How can a guardian gain access to a bank ccount in th nme of their ward’s deceased father?

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How can a guardian gain access to a bank ccount in th nme of their ward’s deceased father?

My friend’s brother died 4 months ago. His daughter, an 8 year old, is living with my friend who has full guardianship of this child. The brother was never married. My friend recently found that, although the brother was on public assistance and had no money, there is an account in his name a savings account. Several years ago he did receive a small settlement from an accident. Since my friend has full guardianship, is there any way she could claim that money and use it for the benefit of the child?

Asked on October 9, 2012 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is possible that your friend could claim the funds for the benefit of the child.  This depends on who, other than the child, is entitled to inherit the brother's estate.  In most states, including Florida, the child (or children if there is more than one) inherits if there is no spouse.

To claim this money, your friend would need to open some kind of probate estate for the brother.  Once that is done, the claims of any creditor would have to be paid before the money could be distributed to the guardianship for the child.  If the brother had creditors, perhaps including public assistance, this may consume all of the money.  In addition, opening a probate estate requires an attorney and does cost money for the attorney and court costs.

I suggest you consult an estate or probate attorney in your state to find out whether pursuing these funds is worth the time and expense.


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