How can my mother get access to my late father’s retirement account?

My father had a Will and a Trust. He and my mother, who is living, had a retirement account as joint tenants in common 14 years ago. With his passing, the retirement fund company is making her go through Letters of Testamentary. The Count Clerk’s office says we have to go through probate to get the letters. Is this true? We have this recorded and certified already.

Asked on June 4, 2012 under Estate Planning, Tennessee


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your mother was on your father's retirement account as a joint tenant, she needs to get a certified copy of your father's death certificate and sign an affidavit of surviving joint tenant before a notary public and attach the certified copy of your father's death certificate and send such to the entity holding the retirement account. That should suffice to get the monies in it.

If it does not, she should consult with a Wills and trust attorney. I suggest that a Wills and trust attorney draft up the affidavit of the surviving joint tenant for your mother as stated above.

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