Am I correct in my assumption that a checking account which contained $16000 when my father died, is mine since my father put my name on it?

My father put my name on his checking account when he moved in w/me. He died 2 years later, suffering from many health problems. Almost 3 years later my brother and sister, who could not be bothered with hmy father when he was alive, sent me a “Voluntary Administration ” form and a “General Assent” form indicating that my brother is appointing himself as “administrator” of his estate. They have a right to some of his 15K, which was what was left when he died. I understood that the checking account was mine when he died. Am I wrong?

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am a lawyer in CT and practice in this area.  Bank accounts do not go to probate.  The bank account you describe is a joint account with rights of survivorship.  This means that when you dad passed away, you became the sole owner of the account.  This has nothing to do with probate and so forth.  the money is yours end of story.  I would check to confirm that you are the only one listed on the account.  that way you can make your family fight with the bank and not have to deal with them.

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