How Can I Access A Deceased Family Member's Bank Accounts?

How Can I Access A Deceased Family Member’s Bank Accounts?

May 2, 2023

How Can I Access A Deceased Family Member’s Bank Accounts?

Nearly everyone has digital assets today, and they often continue to exist even after death. If you’re managing a loved one’s estate, you may be wondering how to access and close their online accounts, from email to social media to subscriptions. Depending on the account, there are different requirements for accessing it. These include providing a certified copy of the death certificate and sometimes other documentation as well.

Digital Assets

Digital assets can include everything from your email and social media accounts to subscriptions, e-books and even web domain names. These items can have monetary value, as well as intangible sentimental value, and they are often stored online, making them easy to access if you die or become incapacitated. Digital estate planning involves creating a list of your digital assets, and deciding how you would like them to be handled upon your death. Creating a will will relieve your loved ones of navigating a more extensive probate court process when you die. The first step is to create a list of all your digital assets, including your login, account information and passwords. Having a list is critical to ensure your executor has the necessary tools to access any accounts or files you leave behind.

Bank Accounts

There are a number of ways to access the bank accounts of a deceased family member. This is especially important if you are acting as an executor for their estate. If the deceased person owned the account with another person, such as a spouse or parent, it will usually be titled as joint with rights of survivorship (JTWROS). This means that when one of them dies, the other automatically becomes the owner. This avoids the need for probate and ensures that the surviving owner can continue using the account. In addition, it can also help couples monitor their spending habits and financial goals. A bank account can also be named as payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD), allowing for a designated beneficiary to inherit the funds when the original owner passes away. This makes the process of closing the account and distributing the funds easier.

Credit Cards

If the deceased person held a credit card, they likely had a line of revolving credit that could be accessed by someone else with proper authorization. Generally, this authority would be granted by court appointment or by an estate executor who had legal power to act on behalf of the deceased. If the credit card owner had a payable on death (POD) or transferable on death account, then the bank would release the funds to the named beneficiary upon their death without going through probate. Alternatively, the account would be closed and its contents distributed as a part of the deceased person’s estate.

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