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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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How do I get access to my deceased relative's checking

Customer Question

How do I get access to my deceased relative's checking account if my name isn't on the account?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I don't even know why she died. Can he empty get accounts and take all her belongings and move away?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to helping you today. My condolences on your loss.

Doing so will typically require some type of court order or probate. Sometimes, you can use a simplified probate process though if the assets in a decedent's estate are small.

Are there any other assets besides the checking account titled solely in the decedent's name? How much money is in the checking account?

Once you reply back with this information I can better assist you.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

Who is "he"? A spouse/boyfriend? Is their name on the account?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
He being my brother. How can I stop him from taking all and disappearing? She had at the very least, 200,000.00 in everything.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
She expressed to me about sweep or so before her passing that she was going to have something wrote up because she was affraid my brother, Peter, would take everything. If she did, he has and had access to all her paperwork.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

If your sister had that much in assets titled solely in her name when she passed, her estate will have to go through what is known as probate. Probate is the legal process of settling an estate after a person has died. A petition must be filed with the court and a personal representative (also called an "executor") must be appointed. The personal representative is responsible for the following:

  • Collection, inventory, and appraisal of assets of the person who has died.
  • Protection of the estate's assets.
  • Payment of decedent's debts.
  • Distribution of the remaining assets to the proper parties as provided by law.

Even if your sister named him as executor in a Will, they have no authority to act until formally appointed by a court. Once appointed, a personal representative is issued "Letters of Administration" which is what gives them the authority to act for the estate. The personal representative has a fiduciary duty to handle the estate properly and to settle final debts, and make any remaining distributions in accordance with a decedent's will or trust, or if none, then in accordance with state law.

A person MAY NOT remove items from a home, etc. without being formally appointed by the court. And, he wouldn't be able to access her bank account(s) unless he was a joint owner, in which case he is entitled to the proceeds of them.

If you need clarification about my answer or additional information, please use the SEND or REPLY button to continue our conversation. Your satisfaction is my goal and I am here to help!

Once satisfied with the answer, please remember to kindly leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars, as that is the only way experts are paid for their time even though you may have already paid a deposit to the site. Thank you!

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 4 months ago.

At this point, you should speak to an estate/probate lawyer about administration of the estate. You can actually seek to be appointed as personal representative if you don't believe your brother would be best suited for the job. Additionally, within the petition you can ask that the court order that any items or possessions of your sisters that may have been removed from the house following her passing be returned until such time as an accounting of the estate can be done.

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