Does a will overide an account that was joint by my sister and mother?

My sister was put on the account to assist mother in paying bills. Mother passed and now sister wants to keep money. Will states that all accounts be divided upon siblings.

Asked on September 4, 2012 under Estate Planning, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother.

Your mother's Will is controlling.  Your sister was only on the account to assist your mother in paying bills; it was never intended for her to keep the money.  The Will carries out your mother's intent to have all accounts divided among her children.  If your sister keeps the money, the executor of your mother's estate could file a lawsuit on behalf of the estate against your sister.  The lawsuit would seek a constructive trust, which means your sister would have to return the funds to the estate.

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