My husband passed away and has multiple bank accounts, how do I find out where they are?

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My husband passed away and has multiple bank accounts, how do I find out where they are?

I don’t know where to start looking, I know from family members that my husband had multiple accounts at different banks but I don’t know where. Nothing is in my name so I know I will have to see a lawyer first. Will a lawyer be able to find everything under his name whether its life insurance, property or bank accounts? Is there a way for me to find out before seeing a lawyer? Thanks

Asked on July 22, 2018 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no central repository, databank, or clearing house for this information. All you can is:
1) Look through all his papers--there may be an account statement, a letter, or some other document indicating where he had accounts.
2) Contact his attorney and CPA/tax preparer (if had these)--they may know.
3) Contact ALL the likely banks, insurers, etc., explain to them that your husband passed and say you have some reason to believe he might have had an account or policy there, and that you are looking for information about it. They will almost certainly require a copy of the death certificate; they may also require something from the court showing that you have been appointed executor (if there was a will) or personal representative (if no will) for the estate--which may mean that might need to apply for that appointment, to have legal authority, before they will release information to you. But if they have an account of your husband's there, if you provide the correct documentation or authorization, they should let you know. You may therefore contact  A LOT of banks, etc. to find any accounts, if they do in fact exist.


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