Mother died without a will, survived only by 5 children. What process is needed to recover the contents of her bank account?

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Mother died without a will, survived only by 5 children. What process is needed to recover the contents of her bank account?

Bank won’t release funds without a court order.

Asked on July 11, 2019 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Someone--presumably one of the children--will have to apply to the court to be appointed the "adminstrator" or "personal representative" (either term may be used) of the "estate" (of the money, etc. your mother left behind). The administrator or personal representive is like an executor (which is the term used when there is a will): he or she has authority over the deceased's possessions, belongings, and money. With the court paperwork showing the appointment, the person appointed can go to the bank, have an "estate" bank account created, and have the money from your mother's account put into the estate account, from where it can be used to pay her final expenses and any outstanding bills, and then any remaining amounts be distributed in equal shares among her children.


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