Stow, MA asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts

Q: my grandfather passed with out a will and I am the only heir how do I access his accounts?

there is a life insurance policy that I am the beneficiary to but they will not give me any information about it until I can prove power of attorney.

2 Lawyer Answers
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Woburn, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Hello, If you were the beneficiary of the life policy or if you were the only survivor as a contingent beneficiary, then you will need his death certificate and death certificates of the other contingent beneficiaries if you are the survivor. Now, that said, sometimes no beneficiary is named and that would entail commencing an estate if there would be a pay out of over $25,000. If under $25,000 then you would be able to file a Voluntary Statement with the Probate Court where he resided. This answer presumes grandfather lived in Massachusetts..

Peter C Herbst Jr
Peter C Herbst Jr
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Braintree, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: I'm sorry for your loss. With bank accounts in his name that do not have a joint owner or a beneficiary designation you would need to obtain probate court authorization to get access. There are a couple different types of probate depending on the size of the estate and whether there is real estate involved. You should talk to an attorney to find out which method works best for you.

With the life insurance, typically a beneficiary needs only submit a certified copy of the death certificate and a claim form to receive the life insurance benefits paid out to them. Even if your grandfather named you as an agent under a power of attorney, that power of attorney would have terminated at the moment of his death so its odd they would request that (since its irrelevant and lapsed anyway).

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