Bank accounts and death
Paul Brennan is the principal of Brennans Solicitors, a law firm located on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, where he practices with his wife, Diane in the areas of business law, litigation, property and wills/estates.
Over the years, by working in various countries, he noticed how similar the law can be. He set out to explain the law in a simple and often humorous way.
Banks must give you your money when you are alive but when you are dead it is a different matter. Even for a sum of say $1,000, it can be a long drawn out process. Many relatives get around this by pretending that you are still alive and cheerfully draw money from your account. No mean feat for a grieving widow.
There is no incentive for banks to streamline their procedures, whereas if you owed the bank money on your death, which is the preferred option, they may see it differently.
Now I know there is a lot to remember when you or someone close to you is dying, but just remember this “Do not leave the money in the Bank account unless it is a joint account and you are happy with the joint account holder keeping the money”.
If you have no time yourself, give a relative a Power of Attorney so that they can slip out of the hospital, clear out your bank account and be back at your bedside without telling you. It is less painful that way.
Extract from "A LEGAL GUIDE TO DYING-baby boomer edition."
© Paul Brennan 2008-16. All Rights Reserved.