How do you get a bank account unfrozen after a death? 41 Answers as of November 20, 2012

I had power of attorney, so how do I get the money?

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LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG
LAW OFFICE OF ROBERT I LONG | Robert I. Long
In California, a power of attorney expires when the principal dies. However it may be considered evidence of what the decedent intended to happen at his passing. If the account was set up to provide a beneficiary or pay-on-death direction, that will control. Otherwise it will be covered by a will or, if titled in the name of a trust, as the trust directs. It may even be governed by a trust if not titled in the name of the trust if the trust or trust attachment indicates that was the intention. If no will or trust, it would go to the account-holder's heirs under the laws of intestacy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/20/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
Your power of attorney ended upon the death of the person. If the person had a will, then the money would be part of the estate. How are you related to the deceased? A court order is necessary to get the money, but you may not be entitled to it.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/16/2012
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
Depends on a number of things so it is difficult to answer this question without more information regarding the person that passed the account, their assets, etc. You may want to meet with an attorney for a consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/14/2012
Paul Nidich, Attorney at law
Paul Nidich, Attorney at law | Paul Nidich
The Power of Attorney is void after the death of the maker. You need to open a probate estate and get a tax release from the county auditor.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 11/14/2012
Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
The power of attorney ceases to have legal effect on death of the represented person. If the bank account had a joint owner or a pay on death designee, the bank will pay the account to that person after receiving their paperwork. If there was no beneficiary, there is an affidavit procedure that can be used if the aggregate bank account balances are less than $25,000. Otherwise, you will have to do a small estate affidavit or probate.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/13/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You need to be appointed administrator of his estate.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/14/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, the power of attorney is only applicable while the principal is alive. The personal representative for the estate, or a joint owner/titleholder of the account, may be able to access the account after the principal has died.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/14/2012
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    The power of attorney is not valid after an individual dies. You need to open a probate estate unless there is a joint owner on the account.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/14/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    The power of attorney died with maker. The monies will need to go through probate unless someone is named as the beneficiary on the account. I suggest you speak with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/14/2012
    Bassinger & Harvey
    Bassinger & Harvey | Randy J Harvey
    Power of attorney ceases upon the death of the account holder. You will have to probate the estate in order to get access the deceased's assets. This advice is based on the limited facts that you have provided, additional facts may change the advice. We are not providing you legal advice, rather we are responding to your set of facts based on general legal principles. You should not rely on this information without consulting an attorney and providing the attorney with a complete set of facts. We provide a reduced rate initial consultation for $35.00, if you would like a more complete answer. We are not representing you in this or any other matter, unless and until you and we have entered into a written agreement for services.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/14/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Power of attorney died at death of the giver of the power to you. The money in the account can only be paid to you by the bank only if you were a pay on death beneficiary or a joint tenant and signatory on the account; the bank will require identification, social security number, and death certificate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/14/2012
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    Your POA is no longer effective. It is revoked by death. To unfreeze the bank account you need either a small estate affidavit or a probate estate.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/14/2012
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    An estate must be filed for the deceased. The assets of the deceased must be distributed via the Court. Banks won't pay any attention unless its through an order of the court. Speak with an attorney familiar with probate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    It depends on what state the account is located, the amount in the account, if there was a will, and your relationship to the deceased. In some states, if the amount in the account amount is low enough and all the heirs agree, you can take a certified copy of the death certificate to the bank and have the money transferred to the heir or heirs.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Start a probate. If there are not enough assets to justify probate, consider a small estate affidavit.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    The power of attorney terminates upon the death of the individual who made you his/her attorney in fact. Depending upon the amount in the account, you may need to initiate probate proceedings. If the amount is under $100,000.00 the heirs of the decedent may execute a small estate affidavit 45 days after the decedent's death.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    A power of attorney is no longer valid after the death of the principal. The account is included in the probate estate, which will be distributed in accordance with court order. If the total estate is all personal property (no real estate) and is valued at under $150,000, then you may be able to use an affidavit for collection of small estate instead.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    A probate estate must be opened, if there is more than $20,000 in assets. If the assets are less than $20,000, then there are small estate procedures which can be used to lessen or eliminate the need for probate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    The bank will only release the funds to someone who is authorized to collect the money on behalf of the estate. Your Power of Attorney was only effective while the principal was alive. If there are sufficient assets to probate the estate, one of the first steps will be for the court to appoint a Personal Representative of the estate. The bank will accept this appointment and release the funds to the personal representative. If the total funds to be collected do not exceed $50,000.00, there is a procedure for a person claiming priority to collect funds with an appropriate Affidavit and a death certificate. It is the bank that is trying to avoid possible liability by releasing the money to the wrong person.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Law Office of Edward M. Burgh, APC | Edward M. Burgh
