Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
The short answer is no, once someone passes and there were no joint owners on an account, it is frozen until someone opens a probate case and is appointed personal representative for the estate. Then they have the authority to gather all the assets of the estate.
And yes, if she is behind in her payments, the bank can seize any funds in other accounts to use toward delinquent account payments. This is called "cross collateralization".
So the truth of it is that if the house is worth less than what is owed and she has other debts, there may not be much reason to even open a probate estate and it may wiser to just let the lender foreclose on the house.
There may be a time lag between my replies as I am typically working with several customers at any given time, but rest assured, I will get back with you as soon as I am able.
If you need additional clarification on this question, just click "Reply" and I will be happy to help you. Please give me as much detail as you can so that I can respond after receiving all the relevant details.
Yes, this would be considered identity theft and bank fraud. If the bank finds out about it, it could result in criminal prosecution.