Friday, December 13, 2013

Scotia Bank Holds Funds Hostage on Estate Account, Scamming and Rip Off Report

Life happens. Or maybe it's best to say "death happens" instead because that's what occurred several weeks ago into my life. My Dad passed away, it was unexpected. I don't believe its appropriate to say that death is a blessing when truly it's a difficult time for those trying to survive the loss.  Unfortunately for me, I was named as the Executrix so one of my tasks was to secure a bank account in the estate name, since Dad had recently moved to Scotia Bank on Robson Street in Vancouver, that is where I went.

My experience so far has been absolutely horrid.  They initially refused to take the information that he passed. I told them that I didn't actually want to do anything at that time but just give some information, I was flat out told that they won't do anything, even put a flag on the account, without the death certificate and the Will, when I asked if I could bring a certified copy if I couldn't locate the originals, the Customer Service Manager, Allison didn't even know what a certified copy was!!! And it gets better from there. Once I had my documents in hand (and I forgot to mention, we got a lecture about showing up "unannounced" and how to behave like civilized people and make an appointment) I made the appointment.  Alice states that it has to be put into a special savings account, in the Estate name, and that I would be able to pay bills, gather monies and dispurse the funds far sounds normal right? WRONG.....

The very first thing Allison did was tell me that my Dad had a credit card with them and she is immediately withdrawing the entire amount to pay it and a blip of a keystroke it was done, no mention of whether there was credit card insurance or not.  I have to say that amongst trying to move my Father's entire apartment on my own and with major surgery just being finished, I was exhausted. And as such, I handed Alice 3 more bills to pay.  I deposited two cheques and told her that it was so inconvenient to come downtown, it was hard for me to travel and the bank is not open when I'm off work and I would have to take unpaid leave to get there in time. I asked Alice if I could go to another branch closer to home and she told me "yes" and that I could give her number if they had any questions.  Uhmmmm...WRONG again!.

So far, in the past 2 weeks, I've been to 3 of their locations. I tried to get a bank draft in my name to pay Canada Post so that I could get his mail forwarded to mine and ensure that any outstanding debts, bills or cheques would come to me.  Scotiabank apparently has the following policy on Estate Accounts: You, the Executor/Executrix are to pay ALL monies out of your own pocket, you must produce receipts with a Manager and if they approve of the expense, they will reimburse you.

I explained to the Manager (Erin) at Georgia and Granville Street, Vancouver, that I did not have any access to any more funds. Let's face it, I used all my savings to care for my Mom until I ran out of money after five years of supporting both of us and only then did I have no choice but to place her in a care home. My Mom and Dad were separated for many, many years and I wasn't all that close to Dad until later on.  Dad then got awfully ill, was taken to St Pauls and the initial time frame to remain living was 2 - 3 weeks, maybe.  I got thrust into taking care of everything for him, packing and selling his apartment, dealing with his so-called Accountant Ray Wiseman of Burnaby, B.C.  (Ray actually got his license pulled for scamming his clients, you can check this with the Chartered Accountants Association, that's how I found out), we weren't aware of what Ray was doing to Dad's finances but let's just say that in the end, Dad owed CRA a major amount of money.  All this time and daily visits to the palliative department and hospice takes its toll, along with, dealing with family who only wants money and gave me all of 1.5 hours of their time to help pack and move all his stuff.  Go figure. Dad miraculously survived almost 3 years from that initial visit to St. Pauls until he passed away.

I suffered complete exhaustion, developed major depression and had to go on disability. Being on disability meant that I went a long time without any income again and although I applied for EI, that was short lived.  All in all...when I went back to work, I was penniless. That's life.  However, when I explained to "Erin" that I had no income and I asked her what do people do if they are poor and can't afford to pay for everything? Erin said" certainly puts them in a difficult position".

That was it..???? A difficult position? So I reconfirmed with her that I would not be able to get a draft in my name so I could pay Canada Post even when Canada Post can confirm they won't accept a bank draft DIRECTLY from the bank to them.  Canada Post only accepts, cash, debit and credit cards, no cheques, no money orders and no bank drafts.  Erin said that I was correct.  She went onto saying that if I showed her a receipt that the bank MAY BE ABLE to help me.  By then I was in tears, I have no money to pay for everything that needs to be done. Scotia Bank in the meantime is holding all the funds and will remain to hold them indefinitely.

So PLEASE not choose Scotia Bank as your lender, your financier and certainly do not choose them as a trust account to settle your estate or like us, you open an account because your the Executor/Executrix or Administrator.  Scotiabank was not included as the trustee in this case and yet they hold all the cards and will keep the income.  Look at my story for the example.  For me, the only thing I can do is write to the creditors and tell them the bank is refusing to release any funds.

And...I found out that the sneaky, customer service manager, Allison, ensured that every time I come into the bank will some kind of bill that the account gets charged $5 per transaction. Nice going Allison. Rob from the poor.

I hope that no one ever has to go through the degradation of having to actually beg to get help, only to be turned away again and again. They won't even change it to a chequing account.

