Can I write a check from a bank account that my deceased husbands name is on?

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Can I write a check from a bank account that my deceased husbands name is on?

My deceased husband name is on a joint bank account with his two brothers.

Asked on March 4, 2016 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If your name was also on the account, then you could do this, because you would also one of the account holders. But if your name was not on the account, you have no right to write checks from this account--and the bank would be doing something illegal if they allowed you to (the bank can't let anyone, even spouses, access an account on which they are not named).
You generally would have to wait until your husband's estate is probated to access the account, but may be able to get a court order on an "emergent" (think: "urgent" or "emergency") basis allowing to access at least some of the money if you urgenty need it. Best would be to hire an attorney to help you; if you can't afford one, contact the clerk of the probate or surrogates court to get instructions on how file a legal action requesting this relief (or help) from the court. A court order would be the only way to access the account before the estate is wrapped up.


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