Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

Account held jointly by deceased with executor to pay expenses. Two and a half years later, executor is making claim to this money after estste lawyer paid, building demolished expenses and other. Asked estate lawyer permission to take out 15k$ for executor fees and got answered "no". (Have letter).Will divides all assets in thirds but no mention of joint account specifically.

Asked on 1/01/15, 10:24 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Your post does not ask a question and contains no relevant facts. Who died? Where did the dead person live at the time of death? Who are you and what is your relationship? Since there is an estate attorney why isn't this question being directed to the estate attorney who presumably has all of the information?

In general, joint bank accounts are NON-probate assets. That means that any monies in the account as of death automatically pass to the surviving account holders. The survivors do not need permission to take any money out as it belongs to them not the estate.

Wills would not mention bank accounts because these are non-probate assets. Executor fees are not paid by joint bank accounts. Those are an administrative expense of the estate and are paid out of probate assets. Executor fees are based on the size and complexity of the estate. Whether $15,000 is a reasonable sum or not depends. This seems a bit excessive if the estate is small or not unduly complicated. There are handy charts available online if the estate in PA but the county where the estate is pending may follow its own general practices.

I suggest the executor of the estate needs to sit down with the estate attorney and find out why the executor cannot access funds in the joint account if the executor is a surviving account holder. Executor specifically needs to find out if this was a probate asset.

I don't understand the rest of your post about building demolished expenses and what the estate lawyer was paid.

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Answered on 1/02/15, 5:34 pm
Jeff Fleming Hippo, Fleming & Pertile Law Office

Title to jointly owned assets pass to the surviving owner(s) when they are set up with "rights of survivorship" and would not be subject to the terms of a will.

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Answered on 1/07/15, 10:43 am

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