How do we obtain deceased mother's bank funds? 7 Answers as of May 13, 2011

My mother passed in April, left only a hand written will (not notarized) stating that the money left ($40K in bank of America) to be divided among 3 siblings. How do we obtain it? Where do we start? Bank informed us that account would be placed on Hold and we need to go to court? Not sure of the right steps to take.

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
You need to file an Administration Proceeding in Surrogates or Probate Court and have an Administrator (usually one of the siblings) to administer the estate, including the bank account and split it up according to the law of the state in which you reside. I suggest you hire an estate attorney to handle the matter for you, but it's a minimal amount so it may be just as well to handle it as a small estate on your own. Call the local county Surrogates Court for more information. Good luck and I'm sorry for your loss.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/13/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
In order to obtain the funds in a Bank Account you must open a Probate Estate with the Court. Most Court Clerks will not give you legal advice, but they will give you the documents that you need.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 5/12/2011
Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
You need to speak to an attorney experienced in these issues & determine if a will/trust is in place followed by court action.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 5/12/2011
Apple Law Firm PLLC
Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
It sounds like the will is not valid and you will need to open a probate unless there is a co-owner on the account or a payable on death beneficiary.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/11/2011
The Schreiber Law Firm
The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
It depends on which state you live in, as state laws vary form state to state. In many states, you can take a certified copy of the death certificate to the bank to have the money released. If not, then it depends on whether you state recognizes hand written wills. If so, then you need to open a probate case to probate the will.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/11/2011
    Meyer & Yee, LLP
    Meyer & Yee, LLP | Kent W. Meyer
    The answer may depend on your state law. In Calif you could begin a probate case or if that was all she had you could go through a process without court action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2011
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