Hermitage, TN asked in Probate for Tennessee

Q: If I am joint owner of Mom's banking account will the court order that also to be split?

If I am joint owner of Mom's banking account will the court order that also to be split?

There is a mortgage-free home which I assumed would automatically go to me, her daughter and POA while she lived. My only living sibling died in September 2021. She left a handwritten paper that it should be split equally between my brother and me. But I am told it is not a valid will. Would I not now be the only heir?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: If you are the Joint Owner, then the Bank Account is yours and does not go to the Next Of Kin. Who the Heirs are, of which Decedent, is something you need to talk to a competent attorney. Title needs to be searched, and Heirs determined. The paper may or may not be a Will. If not Probated, it means nothing. Hire an attorney now.

1 user found this answer helpful

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: You really should schedule a consultation with a probate attorney. I could give you a glib answer that the surviving joint owner is now the sole owner of the account but that would be without reviewing ALL of the facts. First, you might think you are a joint owner but in fact you are not. An attorney can help you sort that out. Second, for every rule there are exceptions. An attorney can help you sort out whether there are any exceptions that apply to your case, including review of the handwritten paper.

Who told you the handwritten paper is not a valid will? An attorney? If so, is he or she a probate attorney? If not, get a second opinion from an attorney that specializes in probate. If that person who told you was not an attorney, get an opinion from a bona fide probate attorney. Sometimes a handwritten paper can constitute a valid will.

1 user found this answer helpful

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