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J. Warren
J. Warren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2211
Experience:  Experience in estate planning including wills, trusts and succession planning.
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My father passed away July 2015. He has 5 children all over

Customer Question

my father passed away July 2015. He has 5 children all over 50 years of age. My mother had passed in August 2010. He had a significant amount of money in accounts at a credit union and an automobile that was paid off in his name. It is our understanding that 2 weeks before he died he put my sister as co owner so that she could distribute the funds. He did not have a will. she seems to think this money is hers to do as she pleases. Do the other siblings have right to these funds?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  J. Warren replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I look forward to providing you information. Please note:

(1) this is general information and is not legal advice. I never propose a specific course of action. There is no attorney-client relationship or privilege that is formed when communicating to an expert on this site. The site repeats this disclaimer numerous times. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and

(2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply while I am typing out my answer.

My condolences on the loss of your father. This is a bad situation as it has shifted the burden on you and your siblings to bring an action in the probate court to prove that the intent of your father was not to have everything pass to the one sibling. However, by naming her as joint owner on the accounts, by operation of law she is the owner of all the accounts and until a probate is open and an attempt to undue the assignment of her a joint owner there is no legal means to prevent her from spending everything.

If the making of her being joint owner can be undone, then each sibling would take 1/5 each of the entire estate. But for that do occur it must be proven that the intent of your father was not to have her keep everything and the fact he was undue influenced by her near his death.

I am very sorry this is happening to your family and the fact I have to be the messenger of not so good news. My suggestion is to retain a local attorney where your father lived as soon as possible and begin the process of unwinding the making of her co-owner.

All my best & encouragement.

Thank you for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. Please note that you are asked to rate my courtesy and professionalism, and not whether the answer supports your legal position. I only receive credit when rated “ok” (3 stars) or higher. If for any reason you feel that a low rating is appropriate, please first give me the opportunity to address your concerns by clicking the "reply" tab.

All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you.

Expert:  J. Warren replied 1 year ago.

I wanted to be sure I was clear that the transfer by operation of law only applies to accounts in which the sister is the named co-owner/joint owner. Any property, such as all the personal property belongings etc.. are probate assets. Because your Father did not have a will, the estate most go through intestate probate (simply meaning probate without a will). In this situation an intestate probate should be opened which would also allow the petitioning for one of the other four siblings to be named personal representative and also to petition to set aside the assignment of joint ownership.

Most counties have a probate web site that have forms and information about filing probate. By entering a google search of the County in which your Father resided and search term "probate court" the specific County site should be listed.

All my best & encouragement.

Thank you for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. Please note that you are asked to rate my courtesy and professionalism, and not whether the answer supports your legal position. I only receive credit when rated “ok” (3 stars) or higher. If for any reason you feel that a low rating is appropriate, please first give me the opportunity to address your concerns by clicking the "reply" tab.

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