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How can I get the money that was clearly in trust for me out of the estate?

Philadelphia, PA |

As poa I took money from bank A and wrote a check to my father's account at bank B. The goal was to use one bank for ease of transacting business (we both have accounts at bank B) but I did not pay attention to the fact that the account into which the money was deposited did not have my name on it. I should have written the check to myself not to him. My father meant for the money to be in trust for me; I have the documents to prove that. He died. Now the money is in an estate account. How can I get the money that he intended me to have back out of the estate account?

I have letters of administration. I have short certs. I have checks to the estate account. Heirs/beneficiaries are notified. They have seen and accept the paper work that shows the cash was in trust for me alone. Revocations are signed. Since the money is in the estate: 1. Is it legal for me to go and withdraw it? 2.How can I obtain the funds without paying inheritance tax, since that was father's intent? Thank you.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. You are going to have to get a probate judge to accept your account of what happened. The other potential heirs of your father will have a chance to contest your account unless you are the sole heir.

    Obviously, if you can afford to do so, you should have lawyer in the probate state represent you.


  2. Usually the POA lapses upon death, so you'll need to be accepted by the Probate Court (and possibly heirs at law if there was no will either) as executor of the estate, then you will have the authority to manage the accounts. If your father meant for you to have the entire estate and you have the documents to prove it, you will have to present this evidence in front of the probate court.

    You will need a local attorney to represent the estate, file the appropriate documentation, send out timely notices to heirs and creditors, and make the requisite court appearances. If there was no trust and no will, your state's probate code will determine who the heirs at law are, i.e. the other people legally entitled to your father's estate. Probate courts are courts of equity meaning their goal is to determine the intent of the testator (your father) and carry out his intent. If you can prove with your documentation (and other appropriate evidence if needed) that your father's intent was for you to inherit the entire estate then the court is obligated to carry out his wishes.

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