How do I get money out of my deceased mother’s bank account?

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How do I get money out of my deceased mother’s bank account?

I am 1 of 3 sons but my mother lived with me and I took care of her more or less. She told me that I could have the money that was in the bank when she passed away. I have all her SSN and everything else that I need, including the death certificate and debit card. How do I get the money out? There’s no Will.

Asked on April 7, 2019 under Estate Planning, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First, what your mother told you is irrelevant: only an actual, properly signed and witnessed will controls what happens to money or property after death. If there is no will, then regardless of what she said, the money must be split evenly between you and your siblings: under the rules for "intestate succession" (who gets what when there is no will), they have equal rights to inherit it as you.
Second, you have to be appointed as the estate's "personal representative" or "administrator" (either term may be used), which is basically the executor when there is no will. The probate court appoints someone to this role: a child, you are a logical choice. Contact the court for instructions on how to apply. Once you have court authority as the personal representative, you can use that to open an estate bank account. You can then move the money from your mother's account into the estate account, but will have to use it first to pay any claims against her estate, then split whatever is left with your brothers.


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