Q: How can I gain access to my mothers bank account now that she is deceased?
Both my parents are deceased. They did own a trailer but the landlady of the park took the trailer and any assets inside and all that is gone now. There is only a bank account left. They did not have a will and I was power of attorney for my mother before passing . Is it possible for me to be able to gain access to her account now? Is there a way that I donot have to hire a lawyer because I really can not afford one. Thankyou
A: There is simplified probate process for small estates. Contact the probate court in the county where your mother lived. They might help you with the necessary forms. If not, use the Find a Lawyer tab to retain a local probate attorney who can advise you. But that might not be cost-effective. If you do nothing, eventually, the bank will turn over the account to Ohio Unclaimed Funds, and you can try to get it from that fund. Talk to the bank to find out how long before they turn over the account to the fund.
Unless the account was set to pay on death to a beneficiary, then the only way to access those funds is by going through the probate process. The process can be complex, although as Mr. Jaap said, there are occasions when a simplified process can be used. If you want to try doing it yourself I suggest:
1. Review Ohio's Rules of Superintendence
2. Review the local rules. (Probate should be opened in the County Probate Court where your mother lived at the time they passed away)
3. Go to your local law library and do some research. They typically have legal treatises that can help provide some guidance.
Keep in mind that depending on how title is held, you may be required to open up a probate for your mother, AND a separate one for your father.
Best of luck.
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