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Some National Banks Creating Hassles Over Certain Estate Matters

Nov. 22, 2017

The death of a loved one or close friend can be not only an emotionally difficult time but can also result in other challenges if one has been selected as the executor of an estate. Though New York has its own laws and procedures for preparing an estate for the probate process, there may still be some difficulty concerning certain estate matters. According to some who work in a probate office, some banking institutions are hindering the opening of estate accounts.

Once an executor has begun the process of preparing an estate for probate, one of the first matters that needs to be addressed is opening one central account from which all estate transactions can be handled. Surrogates in a neighboring state have complained that certain banking institutions seem to be making that process more challenging due in part to its lack of familiarity with its customers. These surrogates claim that assembling the proper identifying paperwork can usually be completed in less than 30 minutes. These documents are then presented to the bank in order to open the estate account.

In the past, this process was relatively straightforward and could be accomplished in short order. In more recent times, the closing of small, locally owned banks has lead to more executors turning to the national chain institutions, which operate under a different policy. These banks often require more documentation that legally grants the right of the individual to handle the affairs of the decedent.

While the banks’ policies are geared toward protecting their customers, they can create unnecessary hardship for those who are tasked with ensuring that the estate’s affairs are handled according to instruction. Delays in the process may create undue hardship for the executor and other interested parties. These New Jersey surrogates also stated that the banks policies also violate state laws. It is unclear whether these banks are also making it harder for New York residents to carry out the final wishes of loved ones. If one encounters problems when attempting to draft estate plans or at any time during the handling of estate matters, the assistance of an experienced attorney may prove to be valuable resource.

Source:, “Surrogates: Where there is a will, banks often get in the way“, Mike Deak, Nov. 18, 2017