo to their bank account, and it's not all that quick to do so. – Matthew Read Jun 14 at 23:05

protected by Ganesh Sittampalam Jun 13 at 4:42

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