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Deceased bank account use

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pitstruc13 View Drop Down

Joined: 23/January/2018
Location: Australia
Posts: 1
  Quote pitstruc13 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Deceased bank account use
    Posted: 23/January/2018 at 15:08
My mother in law recently died leaving an estate of approx $38000. My wife had cared for here for the last 2 years of her life and was a signatory to her bank accounts. After her death but prior to the issuing of a death certificate my wife withdrew $15000 from the account to pay for the funeral and any other outstanding debts in a quick and easy fashion and return the balance, (which was my idea as there was no requirement for executors, or letters of administration in such a small estate). The account was accessed to pay for an after funeral gathering and some other small expenses in relation to cleaning up her home. A couple of nights before her death my mother in law indicated to my wife she wanted to pay for her to have her hair done and buy and outfit for her for an upcoming event. She used the account for this also.
After any of these small debts were paid and the funeral account paid the balance of funds was duly returned to the account. The money used for the gifted items was also returned when we realized it was not actually legal to operate the account after her death. This was something my wife and I were not aware of at the time. We have since been threatened by my wife's sister saying she will have my wife charged for acessing the account although she was aware of the payments from the account at the time. I can see now it was a rather stupid way to handle the affairs, but there was never any intention to steal or deceive anyone. We are quite well off and certainly didn't need to pilfer any small amounts from my wife's mother. Can there be charges and how could they be laid in a matter like this. Is it criminal or civil? and are police interested or not.      

citizen-joe View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 09/October/2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 692
  Quote citizen-joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24/January/2018 at 08:51
It is quite legal to use the assets of the deceased to pay for the funeral, but using them for anything else would probably be regarded as theft. If so this would be a criminal matter.

Any assets remaining after payment of the funeral become the responsibility of the executor to the estate to be dealt with according to the will. Probate may or may not be required, depending on the size of the estate and the laws of the state where the death occurred.

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