If my brother’s name was on my late mother’s checkbook, how can I find out about the balance?

UPDATED: Sep 26, 2013

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If my brother’s name was on my late mother’s checkbook, how can I find out about the balance?

When she died and the bills were paid the remaining money was to be divided among us. I have yet to hear from him and he refuses to contact me. How can I find out what is owed to me?

Asked on September 26, 2013 under Estate Planning, Maryland


Tricia Dwyer / Tricia Dwyer Esq & Associates PLLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Hello. Presumably, your brother was named on the account, meaning, a co-owner. You may have no way to force him to share certain monies. Go to your attorney (licensed in YOUR state). Some attorneys are available seven days for emergency legal needs. Many attorneys will speak initially at no charge. Then, if legal work is performed, some attorneys will provide a reduced fee for financial hardship. Some attorneys may also assist you in a limited scope manner to conserve legal costs. All the best.



Tricia Dwyer, Esq & Associates PLLC

Phone: 612-296-9666

365 Days of the Year until 8 p.m. daily



Minnesota Law Firm

Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I hate to be that bearer of bad news, but you may not be able to force him to share the money from that account. If the account was in both of their names and titled as joint tenants with right of survivorship, then all of the funds became your brother's property when your mother died. If that is the case, he does not have to share that money. He may still want to share it, however, to honor his mother's wishes; but he would not be legally obligated to do that. 

On the other hand, if the account is only in her name and he just has check signing privileges, then he would be obligated to distribute the funds to her heirs. You'll have to try to find out how the account was set up. 

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