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Do we need to go through probate for a passed family member with no will, not married, no children, no debt.

Austin, TX |

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?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    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.

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

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