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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?
Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. So, the downside is that if the bank is requiring that you get authority from the court to get the check, then you'll have to get authority from the court. These are called "letters testementary" that you would get from the court. The reason is because since this $ was designated to your grandmother's estate, the only way out of this is if you can a) find a will that your grandmother had that left you the $; b) find out for certain that you were supposed to be the beneficiary; or c) get authorization from the probate court.
It usually starts with a petition to the court that you are the personal representative of the estate and would like to distribute her assets. The law says that a person without a will has their decedents take the property from their estate. If there are no other living spouses, children, siblings, or parents, then the money will be split between you and anyone else that calls her grandma by blood or by law.
Because I value your input, I would like to know whether you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?
I understand. The reason is because some banks require that you get the court's approval because it helps the bank ensure that you're not a fraudster. Some banks don't require it and would only require that you provide a death certificate and some identification. So, unless you can get an exception from the bank, you'll have to go through probate to get these funds. If you get a summary administration, then that will be adequate to prove that you at least have the court's authority to begin transferring assets. Since summary administration still has to go through the probate courts, the banks are almost satisfied that you have taken at least those steps to ensure that you are who you say you are and that the will is legitimate. Does that make sense?
I can certainly understand and you're welcome. If the bank gives you a hard time, explain that summary administration is vastly different than full blown probate and you have the court's authority to begin transferring assets. Thus, if you are a beneficiary in the will that has been at least reviewed by the court, then you should be able to transfer the money minus any letters testementary.
Did you have any other questions for me at all today?