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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.

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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