My brother in Texas died 01/2012. He was disabled, receiving social security disability benefits and lived with my mother (still living). He had no will, not married, no children, no debt. Unaware, we were recently notified from a local bank that he had a CD up for renewal. My sister and I agree this money to go to my mother. I was told by the bank that I needed to provide a death certificate and power of attorney. My research indicates power of attorney is for someone that is still living. So, I assume we need to have some sort of court papers to provide the bank in order to transfer the CD in her name. The value of the CD is not very much. I am concerned the legal fees and court fees associated with this will be far more than the CD value. Given the situation, what would this cost?
Since there is no will, muniment of title is not an option. You are correct that some probate is necessary. A power of attorney is no longer effective. Full heirship would be expensive (about $3500), so research a small estate affidavit. Using an attorney, that should cost less than $1000.
There is no legal relationship created or implied by the exchange of message on this website. All statements are not to be construed as legal advice but as general guidance. In all cases, an attorney should be retained to review the full circumstances and deliver advice consistent with the information learned.
Family Law Attorney
Under these circumstances you should probably file for a muniment of title. It is probably the fastest and cheapest way to probate the estate and get access to the funds. An attorney would be able to do this for you faster and easier than doing it on your own but it is possible to represent yourself.
Mr. Pyke has given you the correct answer, not surprisingly. This is a great example of why you don't get legal advice from a bank.
DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
Estate Planning Attorney
From the facts, you should look into getting a small estate affidavit executed and filed in the probate or county court where he died. In some counties, there are forms to do this on your own (eg, Williamson County); in other counties, it is more involved and you will need an attorney to prepare it (eg, Travis County).
NOTICE: The foregoing is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to create, and should not be construed as creating, an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice that you rely upon in making important decisions should only be obtained from direct communications with a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction after there has been a full disclosure of all of the relevant facts. That said, you should never provide information that you intend to be confidential or privileged on a forum such as this, and you should never rely on information provided here as a substitute for such legal advice. Also, please note that any U.S. tax information provided above is not intended to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties imposed under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or for promoting, marketing, or recommending any portion of this communication to any party.