Can deceased checking account for which sister is a signer use money for funeral expenses?

Asked 10 months ago - Minneapolis, MN

My sister is a signer on my father's checking account. She used money from that account to pay for funeral expenses. We now have a personal representative (court assigned, and not an heir or devisee) and she is asking for all our father's assets from the date of death. I think my sister is worried that she will have to pay this money back to the estate. I'm sure all heirs and devisees would agree on the expenses for the funeral, as they were not excessive and were necessary. Could the PR require my sister to pay this back to the estate? The estate assets are much greater than all debts owed, but none of the assets are liquid, and there are expenses which the Personal Representative will need to pay, such as property insurance, taxes, etc.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Tricia Dwyer

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Hello. I am sorry for the loss of your parent. An authorized signer on a bank checking account typically is a co-owner of the account. Generally, a co-owner of a bank account has the right to use of the monies.

    Minnesota licensed attorney
  2. Clarence Blake West


    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . If she is a signer on the account she is very likely also an owner of the account. That would mean that she could do anything she wants with the money at least as far as the bank is concerned. Funeral expenses should be paid by the estate. If asked to return the money she should also file a claim against the estate for that expense. I doubt the PR could make her pay the money back.

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