If my father died and had a bank account that I was the beneficiary of but left a spouse, am I entitled to this money?

Asked on September 17, 2013 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are entitled to the money depends on how the bank account was set up, but you probably are.  I am assuming your father died without a will.  If so, there are still two main ways that your father could have avoided having all his assets dispersed by way of the law of intestacy.  One is by establishing an account or accounts with someone else as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.  This can be done with a bank account, a stock account, even ownership of real property.  Secondly is to make someone a beneficiary of something, such as life insurance or a trust.  Or a bank account can be set up with a "pay on death" beneficiary.  This is perfectly legal and trumps the intestacy laws.

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are entitled to the money depends on how the bank account was set up, but you probably are.  I am assuming your father died without a will.  If so, there are still two main ways that your father could have avoided having all his assets dispersed by way of the law of intestacy.  One is by establishing an account or accounts with someone else as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.  This can be done with a bank account, a stock account, even ownership of real property.  Secondly is to make someone a beneficiary of something, such as life insurance or a trust.  Or a bank account can be set up with a "pay on death" beneficiary.  This is perfectly legal and trumps the intestacy laws.


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