If my brother was on bank accounts jointly with my father for convenience purposes only, can he now claim all money in the accounts since my dad died?

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If my brother was on bank accounts jointly with my father for convenience purposes only, can he now claim all money in the accounts since my dad died?

Father was single. Dad died with no Will. He left each of his kids a CD with beneficiary POD. Dad also put my brother on all bank accounts in case his money needed to be accessed. Brother now claims all money as his. In addition, brother stole and signed over my dad’s cars to my niece. Brother wants all bills to be paid from probate on dad’s house. Do I have any recourse? Will I be involved in probate? Do I need my own attorney to dispute this?

Asked on August 19, 2011 Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A will speaks at the death of a person. A person named on a bank account with the deceased person is deemed to have been gifted an interest in the bank account prior to death. If the bank account is held in joint tenancy, then by operation of law, the survivor received the account as a matter of law and the account does not go through probate.

If the bank account is in a tenancy in common, the survivor gets his or her pro rata share in the account, but the deceased person's share would go to his or her estate for probate or trust administration.

As to your brother's claim to monies in his name on bank accounts, whether his name was placed as a convenience is going to be a hard thing to prove since your father has passed away. Typically in a probate, bills of your father that are unpaid are paid through the estate's assets.

If there is going to be a probate of your father's will, you can review it in the county court house in the file assigned the probate since a probate is a public process.

If you have concerns over the conduct of your brother concerning the bank accounts and signing over title to automobiles to your niece, you should consult with a wills and trust attorney about your situation.

Good luck.


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