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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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My father passed away over 1 year ago. before his passing

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My father passed away over 1 year ago. before his passing he made his bank account a POD account with me and my two sisters as beneficiaries. Two weeks after my fathers death, one of my sisters passed away. My remaining sister who is the executor has been trying to distribute the money, however Bank of America in California, which is where the account is, has been making it impossible. They have requested both death certificates, notorized letters of distribution and even a copy of the will, which we have provided but still to no avail. What more, if anything do we need to provide to settle this? It will be 2 years in November.
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

What Bank of America should be requiring is a death certificate for your father.

This would be enough to make you and your two sisters owners.

Where is gets complex is that to have the account divided up upon your sister's death, your sister is going to have to be court appointed as executor of your deceased sister's estate or get an affidavit of distribution. Either one of these will have to be obtained from the probate court in California. Here is a great website that summaries her steps in the probate process in California. Since the account was not POD prior to your sister's death, part is going to have to go through her probate estate to provide access to the who account.

I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


When you say that the account was not POD prior to my sisters death, do you mean that: because it wasn't distributed before my sisters death we have to file an affidavit?




Exactly. Essentially the POD would have made you all owners of the account at the death of your father. The way you prove ownership is your father's death certificate. Since your sister died before the account was divided up it was locked down until the probate court for your sister's estate can approve the distribution. Someone has to get authority to act for your deceased sister by going to the probate court.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


There is a general provision in my fathers will which states the following:

"For the purpose of construing the provisions of this Will, I direct that any beneficiary shall not be deemed to have survived me if such beneficiary dies at the same time I do or within ninety days after my death, and this Will shall take effect and my property be distributed as though such beneficiary had predeceased me." Does this provision mean nothing or is there a law which takes precedence over my fathers wishes?



Your father's will does not mean anything. The account was POD this account passes by contract with the bank and outside your father's will. That is why I did not mention anything about probate with this account with regard to your father.
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