How do I obtain the funds in a decedent's bank account?

What is an estate bank account? How do I open a checking account for estate assets?


The Surrogate’s Courts understand that the time after a family member or close friend dies is difficult and that many responsibilities must be resolved quickly. Because the decedent’s funds can only be released to a fiduciary or administrator, Surrogate’s Courts process filings as quickly as staffing allows.

A duty of an administrator of a decedent’s estate is to collect the decedent’s assets from debtors, transfer agents, banks, and/other financial institutions where the sole custodian is the decedent. The Surrogate’s Court issues a Certificate of Voluntary Administration for each asset that needs to be collected.

The voluntary administrator must then open an estate bank account in a bank, trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association or federal savings and loan association in New York and deposit all of the decedent's funds into the estate bank account (SCPA 1307). Administration expenses must be paid out of the estate bank account. All deposits, payouts, and withdrawals must be documented for the voluntary administrator’s accounting.

To open an estate bank account, the voluntary administrator must obtain an “EIN – Employer Identification Number” from the IRS. The Court will issue a Certificate that states Estate Account not to exceed $50,000 to be presented to the bank as proof of the voluntary administrator's authority.


  • Last Updated May 09, 2024
  • Views 453
  • Answered By Librarian 5

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