How to get bank accounts of deceased parents

The law grants immediate access to the bank accounts of deceased parents only to the executor of the will. Children and other heirs are not authorised to withdraw funds or otherwise tamper with such accounts, even if the will entitles them to a share of the funds, unless they themselves have been named as an executor. Unauthorised withdrawals and transfers from accounts belonging to an estate can result in legal problems such as lawsuits from creditors and other heirs.

Determine who is the executor of the will. If the will is written properly, the executor has been clearly named. Usually, the executor is a lawyer, law firm or a family member with some degree of legal experience. If the parent died without a will (called dying intestate), an executor may be appointed to carry out the functions of the estate and distribute assets accordingly.

Review the will to find out how assets are intended to be distributed. The executor is responsible for discharging all the debts of the estate appropriately. Current debtors receive precedence in asset distribution over heirs. The will may be unlikely to state how specific bank accounts are to be distributed, but the executor's status grants him authorisation to gain access to all accounts belonging to the estate.

Contact the banks where the estate still has accounts. Inform the banks of the death. If the deceased had a joint account with a spouse, that spouse will still likely have access. Otherwise, the bank will temporarily close the account until the executor arrives with proof of her status.

Bring a copy of the document that names you the executor of the will of the deceased to the banks where the estate has accounts. This document grants the executor access to all accounts. You may then withdraw money from the accounts and close them accordingly.

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About the Author

John Hewitt began freelancing in 2008, writing about subjects ranging from music to stock trading, the energy industry and business. His ghostwritten work has appeared all over the Web. He attended New York University, pursuing a bachelor's degree in history.

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