What to do and not do when accessing funds of a deceased person.
Now, if you are looking to access a bank account of a deceased person, there are a few things to do and not do!
First, you need to gather the correct information.
- Determine if there is an executor to a will
- Determine if someone was given access via POD (payable on death)
- Get multiple copies of the death certificate. Each bank will need a copy.
- Did the decease die intestate? (without a will). Contact Hess-Verdon & Associates regarding probate.
If the account of the deceased isn’t held jointly or in a trust, then the bank account is off-limits until the estate is settled via probate.
Now, to access the account, a judge will have to issue a letter to grant the executor or estate administrator access.
I have the power of attorney of my parent’s account. Can I have access?
Once your parent passes away, you no longer have access. A power of attorney ends a the time of death.
I have access to my parents ATM card, is it ok to debit cash to pay bills, etc.?
Do not be tempted to forge your parents signature to get cash or to pay a debt. The act of signing for your deceased parent can be considered fraud.
My spouse has died, and we had joint accounts, can I access the funds?
Yes, you can access it because the account is held in a way that either party can sign. Now, take into consideration that the money in the bank account can be subject to federal estate or state inheritance tax. Please note: Present a death certificate to the bank to remove the deceased’s name.
We have a living trust, how can we access the bank account funds?
The trust would have named a “trustee” to execute the estate. The successor trustee can present information and a death certificate as well as a copy of the trust to the bank to gain access. To obtain the original death certificate, you will need to contact the County Coroner’s office or County Vital Records, where the deceased died. Take away: Banks will need original death certificates. No photocopies.
My parent was receiving social security, and I have the check. Should I deposit?
Typically, a Social security check is direct deposit, but in some instances, if an SSI check turns up, it must be returned.