Enterprise, AL asked in Estate Planning for Alabama

Q: I am the executor of my mother's will. I am in the process of having it probated (waiting on 1 waiver)

My sister (the waiver I'm waiting on) has closed my mother's bank accounts. Sister is on the accounts but the funds are my mothers and were to be distributed according to the will. What is my legal standing?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jack T. Carney
Jack T. Carney
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: The answer to your question depends on the particular facts of your situation. The issue will be whether those accounts became assets of the estate or assets of your sister at your mother's death. As Executor you will have the power and maybe even the obligation to research that issue and determine if those accounts are more properly titled in the estate. As your attorney probably told you, you do not need her waiver to become Executor (the process is just more cumbersome without it).

Typically when there is a co-owner on a bank account, the account belongs to the surviving owner upon the death of the other. Alabama actually has a joint account act (see section 5-24-1 et seq, available at http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/alison/CodeOfAlabama/1975/Coatoc.htm ) that addresses these issues. The attorney assisting you with the probate of the estate would probably be a great resource for help with this matter.

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