I was working on two different matters this week that involved a Louisiana resident who died with surviving family members who had no idea of the existence or balances of bank accounts.
- In the first situation, Dad died leaving two grown children. They knew had accounts at three different banks but they had no idea of the account numbers and balances. When they asked the bank for information, they said, "We can't give it to you. Since I know that an administration of this succession is necessary, we will get the two sons appointed as the independent co-executors of the Will, and the boys will have "Letters of Independent Executorship," issued to them. With these Letters, they can go to any Louisiana bank, open an estate bank account, and then go to the three different banks and require them to close Dad's accounts and issue checks payable to Dad's Estate that will be deposited in the new estate account.
- In the second situation, Brother died intestate without a spouse, children, or surviving parents. He was survived by one sister - his only heir. Sister knows his only assets are two bank accounts - but she has no idea what is in them. I'm trying to determine whether the assets are less than $50,000 (so we can settle the estate with an Affidavit of Small Succession) or whether there is more than $50,000 and we will have to open a Succession at the courthouse. The two banks would not release information to us. One credit union stated that if we produce a death certificate (or proof from the funeral home that one has been applied for) and proof that Sister is the heir (we prepared an Affidavit of Death, Domicile and Heirship for sister to sign) then they will release the account information to us. The other bank said we needed a court order for them to release account informaton.
If a family member has passed away and you are unsure about what your next steps should be, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give our office a call at 225-329-24350. I''ll be happy to take a look at it for no cost to you.