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WHAT HAPPENS TO CHECKING AND SAVINGS BANK ACCOUNTS AND CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT WHEN SOMEONE DIES?

People often neglect to include checking and savings bank accounts and certificates of deposit when making arrangements for distribution of their assets after death. The deposit agreement between the bank and the account holder is one determinant for what happens when the owner dies.

However, if the deceased person had an individual account with no provisions for a beneficiary, the legal options for handling the bank account vary based on state laws, marital status and whether a will was left. Someone who has not clarified his/her wishes in writing might be leaving her bank accounts to distribution under state laws, or the accounts might go to an inheritor who will not use the assets as he/she intended.

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