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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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What are the banks responsibilities in alerting their client

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What are the banks responsibilities in alerting their client that money was being transferr.ed
on line from my trust account in my name only to another account. For the purpose of clarity, my wife at the time and without my knowledge or approval transferred many thousands, over a period of 12 months into her own personal account. The bank in question
was B of A in which we both held accounts.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply.

Iam sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me if your wife's name was on the trust account as a trustee or beneficiary or a person with authorization to access the account?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The trust account was in my name only. My wife was not a trustee or beneficiary and did not have authorization to use my trust account.

Thank you, B.

There are no federal or state laws as to "bank responsibilities." This falls under common law if someone wants to sue the bank for cause.

The facts that your wife has access to your main account(s) does not mean that she should have access to all others.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

Here, this may be enough for two causes of action:

NEGLIGENCE: The elements of an action for negligence are the existence of duty (the obligation to other persons to conform to a standard of care to avoid unreasonable risk of harm to them); breach of duty (conduct below the standard of care); causation (between the defendant's act or omission and the plaintiffs injuries); and damages. (Artiglio v. Corning Inc. (1998) 18 Cal.4th 604, 614, 76 Cal.Rptr.2d 479, 957 P.2d 1313.) It can be argued here that they had a duty to ensure that no unauthorized person had access to your accounts. Since they did, and you were injured as a result, this may be seen as negligence.

BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY: A fiduciary relationship is ... any relation existing between parties to a transaction wherein one of the parties is in duty bound to act with the utmost good faith for the benefit of the other party. Such a relation ordinarily arises where a confidence is reposed by one person in the integrity of another, and in such a relation the party in whom the confidence is reposed, if he voluntarily accepts or assumes to accept the confidence, can take no advantage from his acts relating to the interest of the other party without the latter’s knowledge or consent... Wolf v. Superior Court (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 25, 29 [130 Cal.Rptr.2d 860], internal citations omitted.) Breach of that duty gives rise to breach of fiduciary duty cause of action.

As such, someone in your situation may have a suit for these two causes of action. Whether or not one wishes to pursue is up to that individual, of course.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the reply button to keep chatting, or please rate and submit your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correctt. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry to trouble again..your reply to my last question "banks obligation"

Would you kindly resend


No problem at all.

Hello and thank you for requesting me.

Not if it believes that the individual who is transferring the money has authority to do so. Since the bank (erroneously) believed that she was on the trust account, then the bank did not do anything because they (mistakenly) believed that she was an authorized user of that account.

For authorized users of the account, no notice to other users is mandated under Ca. Business and Professions Code, Commercial Code, or Financial Code, unless the bank specifically offers this service and the other user sets it up.

So the bank erroneously thought that she was on the trust account and did not notify you.

Now, they are STILL liable, however, since she was NOT on the account (as you are telling me) and did not have permission to access it, but they allowed to do so anyhow.