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  1. #1

    Default Bank Insolence - How to Get the Checking Account of a Deceased Spouse

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Nebraska

    My mother suddenly passed away and she had always said her assets would go only to my sisters, so I see no stake in this.
    My father retired after 50 years of private business practice and banked at the same regional institution since it was a 1-stop shop. He had power of attorney many years ago when she was ill, after which they moved locally and she opened an account at that bank.
    Her living Will is claimed by my family to have been settled several years ago when I was away. Local probate court says there is no will on file. She had about 100K in SS savings at that time. She showed my her checking account a few weeks ago and it had $9K. I am sure she regularly reminded Dad to put money in it for household expenses. He says he went to the bank and presented the death cert and notarized will and they refused to transfer the account over to his own. There are no instructions on the account like POD.
    He is working on a Probate claim, but for the lawyer fees and I suppose also the inheritance taxes. So he went to the local “Free Legal Clinic” advertised for family and elder law, etc., and they told him like they’ve told me recently “we don’t do that sort of law.”
    Is there a sensible way to get that account settled?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bank Insolence - How to Get the Checking Account of a Deceased Spouse

    If there was no Pay on Death or beneficiary designated for the account, it is an asset of the your mom's estate. The bank will not release it until probate is opened and someone is named executor/executrix with authority to do anything with the estate's assets.

    All assets will pass according to Nebraska's intestate succession laws.
    I am the Mouse Man

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bank Insolence - How to Get the Checking Account of a Deceased Spouse

    I'm sorry for your loss, but you've got some confused legal principles there. First off, a living will has nothing whatsoever to do with asset distribution. It is a document that indicates how certain medical decisions should be made in the event that the person making it is not conscious or competent to make their desires known.

    In Nebraska, if your mother had a separate account, or even a joint account that does not specifically provide survivorship rights to her spouse, there's more to getting the money than just showing the bank a death certificate. The estate will need to be probated.

    There is no federal inheritance tax (and estate taxes don't come into play until you're talking about estates in excess of ten million dollars). Nebraska has no estate tax. It does have an inheritance tax, but the spouse is exempt from that.

    The law for intestate succession (providing that the children are the common children of the deceased and his spouse at the time) provide that the spouse gets the first $100,000 in his estate, and then half of everything else. The children get what's left.

    You'll not find a "free probate" lawyer. They will get paid from the estate.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bank Insolence - How to Get the Checking Account of a Deceased Spouse

    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    My mother suddenly passed away
    When?


    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    she had always said her assets would go only to my sisters, so I see no stake in this.
    Unless she made a will that leaves nothing for you, what "she had always said" is irrelevant.


    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    My father retired after 50 years of private business practice and banked at the same regional institution since it was a 1-stop shop. He had power of attorney many years ago when she was ill, after which they moved locally and she opened an account at that bank.
    As far as I can tell, your father is still alive. Correct?


    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    Her living Will is claimed by my family to have been settled several years ago when I was away.
    Her "living will" or her will? "Living will" is a colloquialism that generally refers to a power of attorney/healthcare directive and has nothing to do with the disposition of assets. A will is a document that directs the disposition of one's probate estate. Also, what does "when I was away" mean?


    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    She had about 100K in SS savings at that time.
    At what time?


    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    She showed my her checking account a few weeks ago and it had $9K.
    I'm confused about the timeline here. If she "showed [you something relating to] her checking account a few weeks ago," then how could her "living will . . . have been settled several years ago"?


    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    He says he went to the bank and presented the death cert and notarized will and they refused to transfer the account over to his own. There are no instructions on the account like POD.
    That makes sense. If there is no POD designation, then he'll have to establish entitlement to the money in her account. That's going to require either that he be appointed by the probate court as executor of her estate or that he comply with the small estate process (if Nebraska has one and the estate is sufficiently small).

    Handling probate isn't a good do-it-yourself project. I suggest your father retain a probate attorney.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bank Insolence - How to Get the Checking Account of a Deceased Spouse

    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    Is there a sensible way to get that account settled?
    Based on online information from the Nebraska Supreme Court, it looks like your father can bypass probate by submitting to the bank an Affidavit for Transfer of Personal Property without Probate. He will need to follow the link, read the instructions and download the form.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bank Insolence - How to Get the Checking Account of a Deceased Spouse

    I think the others above have directed me sufficiently. Rats, too!
    For the clarity of others:
    Yes, her husband is still alive and kicking. Her will includes checking account, etc as Residuary, and specified transfer to husband. She was giving up and clued me to her assets - she often didn't have much sense to the things she did. I will use your redirect to Affidavit for Transfer of Personal Property without Probate. Many thanks.

    Well, my father already found that "Affidavit" solution, but they moved last winter to the Nebraska side and her bank and apparently her information on file was still in Iowa. He cannot find any such transfer solution for Iowa. Any further direction on this would be vital info. Thanks again, all.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Bank Insolence - How to Get the Checking Account of a Deceased Spouse

    Quote Quoting Cymulacra
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    Well, my father already found that "Affidavit" solution, but they moved last winter to the Nebraska side and her bank and apparently her information on file was still in Iowa. He cannot find any such transfer solution for Iowa. Any further direction on this would be vital info. Thanks again, all.
    He should read Iowa Code 633.356 Distribution of property by affidavit.

    A free Iowa Affidavit of Heirship form is available on the non-profit site AffidavitForms.org.

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