What happens if my father passed away last week and there are 2 bank accounts with no designated beneficiary?

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What happens if my father passed away last week and there are 2 bank accounts with no designated beneficiary?

His Will states that everything goes to my mother, his spouse. Does this have to go through probate? Is there a way we can handle this without attorney/probate because the amount of money in the 2 accounts is not significant?

Asked on May 8, 2013 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There are a couple of different options which could help in your situtation.  If your mom was on the account and they held the account jointly, then you and your mom simply need to go have his name removed from the account because her right of survivorship is automatic.  If your mom was not on the account, but is the sole heir, then you may just need her to complete an affidavit of heirshp for the bank and have the funds moved to an account in her name.  The affidavit of heirship is for smaller estates which don't need a probate.  To make sure that your affidavit meets all legal requirements, you may still want to visit with a probate attorney-- but instead of requesting a probate, ask them to help you draft the affidavit of heirship which is much cheaper and simpler than a full blown probate.


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