Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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.
Who is "he"? A spouse/boyfriend? Is their name on the account?
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:
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!
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.