Nashville, TN asked in Estate Planning and Probate for District of Columbia

Q: My Aunt passed away 4 years ago in Washington D.C. She was not married, nor did she have children.

My Aunt passed away 4 years ago in Washington D.C. She was not married, nor did she have children. Her Estate has not been probated because she did not have a Will. She does have several bank accounts with a large amount of money. All other family is out of state, and we realize the complications of trying to probate her Estate. My question is since she has Bank accounts versus property could the family present her death certificate, and photo ID to see if she possibly has POD beneficiaries on her accounts versus going through probate? Most of her accounts have been turned into Unclaimed Property.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: No. Some family member or other interested party must petition to open an estate and be appointed Personal Representative, and all other heirs at law notified of the proceedings. The petitioner need not be a DC resident, but could retain local counsel to act as agent and guide them through the procedures. The banks and/or Unclaimed Property Division will only answer to and deal with the PR of the estate. I am sorry, but there are no shortcuts. If there were beneficiaries named on the accounts, they would have been located already if possible.

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