Plano, TX asked in Banking and Probate for Texas

Q: My husband needs help getting access to his dead father's bank accounts.

My father in law passed away in June 2020. My husband has presented all documentation to the bank within 2 weeks of his dad's passing. However, the bank keeps giving him the runaround. The bank won't provide any information as to any of his dad's accounts or when they will be released to my husband. My husband needs help.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Isaac Shutt
Isaac Shutt
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Richardson, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I can imagine that there could be one of two problems:

First, it could be that the bank requires "letters testamentary" or a "small estate affidavit." These can be required by the bank, and you can only get them by going to probate court. If your father in law had a will, you'll need to get a local probate attorney to handle probating the will for you. The good news is that Collin County is known for being one of the easiest and least expensive in the state for probate.

Second, it could be that the bankers don't know what they're talking about. This is actually all too common! Sometimes it's better to try a different branch. Worst case, a lawyer letter may get it done.

Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: You do not write what "documentation" your husband presented. If the bank accounts were held Pay on Death ("POD") to your husband or Joint with Right of Survivorship ("JWROS") with him, a death certificate should suffice. Otherwise, someone will have to submit his father's Will to probate (proving) or, if there is no Will, submit either a Small Estate Affidavit or an Application for Determination of Heirship. Please ask your husband to consult with a probate attorney in the county in which his father died.

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