Handling a decedent’s bank account is hard when there are neither joint account holders nor designated beneficiaries. Is it illegal to withdraw money from a deceased person’s account in Florida? Read on to find out.
Is it Illegal to Withdraw Money from a Deceased Person’s Account in Florida? – The Fundamentals
Unless you are a joint account holder or a designated beneficiary, you cannot withdraw money from a deceased person’s account in Florida. Even if it was possible, withdrawing any money without proper court authorization would be illegal.
When an account holder dies, the decedent’s loved ones must notify the bank or credit union about the death. Once the financial entity is notified about the death, they will freeze the account and the funds held in it.
Freezing the account is fundamental to protect the decedent’s interest until the court determines the outcome of that asset. Unfortunately, individuals close to the deceased person may attempt to access the account and withdraw money.
To prevent this type of behavior, the financial entity maintains the account frozen. Another reason that justifies this action is the existence of automatic payments, such as memberships or services paid directly from the decedent’s bank account on a fixed basis.
If these automatic payments continue, they may dry out the funds in the account and affect the distribution of the decedent’s assets.
Is it Illegal to Withdraw Money from a Deceased Person’s Account in Florida? – Mortgage Payments
Florida residents often use automatic payments on a personal bank account to pay monthly installments of a mortgage loan. When the mortgage borrower dies, freezing the account may expose the property to the risk of foreclosure.
In such cases, the first step is to determine who must pay the mortgage. If the decedent had a co-signer on the mortgage loan, the co-borrower is responsible for paying the remaining amount.
If the mortgage loan was signed by the decedent only, the estate is responsible for paying the owed amount. The best approach is to consult with an expert Florida attorney to find an adequate solution for your case.
Is it Illegal to Withdraw Money from a Deceased Person’s Account in Florida? – Joint Holders and Designated Accounts
Joint bank accounts and accounts with designated beneficiaries provide an easier way to access the decedent’s funds.
A joint account is a standard bank account with two or more owners. If one of the co-owners dies, the surviving account holder can deposit or withdraw funds without court intervention. Married couples often create joint bank accounts to allow each spouse to easily deposit or withdraw money.
Beneficiary designations permit an account holder to transfer the account directly to specific persons. The designated beneficiaries inherit the account outside of probate, as the asset is not part of the decedent’s will. Examples of assets with designated beneficiaries include:
- Retirement accounts (e.g., IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.)
- Bank accounts owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
- Bank accounts with payable-on-death (POD) beneficiaries
- Bank accounts with transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiaries