Is a joint checking and savings account considered part of an estate?

My husband’s friend recently passed away and had my husband on his accounts. He also had a Will stating half his home go to my husband and half to sister. There is still a mortgage in that home. The attorney taking care of the estate has mentioned none of this to us, not even when we told him my husband was joint owner of the accounts. We offered to continue paying his debts since my husband can sign his personnel accounts, but he said no. The attorney in charge of the will is also his personal representative. The bank tells us once we take in the death certificate the account will then be just under my husbands name and no one can get to it.If he does will he be in trouble?

Asked on April 10, 2014 under Estate Planning, New Mexico


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country if a bank account is in joint tenancy and one of the joint tenants dies, the other ones receive the account as a matter of right. As such, a joint tenancy account be it a bank account is not part of the decendent's estate.

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