If the wife is not listed on a personal bank account and the husband dies, what happens to the money?

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If the wife is not listed on a personal bank account and the husband dies, what happens to the money?

Husband and wife have been married for over 50 years. Wife has never held a job. Husband only has wife listed on one bank account but has several other bank savings/checking accounts of significiant amounts.Is it still the wife’s?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Estate Planning, Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am hoping that you are asking this question BEFORE your husband has passed.  If not, I am so sorry for your loss.  Only assets that are jointly held will pass automatically to you as the spouse on the death of your husband.  The assets that are separately held will have to go through prbate unless there is a POD (paid on death) or a beneficiary designation (such as on a CD) properly executed and on file with the bank or financial institution. If there is a Will that leaves everything to the Wife then you may also be fine.  If not then the intestacy statutes will apply where the Wife will get a portion, depending on the state.  Please seek legal help.  Good luck.


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