How do I set up an estate account?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How do I set up an estate account?

My father passed away; he had no Will or anything. His pension from work had money still in it, $17,000. They said that they can only deposit it into an estate

account. What do I need to do to get such an account? I’m seeing various things online and I’m confused. Do I need to be executor? How would I become executor of estate? Do I need a lawyer or have to go to court and have a judge make me executor?

Asked on August 28, 2018 under Estate Planning, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you need to be the executor appointed by the will, and have that appointment confirmed by the probate court; or you need to be appointed the personal representative or administrator of the will (different states use different terms) by the court if there was no will setting out an executor--if you are next of kin, you should have no problem with the appointment. The executor or personal representative/administrator has authority over the estate's assets. Once you have your appointment confirmed by the court, they will give you documenation showing you have this authority; you take that documentation, often called "letters testamentary," to the bank along with the death certificate, and the bank will set up an estate account. A lawyer always helps, but you don't need one; contact the probate court clerk's office (and/or look on the court's website) for instructions on how to apply to be a personal representative/administrator, if there is no will, or how to have the court confirm you as executor if there is a will naming you such.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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