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  • Daniel Rodriguez

Non-Probate Transfers in Estate Planning – Bank and Other Financial Institution Accounts

A majority of people do not have sufficient assets to warrant the time and expense of filing a probate petition. For estates where there is no real property, assets are usually limited to funds in bank accounts, vehicles, and non-titled personal property, i.e., the contents of the home. If you are a son or daughter or other relative of a deceased person, what can you do to access assets of the decedent? If you have further questions on these legal concerns, contact a Roseville estate planning attorney of NewPoint Law Group, LLP today.

The most common situation concerns a need to cash out funds that are in financial accounts under the name of the decedent. If the account(s) are jointly owned, the surviving joint owner will continue to have unlimited access. If the account has an identified payable on death beneficiary designation, the beneficiary(ies) will receive the funds upon presentation of a death certificate. If it is not a joint account and there are no POD beneficiaries, what can be done to access the account(s)?

If you have access to the decedent’s financial records and mail, you should be able to locate bank statements which will inform you of the particular accounts and sums in the accounts. In the event that you would like to access the decedent’s accounts, and the amount in the account(s) exceeds $150,000, a probate will be necessary. If the amount is $150,000 or less, then there is a relatively simple and inexpensive procedure that may give you access to the funds.

Accessing Funds Without a Probate

Probate Code Section 13100 et. seq. authorizes financial institutions to release funds in the name of a deceased person without having to go through a probate process. The process involves signing a declaration or affidavit which contains certain statutorily prescribed information. The financial institution may have a form that contains the information, or if not, the form or declaration/affidavit can be prepared by a qualified estate planning attorney for a nominal cost. Once the declaration/affidavit is prepared, it is submitted to the financial institution and then the funds can be released to the appropriate person.

How Can Our Roseville Estate Planning Attorneys Help You?

Depending on the asset, there are other strategies for accessing the assets of a deceased person without having to formally probate an estate. Please see our related blogs which reference some of the other available, well-known procedures.

The Roseville estate planning lawyers at NewPoint Law Group, LLP have prepared many Probate Code 13100 affidavits over the years, and can efficiently assist in getting you access to the financial institution accounts. If you need assistance in understanding how irrevocable trusts and living trusts work, or estate planning as a whole, please contact us to schedule a convenient appointment at 800-358-0305.

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