Q: As executor can I gain access to bank records of accounts held in joint tenancy between my Mother and brother?
My mother left a will naming me as executor and splitting her estate equally between my brother and I. I have filed for Summary Administration for a mineral interest held in Oklahoma where I reside. Her only other assets are bank accounts held in joint tenancy with my brother in Arizona where she resided. The accounts were convenience accounts to allow him to pay her expenses, only her monies were deposited. He has not been forthcoming in allowing me to access statements for proving final payment of expenses etc. This may be laziness, he has not proven highly responsible with money and my mother had reservations on adding him to account. I would like to see records for peace of mind as much as any other reason. The amount of the estate is insignificant.
A: Because the bank accounts were held in joint tenancy with your brother, both your mother and brother owned the accounts while your mother was alive. Upon your mother's death, the account became the sole property of your brother. Therefore, the account is not part of your mother's probate estate and you generally have no right to access it as the executor of her probate estate.
All of that being said, you should consult an Oklahoma probate attorney. Depending on whether your mother's will was probated in Arizona, as well as other factors, you may be able to petition the OK court to force your brother to testify or turn over any records you may need.
Brian Boeheim agrees with this answer
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.