Gaining Access to Bank Accounts in DC Probate

One of the crucial steps in DC probate is gaining access to the decedent’s bank accounts. To be able to do this, a representative must generally have the proper proof showing they have the authority. An experienced probate attorney can help guide a personal representative through the process of getting the necessary documentation and accessing the appropriate accounts.

Proving the Authority to Gain Access to Bank Accounts in DC

In DC, the letters of qualifications are referred to as letters of administration, which convey to financial institutions or other jurisdictions that a person has the authority to act on behalf of the estate as a personal representative appointed by the court. It will also provide the date the person was appointed, when the appointment went into effect, and the estate on whose behalf they are entitled to act. These letters are generally required by financial institutions when a person is acting on behalf of someone who has died.

A personal representative will obtain letters of administration from the Probate Division of the DC Superior Court in DC once the court has officially appointed them. They will automatically receive the letters once their Petition for Probate is reviewed.

Gaining Access to Digital Accounts

Online bank accounts and stock accounts are considered digital assets, and if a personal representative does not know how to gain access to them, they would have to contact the institutions, provide them with documentation of authority, and get access. That documentation would be the letter of administration. The institution also may require a death certificate or other documents to show that the owner of the digital assets was deceased.  Each digital account is typically governed by its own user agreement which will explain the rights of the personal representative.

In DC, the numbers of the letters of administration and the numbers of the death certificate will need to be identical for each bank account a person had to show that the personal representative has authority to have access to on behalf of the decedent’s estate. They also have to be able to prove the person has died.

To prove the date of death, the personal representative can obtain the deceased’s death certificate from the Vital Records Division of the DC Department of Health. Family members also can obtain the certificate if they can prove they have a certain relationship to the deceased. Parents, siblings, spouses, children, and any legal representative such as a personal representative are generally able to get a copy of a death certificate. An attorney can further explain the process of gaining access to digital accounts.

Ask An Attorney About Gaining Access to Bank Accounts in DC Probate

Before you are able to obtain access to the decedent’s bank account in DC probate, you have to be able to prove that you are the personal representative. This means obtaining letters of administration. For some accounts, you may also have to prove the decedent has died by showing the death certificate. To better understand the process, call today to speak with an attorney.