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Was it legal for my sister to take over my dad's bank account after he died?

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 16, 2011
melanieluminos asked...
My parents are both deceased. After Mother died, Dad added my sister as a signer on the account but the account was not changed to a joint account. When my dad died, what should have happened to the checking account? Should it have remained open and accessible to my sister who is not executor on the estate? She changed the account to a joint account in my Dad's name and her name. Is this legal? Should the bank have allowed this

Caring.com User - Denis Clifford
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Denis Clifford is a lawyer specializing in estate planning. A graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review...

What should have happened to the account after you Dad died depends on the law of the state where the account was, or is .I do not know what state See also:
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this is, nor would I be likely to know that state's laws about taking over bank accounts after the owner died. Still, I can say that what happened doesn't seem right to me. You sister would not, in my opinion, have the legal right to change the account into a joint account without the consent of the original owner, your dad. However, I don't know what rights your sister had as a signer on the account. I do not know if legally she could have withdrawn all funds in the account simply by signing a check to accomplish that.

I suspect that legally the account should be part of your father's estate. Therefore the executor would determine the proper way to handle the account. I suggest that you ask the executor to contact the bank and ask the bank to explain what has happened with the account, and why the bank permitted a joint account to be created. under these circumstances.


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