Palm Springs, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: WFB and BBVA Bank won't give me basic information on accounts. I am Executor of Estate and Successor Trustee of Trust.

My Friend was a CA resident and died on 2/4/2021. I have given them Death Cert. and Trust Cert. Accounts were in his individual name not in the trust. Why can't I get information from them?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Carol A Fauerbach
Carol A Fauerbach
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Folsom, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Your powers as Trustee will not allow you to access information for accounts outside of the Trust. Your powers as Executor are only used for assets in the probate estate. A probate estate contains assets that are not owned by a trust, not jointly owned by another person who survived your friend, or that did not have a transfer on death beneficiary. These banks should provide information to either the beneficiary of the accounts or the personal representative of the estate. If the total value of assets in the probate estate is less than $166,250, and there is no real property in the probate estate, a small estate affidavit is used to transfer funds to the appropriate beneficiary. However, if the value of assets exceeds this amount or involves real property, then probate is likely required through the courts to appoint a personal representative and authorize the distribution of property. You should consult a trust administration/probate attorney to review the Trust and Will and your specific situation to advise you regarding the appropriate next steps.

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