How do I set up an estate account?

My father passed away; he had no Will or anything. His pension from work had money still in it, $17,000. They said that they can only deposit it into an estate

account. What do I need to do to get such an account? I’m seeing various things online and I’m confused. Do I need to be executor? How would I become executor of estate? Do I need a lawyer or have to go to court and have a judge make me executor?

Asked on August 28, 2018 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you need to be the executor appointed by the will, and have that appointment confirmed by the probate court; or you need to be appointed the personal representative or administrator of the will (different states use different terms) by the court if there was no will setting out an executor--if you are next of kin, you should have no problem with the appointment. The executor or personal representative/administrator has authority over the estate's assets. Once you have your appointment confirmed by the court, they will give you documenation showing you have this authority; you take that documentation, often called "letters testamentary," to the bank along with the death certificate, and the bank will set up an estate account. A lawyer always helps, but you don't need one; contact the probate court clerk's office (and/or look on the court's website) for instructions on how to apply to be a personal representative/administrator, if there is no will, or how to have the court confirm you as executor if there is a will naming you such.


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