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How to Claim Single Owned Acct (Deceased Owner)

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Question: 
I have a client that has a Living Trust where he is named as a trustee. His mother recently passed and she had two accounts with the bank, one under the trust, and the other only as a single ownership. Does the living trustee need to be appointed personal representative of the deceased client in order to claim the single owned account?
Answer: 

The trustee has no standing outside the trust itself. Access to the individually-owned account would be vested in his mother's estate. State laws may provide family members with a way to claim those funds without having to go through probate. If no such law is available in your state, only a personal representative of the estate would have access, once appointed.

First published on 05/12/2014

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