What court order do I need to show a bank in order for them to release funds that where in my deceased ex-husband’s bank account?

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What court order do I need to show a bank in order for them to release funds that where in my deceased ex-husband’s bank account?

My ex-husband died in 2005. We have 2 children together. We had joint custody at his time of death. I received a letter from his bank stating that my children have been name beneficiaries on his account. Since the funds are of over $5000. They said I need a court order on how the funds are to be handled. He had no will. The kids live with me I am there natural mother. We receive SS benefits Do you know what court order I need to obtain in order for the bank to release the funds to my children? There was never a probate or any proceedings are his death.

Asked on October 18, 2010 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Naming beneficiaries on a bank account usually takes the bank account out of the probate court's jurisdiction so the monies would never have been probated. That being said, California would require you create trust accounts for the children and you would need to probably go to probate court to order how much would go to each child (presumably half to each) so that the monies do not escheat over to the state.  Usually states escheat the money after three years so you may need to move on this fairly quickly. You or a court ordered guardian ad litem would need to assure this order is entered and you would simply take that order over to the bank and have them create these two trusts for you (assuming you wish to keep the monies there).


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