BIZ BUZZ: Common repositories

It’s quite heartbreaking to suddenly lose a family member to COVID-19. But what’s even more difficult is settling the deceased’s estate, especially “or” deposit accounts, if the bank concerned has more stringent internal protocols than most peers.

The point is, banks seem to have different policies when it comes to joint accounts, especially the “or” account. The “and” account is usually clear, but in the case of the “or” account, it seems to be the bank’s choice on how to treat its customers. On the death of a co-depositor on a joint “or” account, most banks will not refuse the partial withdrawal of cash (in proportion to the number of signatories) of the surviving co-depositors.

The heirs to a prominent family of lawyers got the shock of a lifetime when this particular bank turned out to be a big pain in the neck – while other big banks were very accommodating – when a co-depositor among the heirs withdrew part of the “or” accounts shared with the late father.

While other banks have easily released half of the funds under the same “or” account agreements, this particular bank insists that heirs produce an out-of-court settlement before releasing funds, even from “accounts”. or “.

The heirs therefore had to seek the help of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), stressing that under the Law on Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, the declaration of inheritance tax is no longer a prerequisite for withdrawing funds from the deceased’s bank account.

As specified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) itself in a circular on joint accounts, the executor, administrator or any legal heir may be allowed to step down within one year from the date of death of the joint depositor / depositor for as long as as the amount withdrawn would be subject to the final six percent withholding tax, covering the deceased’s share.

“So, clearly if the account is in the name of two or more depositors, the six percent withholding tax will only be imposed on the deceased’s share in the joint bank account, if the heirs decide to withdraw it,” said the complaint. . As such, the heirs added that the other half, or 50% of the “or” account was supposed to be blank and that there was no compelling and valid reason for the bank to refuse the withdrawal by the depositor.

The heirs deplored that the bank “made it difficult for us, their depositors, to access and withdraw our accounts while the law is very clear on this subject”. For its part, the bank indicated that before authorizing the requested withdrawal, and invoking the directives of the BIR, the heirs had to present a copy of the tax identification number of the deceased’s estate and the BIR 1904 form of the duly stamped estate received by the BIR. Further, the bank argued that the same circular “explicitly provides that it should not be interpreted as preventing the bank from requiring relevant documents in accordance with its current policy”.

“It is true that in a joint deposit account, it is presumed that the joint depositors also own the deposit account unless otherwise agreed. However, the bank cannot simply authorize any withdrawal from an account held with an already deceased co-depositor without clearly determining the appropriate share or claim of the deceased depositor’s estate on the account, and the best proof of this is out-of-court settlement. of the estate of the deceased specifically indicating the share of the deceased depositor in the bank accounts in question, ”the bank said.

This family is not alone in this situation. There are so many unhappy heirs who are being challenged by some banks. Imagine those cash-strapped families who have to pay big hospital bills, especially if the co-applicant’s death was linked to COVID. If a bank simply claims to be the most diligent, are the more accommodating banks less diligent or just more considerate? In this time of fierce competition in the banking space, co-depositors of “or” accounts must clarify the policies of their respective banks while all signatories are still alive. Any guidance from the BSP Office of Consumer Protection and Market Conduct will also be helpful to banks and depositors. —Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

No toll

Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke, conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has implemented the policy of “no toll charges” for primary care physicians on its highways. This accommodation has continued to this day, even though the national vaccination program has started.

SMC estimated yesterday that these waivers for around 10,000 primary care physicians have so far reached 230.7 million pesos. These doctors, nurses, medical and laboratory technicians have free access to Star Tollway, South Luzon Expressway, Skyway System, Naia Expressway and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway, since March 2020.

“We launched this program last year, to show our appreciation and support for our hero medical workers who risk their lives every day to save others, despite the threat of COVID-19. More than a year has passed and they have accomplished so much in the fight against the pandemic. With most of them now vaccinated, we are honored to have stayed with them and supported them all this time through this free toll gesture, ”said SMC President Ramon S. Ang (RSA ).

“To all of our healthcare professionals, we applaud your dedication to service. Through this program, I hope you will feel our gratitude, ”he added.

In addition to its free toll program, the company has also spent more than a billion pesos on donations and medical initiatives, including donations of COVID-19 RT-PCR test machines, extraction machines. RNA automated, personal protective equipment and over one million liters. of ethyl alcohol at various hospitals around the country. —Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

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