How can I retrieve money from my deceased husband’s checking account?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can I retrieve money from my deceased husband’s checking account?

My husband of 30 years passed away 8 months ago. He had a checking account and I have no idel on how to retrieve the money. It has less than a $1000 in it. I am 64 years old on a fixed income and had a stroke, so my speech is impaired. When I went to the bank to see how to properly handle this matter, the representative laughed in my face. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I really direction on how to go about doing this? And what is a general cost range?

Asked on January 2, 2017 under Family Law, Mississippi


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I assume that your husband died without a will since you did not mention that he had one. In such a case, he died "intestate". This means that you could go to the probate court as ask for appointment to become the administrator of his estate. However, since it is such a small estate, the law allows you to file for a small estate process, which is cheaper and faster. In fact, MS like some other states, has a procedure that allows inheritors to skip probate altogether if the deceased died without a Will. It's available only for bank accounts up to $12,500. All an inheritor has to do is prepare a short document, stating that they are entitled to a certain asset. This document, called an "affidavit", is signed under oath. Additionally, the person claiming the money must sign a bond guaranteeing to pay any lawful debts of the deceased person to the extent of the withdrawal. Then, when the institution holding the property (for example, as in your case, a bank where the deceased had an account), gets the affidavit and a copy of the death certificate, it will release the asset. At this point, you can contact your county probate court for further information or check online.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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