Last year my sister and I did our best to help mom manage her finances, and one of the things we did was create a joint checking account that I shared with her. Her Social Security checks would get deposited there, and then I would pay her bills electronically.

Bank of AmericaBank of America was debiting the account $14.00 each month because her balance was below $100.00, and just this week I noticed that the balance was negative. After lunch this afternoon I walked down to the Bank of America branch on Ventura Boulevard to close it. The customer service representative who helped me was very kind and offered her condolences. She credited back the multiple debits, closed the account, and transferred the $34.57 mom had to my account.

She did this without asking me to present a death certificate or provide proof that my mother had died. I guess she assumed that it would be a rather elaborate and depressing lie if I was trying to scam Bank of America out of $35.00. There were tissues at every desk in the office, so that was helpful, too.