New Berlin, WI asked in Banking, Estate Planning and Probate for Iowa

Q: What if someone takes money (bank CDs) that is left to someone else in a legal will?

My grandmother left 2 CDs left to my father in her will, also stating that if he passes within 30 days then they would go to me, my father passed 3 days later. The bank only had my father as a beneficiary, so they were put in his name. My father did not have a will. The bank told me they don't follow wills so I was not able to get them transferred to me because he was married and she bec omes the executor of his estate. My fathers wife has now cashed them and taken them for herself. Do I have any legal rights to the money?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI

A: I'm sorry for your loss, however it sounds like your Grandmother messed up here. If there is a beneficiary named on an asset, the will does not control it, and if your father died 1 second after your grandmother, then the bank did what it should by placing the CDs into your father's name. If your father didn't have a will distributing the property otherwise, his surviving spouse will most likely have priority in taking his property.

If there was a LOT of property it may make sense to have a local estates and probate attorney review things, but it sounds like this was not handled the way it should have been done if your grandmother really wanted a specific survivorship provision with this asset.

--This answer is provided for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney - client relationship. If you need legal advice you should consult with a local attorney. I am licensed to practice in Michigan only.

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