How do I access my deceased parent bank account. There is no will.

Asked about 5 years ago - Chico, CA

deceased parents have an existing joint banking account balance. How can a surviving adult child access and close the account?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Janet Lee Brewer

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . If your parents resided in California and their estate is worth less than $100,000 then probate is NOT necessary. Take their death certificates to the bank (make sure you have "certified" copies, not photocopies) and tell the bank you want to claim the account using the Small Estates Affidavit procedure. If the bank doesn't have a copy of the affidavit, you can access it here: http://www.sfgov.org/site/courts_page.asp?id=31254

    Check out the link titled "Declaration Re: Small Estate of Less than $100,000".

    This information is not intended to substitute for professional legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should accept legal advice only from a licensed legal professional with whom you have an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Stephanie Farr White

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . The banks have a pay on death beneficiary listed when accounts are open. If you take both death certificates to the bank, you can find out who the POD beneficiary is, and if it is you then you would have access.

    Stephanie White
    THE LAW OFFICE OF STEPHANIE WHITE
    Simi Valley, CA
    www.805Lawyer.com

    DISCLAIMER: The above is not legal advice nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship with the person posting the question or any person reading the above. There is no attorney-client relationship between any reader and this writer or her firm. These comments are not subject to any privilege protections. They are neither privileged nor confidential. The information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. Accordingly these comments cannot be relied upon as the law and the facts may differ from those with which the reader of this communication may be dealing.

    The following disclosure is required pursuant to IRS Circular 230: unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.

  3. Robin Mashal

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Disclaimer: The materials provided below are informational and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

    Ms. White's suggestion is correct. However, if it turns out that your parents did not designate a beneficiary for their bank account, you may need to initiate a probate case or file for administration of small esate, depending on the size of your parents' estate. You should consult your own attorney to protect your legal rights.

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