    You have to get an Order from the Probate Court unless there are no other assets and the bank account is small enough.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
    A power of attorney no longer provides any authority after the death of the principal. The estate of the deceased holds the interest of the deceased person. The proper Personal Representative is given the authority to act on the estate's assets. The personal Representative is approved by the Probate Court by application. If there was a will then the PR would likely be set out in the will. A PR would not likely have any need to distribute money from a deceased's checking account until the full probate of the estate has occurred and distributions to heirs or beneficiaries are required.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    All "powers of attorney" terminate at death. You must now open a probate estate in order to get to the money in the account.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Ben T. Liu Law Office
    Ben T. Liu Law Office | Ben T. Liu
    You will need to start a probate. The power of attorney is no good after death.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Whiteford, Taylor, & Preston | Edwin Fee
    The power of attorney terminated upon death. An estate needs to be opened.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    Power of attorney no longer has effect after the principal's death. If the account is in the decedent's sole name, then you need to either provide a small estate affidavit, if applicable, or go to court to open an estate and obtain letters of office.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    Power of Attorney dies with the principal You must go to Probate Court.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    Once a person dies the Power of Attorney ends. Once a person dies the Last Will & Testament of the deceased is probated and the executor then gathers all the assets and prepares the estate for payment of debts and distribution to the heirs.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    A power of attorney doesn't necessarily give you any rights to the property and assets of the person who granted you that power. The authority under the power of attorney terminates at the death of the person granting the power in the first place. The money in an account is usually not "frozen" at the death of the account owner but you simply may have no right to that property unless your name was on the account or unless the account was "POD" (payable on death to you) or "TOD" (transfer on death to you).
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC
    Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC | Matt Potempa
    Your power of attorney ceases to be effective after death. A probate court needs to appoint an administrator and that administrator can make the bank account proceeds part of the estate if they were titled to the name of the Decedent. You should consult an experienced probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 11/13/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    The power of attorney is no longer valid, you must probate the estate in probate court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A.
    The Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. | Laurie E. Ohall
    A durable power of attorney ends with the person's death. If the bank account is solely in the principal's (the person who signed the power of attorney and whom you acted as agent for) name, then your only alternative is to file a probate to have the money transferred to the beneficiaries. You should also check with the bank to make sure the account was not "payable on death" to beneficiaries, however, if the account is frozen, it most likely did not have a POD designation.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Unless your name is on the account, only the executor or personal representative can have access to the funds. Power of attorney ceases at the moment of death.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    TrustCounsel | Gregory Herman-Giddens
    Powers of attorney are not valid after death. If the decedent did not have a will, someone, usually the next of kin, will need to apply to the court to become administrator. Then any accounts can be accessed.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks
    Law Offices of Terrell Monks | Terrell Monks
    The Power of Attorney expires on death, but Oklahoma Statutes allow the recovery of deposits up to $20,000 by affidavit of the heir(s). A few banks provide those affidavits for their depositors. If that doesn't work, you may have to open a probate case in the district court of the county where the decedent resided.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Byers & Goulding, PLC | Andrew Byers
    Powers of attorney cease to have any effectiveness as soon as the principal, the maker of the document, passes away. If the bank account is solely in the deceased person's name, you may have to open his/her probate estate to access the bank account funds.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    A financial power of attorney is void upon death. You need to see an attorney to open up a probate estate. Depending on the value of the bank account, there may be several procedures available to use to shorten the probate process and not have to open up a full probate estate. Please see an experienced probate attorney for this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
    GOLD & ASSOCIATES, P.C. | KENNETH GOLD
    If no one else's name is on it, it will have to go through probate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    You will have to probate their estate to get access to the account. Your Power of Attorney expires at their death and your authority as PoA ends. If the person had a will, you will probate the will. If they didn't have a will, you will have to file an Administration of the estate and be bonded. You should see a probate attorney in your County.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    POA is only effective while alive. An estate needs to be opened.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/12/2012
    The Mills Law Office LLC
    The Mills Law Office LLC | Darren J Mills
    The question is who is the administrator/executor of the estate? The POA would lapse upon the death of the principal. The funds belong to the estate and are to be distributed according to the decedent's Will or if no Will, the State's intestate laws.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 11/12/2012
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