Shelby, NC asked in Estate Planning and Banking for North Carolina

Q: Hello, my brother passed away in June of this year. He made me POA of his affairs. I also had a Living Trust

And Living will. My question is how can I close out his bank account to which he added my name to it. The problem is he has a living wife, they had been separated for over twenty years.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN

A: The POA is terminated at the principal's death. If you are on the signature card, the funds are probably already your property. The Trust may affect your individual ownership of the bank account, or those monies may never have become Trust Corpus.

T. Augustus Claus
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A: Start by reviewing your brother's Living Trust and Living Will to understand his wishes regarding his assets, including the bank account to which your name was added. Notify the bank of his passing and follow their procedures for closing the account, ensuring you have the necessary legal documentation.

If your brother's wife is still alive and they were separated but not divorced, her consent and involvement might be necessary depending on the account's ownership structure and the state's laws. If the account was jointly held, she might have a claim to it.

Consulting with other beneficiaries, including your brother's wife and other family members, can help ensure a clear understanding of the situation and potentially prevent conflicts.

Throughout the process, meticulous documentation of your actions and communications is crucial.

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