I am the joint account holder on an account that was 1) frozen by the govt 3 yeats ago and 2)the other party on the account has passed away. What am I to do now?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The rule in NC regarding death and joint accounts is that when a person dies the funds in the account go to the surviving person on the account. However, the funds in the account can be added back in to the deceased person's estate if need be to pay any claims.
You do not provide any relevant information. When was the account "frozen?" If it was "frozen" then any assets in the account should have been turned over to the government and there should not have been any funds at all.
You also do not indicate when the person died or whether an estate was probated for the person and, if so, what happened to the joint account. And you do not indicate if this was in NC or not.
Assuming that this is in NC and that there would have been funds left over following the seizure and that the excess would not have been needed to pay any estate claims, then you would stand to inherit the funds.
You can try re-posting here with more details. Or you can marshall all the facts and any will or copy of the court probate file and pay a probate attorney to review the information and apprise you of your rights. You will need a probate attorney in the county/state where the person who died lived at the time of his/her death.
I don't know what kind of funds are in the account. If very little, then you may not want to spend money on an attorney as it may not be cost effective. In such case, you would have to present the bank with evidence of the other person's death. They may want a certificate from the probate court indicating that no probate was needed. Otherwise, the bank generally will release the funds only to the personal representative of the estate. If they know that you were a signatory to the account and if you can present a will and death certificate and statement from the probate court that no probate is necessary, the bank will probably release the funds to you.
After 5 years, the funds may escheat to the state treasurer. If the funds have already escheated, then you can try making a claim with the state treasurer's office in the county/state where the decedent livevd at the time of death. However, if the person just died, its probably too soon to have escheated.
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