What do we do if we cannot locate bank records of our deceased aunt?

Our aunt just passed away. We can’t seem to find any bank statements yet that let’s us know what her financial situation was. We need to pay for the burial. Is there a way for the executor to obtain this information from the bank in order to begin listing assets for the lawyer, and if there is a bank account, it is considered “frozen” until everything goes through probate or can the money in the account be used to pay for the burial?

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Estate Planning, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  So your Aunt diedwith a Will correct?  Because you use the word executor in your question.  But since you ask about the burial I am assuming that the Will has yet to go through probate.  The cost and bill for the funeral is the priority debt of the estate.  The funeral parlor can have the executor sign for the funeral expense to be paid once the money is released from the accounts  State laws differ and money is frozen in an account once the decedent passes away (in New York it is an account over $30,000.00),  The executorwould have to be appointed in order to obtain information from the bank.  It is a big catch 22 as they say.  The executor must account for the funds withdrawn if the bank permits it (but I do not think that they Will until after he is appointed, and then that will be part of his duties - marshaling assets).  Good luck. 


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