When Someone Dies, What Happens to His or Her Bank Account?



Video Summary

When someone dies, what happens to their bank account?  Well, the first thing you need to do is to look at how the bank account is titled.  If the bank account is jointly held, then the bank account becomes the sole property of the survivor.  So, if there’s a Jane Doe and a John Doe on the account and John Doe passes away, then the account becomes the sole property of Jane Doe.  If the accounts are set up in the name of John Doe and POD, which stands for “payable on death”, to Jane Doe, then Jane merely presents a death certificate to the bank and then the bank will disperse the account to Jane Doe.

Also, another designation for bank accounts is ITF.  It’s called “in trust for” and if the account is set up under “John Doe, ITF, Jane Doe”, Jane Doe merely needs to present a death certificate to the bank and they should disperse the account to her.  If the account is just in John Doe’s name and there’s no beneficiary or co-owner, then the account must go through an estate proceeding. What type of probate proceeding will be necessary will depend on the size of the account, and it will go to whoever his heirs are.

If he does not have a bank account subject to administration it will go to the payment of creditors.  If he has a will, John Doe would designate who he would want to receive the bank account and it would be subject to administration again, but would go to the designated beneficiaries.  If he has none, then the account could go to the State of Florida.  If the account is never probated and  just sits, it could be considered abandoned property and after a very long period of time the state may receive it.  Many times heirs are contacted by various companies who locate abandoned assets and contact you about setting up an estate proceeding; of course, they’re entitled to a fee for finding these assets.

So, it depends on how the account’s set up as to who receives the bank account when someone passes away.  If you have any questions or if you have a bank account that a decedent owned, give me a call and I’ll be glad to assist you in recovering the bank account or handling the probate proceeding.  My phone number’s (727) 847-2288.  Thank you.