Dear Stefanie:
       A friend of mine told me that she was frozen from a bank account in her husband’s name after he passed away. She had to go to probate court to a judge to approve release of the money. She always thought that she had equal rights to this money. Could did this happen?

– Bristled on Burghley Lane

Dear Bristled on Burghley Lane:
       Yes, I have seen this happen, and more than once with folks in Summerset. It is extremely important that you double and triple check how an asset is titled (aka: registered) at a financial institution.
The title of an account is extremely important. Title influences who may access funds upon incapacity or death of the account owner.
       The following is not uncommon: wife owns a (non-retirement) account solely in her name. She never added husband as joint tenant, but always meant to do so. Wife passes away and the bank refuses husband’s access to that account, even if the couple always treated the account as “theirs.” Husband is so close, he can taste it! The bank’s hands are tied, however, and the funds cannot be released.
       The account may be frozen for 40 days, other times a court petition is required.
       Be educated! It is important to have a review to better understand these issues!

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