Understanding whether or not bank accounts go through probate is complicated. This is because there is no one answer to the question, and it varies completely depending on the situation. The most important factor that affects probation on bank accounts is what was the kind of ownership for that particular bank account. Imagine a bank account to be like any other piece of property, and it can be owned in various ways.
What Are the Different Types of Ownership for Bank Accounts
To put it simply, you can have ownership rights over a bank account in a similar way, as you can have ownership rights over an apartment or a car. You can own a bank account solely, which is the most common way of ownership. You can also have joint ownership of the account with a family member, spouse, or friend. It can also be owned by more than two parties, as in the case of business partners.
In Case of Sole Ownership over a Bank Account and Leaving a Beneficiary in Place
If the deceased individual had sole ownership over the bank account, the further proceedings depend on whether they left a beneficiary’s name or not. Having the beneficiary name designated beforehand can make the transition of ownership in the beneficiary’s name significantly easier. After the demise of the account holder, the beneficiary can directly head towards the bank.
After filling up simple paperwork, which mostly includes proving your identity and a claim form, you will have access to the account. The biggest advantage of this is that you will be saved from countless rounds to the court and all the other tedious legal proceedings. Hence, your case will be handled swiftly and in a timely manner. In such circumstances, there is no need for the bank account to go through the probate.
In case of sole ownership over a bank account but not leaving a behind a beneficiary
The case discussed and described above was in an ideal world scenario. It rarely happens when all the knots are tied, and there are not any loose ends. However, most of the time, people who are deceased do not have a beneficiary’s name in place. In such circumstances, the solution is not as simple and straightforward. In this case, the potential beneficiary cannot directly head to the bank and claim their own rights.
This calls for a court intervention
In these scenarios, it becomes important to intervene. Until that happens, you are on a potential block for getting to the next stage. The banks’ hands are tied, and there is nothing much they can do but inform you what needs to be done. The idea of having court involvement can be scary, especially if you are new to all of this and doing it for the first time.
How can a professional lawyer help?
Of course, you will need a professional opinion and consultation to successfully get access to the account of the deceased. While you are still dealing with the loss of your loved one or family member, it is important to lay your trust in someone reliable and efficient. A firm like Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP is happy and excited to assist you during this difficult time.
They have a team of expert and supremely competent members on board who will walk you through the whole process. Moreover, they understand that the death of a close one can be a trauma, and dealing with legal proceedings is a nightmare on its own. Your mind might be foggy from processing grief and all this information simultaneously.
All about probates and its proceeding
Mostly the deceased leaves their property and assets to their spouse, children, and/or other family members like siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. In the majority of these cases, probate is a non-issue. To avoid any confusion, we would like to remind you that court intervention will still be required before the bank account gets transferred in your name; however, the proceeding is much simpler. Although the legal work can take some time, it will be over smoothly and without much hassle.
What if the deceased disinherited a family member
You must be wondering, so when does it get complicated? If the person has passed away and disinherited their family member from their inheritance, the legal proceedings can get tricky. The bank account most certainly will go through probate, and that can be very pricey.
Aside from the length of legal proceedings, the whole process can be excruciatingly tiresome for the other family members. Sometimes if you have a rough estimate of the account balance, you might even want to consider if the money you put into the legal work is with it or not.
What if the deceased does not have any close relatives
If the deceased individual did not have any close family members, spouse, or children, the case of bank account and its assets ownership might be dragged for many years if not decades. This is because the legal proceedings get delayed, and there is no one to pursue the matter any further. This can get quite complicated. Let us put it for you in as simple terms as possible.
The court appoints an Executor of Will. It becomes the responsibility of the Executor of will to pursue a genealogist to find any distant relative of the deceased and serve them notice to appear in probate hearing proceedings. You can imagine that a distant relative who might not have even heard of the deceased might not be willing to take the hassle of traveling across the states to attend the hearing. Hence the case gets delayed and dragged for many years.
I hope after reading this article, you were able to get more clarity regarding the question of bank accounts of the deceased and probation. There are a lot of technicalities involved as well which were beyond the scope of this article, but once you seek legal advice, you will get more guidance for your particular situation. Legal issues can get very complicated, and what might seem like a minor detail to you may have a significant bearing on your case.