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Is it worth opening an estate bank account in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2023 | Probate Litigation |

Executors can open an estate bank account during the probate process in California. However, they need to first start probate and receive confirmation from the court that the will is valid. Executors can’t do anything with the estate until a judge gives them documents proving that they have the legal right to manage the accounts.

Deposit payments received for the estate

Some estates receive payments after the decedent’s death. You’ll need a place to deposit these payments, so opening an estate account is helpful. Examples of estate income that you may need to deposit include rental income, dividends, interest and checks.

Access the estate’s assets from one account

If the decedent has a lot of financial accounts, you might find it inconvenient logging in to each account. By combining them into one account, it may be easier to manage the estate. The probate process requires taking an inventory of all assets and debts and paying back debts that a qualified creditor claims. You should also regularly check all financial accounts to prevent cyber theft. Banks have a time limitation on reporting stolen funds. If you don’t catch theft quickly enough, then you can’t get the money back.

Track the estate more efficiently

The court will ask for an accounting record of all estate transactions before it will approve closure of probate. Thus, you need to keep accurate records of all deposits and withdrawals. You may find it easier to track the estate by opening an estate account.

Keep the estate separate from your personal assets

Mixing the estate’s assets with your personal funds increases your risk of personal liability. If something happens to the estate’s funds while it’s in your personal account, then you may face legal consequences.

Although the law doesn’t mandate opening an estate account, you might decide that it would make your job as an executor easier. An estate account condenses the assets into one access point and keeps them separate from your personal funds.