I have a joint bank account with my dad who is now deceased. Can the
court seize my account because a dispute over his assetts?
Answered on: 8/19/13, 10:25 pm by Rachel Hunter
The rule in NC (assuming that the estate is probated in NC) is that the surviving holder of a joint bank account is entitled to the money in the account. The funds in the account, in most cases, are non-probate assets. However, the funds can be reclaimed by the estate to the extent that the estate assets are insufficient to pay any claims/debts of the estate.
I don't know whether an estate has been probated or whether there are sufficient assets in the estate to pay the debts of the estate. The mere that the heirs disagree over distribution of assets does not mean the estate is insufficient. If the assets are insufficient, a petition would have to be filed by the personal representative seeking to reclaim the funds. See NC GS § 28A-15-10, below. If no petition is filed then the funds would be yours.
NC GS § 28A-15-10 Assets of decedent's estate for limited purposes.
(a) When needed to satisfy claims against a decedent's estate, assets may be acquired by a personal representative or collector from the following sources:
(1) Tentative trusts created by the decedent in savings accounts for other persons.
(2) Gifts causa mortis made by the decedent.
(3) Joint deposit accounts with right of survivorship created by decedent pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 41-2.1 or otherwise; and joint tenancies with right of survivorship created by decedent in corporate stocks or other investment securities.
(4) An interest in a security passing to a beneficiary pursuant to the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 41 of the General Statutes.
Such assets shall be acquired solely for the purpose of satisfying such claims, however, and shall not be available for distribution to heirs or devisees.
(b) Where there are not sufficient personal and real assets of the decedent to satisfy all the debts and other claims against the decedent's estate, the personal representative shall have the right to sue for and recover any and all personal property or real property, or interest therein, which the decedent may in any manner have transferred or conveyed with intent to hinder, delay, or defraud the decedent's creditors, and any personal property or real property, or interest therein, so recovered shall constitute assets of the estate in the hands of the personal representative for the payment of debts and other claims against the estate of the decedent. But if the alienee has sold the personal property or real property, or interest therein, so fraudulently acquired by the alienee from the decedent to a bona fide purchaser for value without notice of the fraud, then such personal property or real property, or interest therein, may not be recovered from such bona fide purchaser but the fraudulent alienee shall be liable to the personal representative for the value of the personal property or real property, or interest therein, so acquired and disposed of to a bona fide purchaser. If the whole recovery from the fraudulent alienee shall not be necessary for the payment of the debts and other claims against the estate of the decedent, the surplus shall be returned to such fraudulent alienee or the fraudulent alienee's assigns.
(c) Where there has been a recovery in an action for wrongful death, the same shall not be applied to the payment of debts and other claims against the estate of decedent or devises, except as to the payment of reasonable burial and funeral expenses and reasonable hospital and medical expenses incident to the injury resulting in death and as limited and provided in G.S. 28-18-2 [G.S. 28A-18-2].
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