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Richard, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55478
Experience:  29 years of experience practicing law, including tax and estate planning.
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A friend in Kansas City, MO is unemployed and has been living

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A friend in Kansas City, MO is unemployed and has been living with his mother for a number of years. In her late 80's, his mother required round the clock care, which he faithfully provided. With money running short and bills mounting, he arranged to sell his mother's home for her. He placed the proceeds into his mother's checking account where he is an additional signee on the account. Currently, the balance is roughly $20K. His mother has credit card debt that exceed the checking account balance. Last week, his mother died. She had no will and no assets except the checking account. My friend was dependent on his mother's Social Security (which now stops) and his mother's check account funds to cover monthly living expenses. What happens with the credit card debt that was in his mothers name? Does he send them a death certificate and the accounts just close? Is the balance in the checking account his since he was an authorized user of the account?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good morning. Was he simply an authorized user of the account or was the account in their names jointly? Did the account have any kind of a "Paid on Death" specification? Thanks.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good questions, but unfortunately, I don't know the answers. I asked him the same questions and he is unsure. Only his mother's name is XXXXX XXXXX checks. He asked the bank if he could continue to write checks (after she passed away) and he can.

Thanks for following up. Given the bank's response that he continues to be able to write checks on the account, it must have been a joint account or a POD account. Thus, it automatically vests in him upon her death and will not be subject to her creditor claims. As a result, he can simply contact the creditors, inform them of his mother's death (include a death certificate) and let them know his mother had no probate assets from which to pay her debts.

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