My sister died. I had power over medical decisions.I never got power of attorney. She had no children. How can I get her money from her bank?
The following looks at each point in your question to help give you some
- My sister died....Did she have a will? If yes the will might govern how
her bank account is distributed following death. If she had a will and
specifically stated in in that you should inherit that account, or if you
were the residuary beneficiary (the person who inherits whatever is left
after other bequests if any) then that provision in the will might
determine whether you or someone else inherits that bank account.
- I had power over medical decisions.... This has no relevance to the
disposition of your sister's assets, in fact you often are prohibited by
law from combining financial powers with health care decisions.
- I never got power of attorney.... A power of attorney is a legal
document in which your sister would have named you agent to handle her tax,
financial and legal matters. A couple of points are important. First, on
your sister's death her power of attorney automatically terminated. So even
if you were named her agent, your sister's death would have terminated your
rights as agent. Further, if you were your sister's power of attorney you
would have to use that power to benefit your sister, etc.
- She had no children....This would be important because they you, rather
than children, might well be listed in the will as the heir. It might also
mean under the state's intestacy laws (the laws of the state where your
sister was domiciled at her death) you as a sibling might be the next of
kin to inherit (children, had their been any) would have come before
- How can I get her money from her bank? .... If your sister had a will
and it named you executor and as beneficiary, then you would collect all
her assets, pay her bills and then distribute the bank account to you as
the intended heir. If your sister died without a will you would have to
determine from your state's laws of intestacy (who inherits when there is
no will) whether you were in fact the heir. If you were able to recieve the
bank account on this basis, the account if part of your sister's estate
would still have to be used to meet estate expenses first.
A couple of other points to also review with the estate/probate attorney you
- First, verify the name and ownership (title) of the bank account. If
there is an "ITF" (in trust for) or similar designations then in fact the
account may be yours for the taking. Find out the title.
- If you live in an estate with an inheritance tax, you might face a tax
Given the potential complexity with what you proabably thought was a simple
question, play it smart and have a probate attorney help you.