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I can't finish Dad's business at hand and I can't afford legal advice.  I wish I could get help. It appears that I don't have any rights whatsoever, even though the Will is real, it's been accepted as true. I wonder how many other people they did this to and are still hanging onto their money?

My wish is that someone will help me, even with legal advice for free. So if you know anyone who's battled the banks and willing to give me some free time, well, that would be wonderful.

I haven't even been able to grieve because I'm always dealing with problems that sometimes I don't have anything left inside by the end of the day.  Life is sad.

Update: So I talked to the Head Office back east and they took the information, said they would call me back once they investigated but couldn't fix a damn thing.  I explained to her, that Scotia Bank is not named as a Trustee in this case, they have no legal right to hold the funds, they have no legal right to demand that the Executrix pay for normal expenses and then submit receipts whereupon Scotia Bank will make a decision on whether they believe it as a legit expense.  There are two sides to every story, and I invite Scotia Bank to respond, in fact, why won't they?  

December 20, 2013: Still have not heard from Scotiabank, I called Allison yesterday and left a message that I had better not have any more trouble from them; that Scotiabank is not the trustee and has no rights as a trustee on the account as defined under banking and estate laws in Canada, period. I was going to have to go deposit another cheque but then I thought, what's the point? Scotiabank will not release the funds and it is clear that they intend to keep the money.  Should anyone be in this position, when you have no income to fight for your rights, my belief is that you will wind up with nothing, no one will help you, the courts, the laws and the banking industry are against you. Its a pretty sick world. 


  1. I forgot to mention on my last comment that Scotiabank was the only institution that was totally insensitve to the fact that we just lost our mother. When I brought the receipts out for the funeral expenses the manager laughed at the one from Costco for the food. She said, we are not paying for groceries. Can you imagine. How humiliating is that. She also tried to refuse to pay for the dry cleaning
    that I paid for my Mom's outfit that the funeral home picked up for me. The manager was going to call the funeral home to make sure it was for my Mom. My parents banked at this branch for 50 years and the treatment by this branch manager has been atrocious. I am only giving you some of the things they have done to us because we have a lawyer. I do not want to see anyone else having to go through the unnecessary stress this has caused. We will remove the funds from Scotiabank as soon as probate is complete or earlier if possible.

    1. Hello Anonymous: I am not certain if you ever received my message, so I am replying in the hopes that somehow things have worked out for you. My journey is 2 years in and I am still fighting with Scotia Bank.

  2. my brother is at the moment wanting, has actually taken the first steps to opening an Estate account with the Scotiabank. I thought this would be an easy task pretty simple take in the court appointed trustee document ask for a chequing Estate account and Bobs your Uncle. I couldn't be there so finding this blog post is distressing. My brother called to tell me there was a hold on opening the account because the agent wanted the original death certificate and the deceased S.I.N. the agent said she couldn't complete the opening of the account without it. She also took personal and confidential letters from his file and copied them. I called the 800 # seeking policy and was told the S.I.N. was NOT ever to be asked for and that the certified copy of the court order for Grant of Administration was all they need to open that type of account.No death certificate copy or not is required. Whereas Scotiabank is one of the only banks that offers a service that plays trustee I am pretty sure that is the type of account the agent is trying to get my brother to open. For the moment it is stalled as he didn't have all the stuff this agent wanted but he likes this woman and thinks she has his best interest at heart. I told him not to take any of that in til I could be with him and see what he signed. I was also shocked to discover that Scotiabank is American owned but that has no baring at the moment other then I wish I could convince my brother to switch banks. He just wants his deceased spouses money out of a credit union that continued to allow money paid after they were notified of her death. Any further advice will be gratefully accepted. Thank-you

    1. Hi Pepper: Apologies for the late reply. For certain, he should start by talking to the president of the credit union and lodge a formal complaint. The other part that makes it a hard task is if the person that passed does not have an account with Scotia. Either way, the bank is obligated to see the original death certificate, they may ask for the SIN number to contact Canada Pension and CRA, however anyone can call in and give those two government agencies the details. They won't tell you anything about applying for benefits but they can certain take general details. I am also going to certainly warn you to not let Scotia Bank take hold of the original will, they may look at it (I am hoping he doesn't open the account and fixes the issue with the credit union) but either way, they took 1 of my 2 original copies and make a photo copy of it, no big deal right? Wrong, here's why: They removed the staple from the Will, once you alter anything on a Will, including removing the staples which hold it together renders the Will completely null and void! I am lucky we did two originals, otherwise I would have been screwed again. The bank saying they have your "best interest at heart" is only saying that to gain control of the estates funds, believe me, I would go to the media with the report that the credit union took money out to pay bills without authorization from the executor/executrix. Please let me know how this is unfolding. If I can give any further guidance, let me know.

  3. Scotiabank will screw you by having accounts go to Probate so they can get richer. I will never deal with Scotibank again after going through a similar situation in the Maritimes.


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