Frequently Asked Questions -- Probate
How Do I Open an Estate Account?
After someone has passed away and you have been appointed Personal Representative (this used to be called the Executor) you now have the task of gathering up all the assets and paying bills. You need an estate account, usually at a bank, to do this. Most banks will open estate checking accounts. In order to open the account, the Personal Representative needs to go in person to the bank with:
- The original letters of authority from the court;
- Tax Id number for the estate (TIN); and
- Original death certificate
Tell the customer service person that you need to open an estate account, and they will walk you through the process. If there are two named PR's you will both need to be present. Depending on the bank, this can easily take an hour so leave yourself plenty of time.
Once this account is open, you can deposit funds and write checks to pay bills as needed. It is important to keep good records when you are the Personal Representative because you will often need to provide an accounting to the court and to any beneficiaries or creditors of the estate. You can do this with the check book register, a spreadsheet, or any other way that works best for you. The specific form is not important, but it is key to know where the money is going, where it has come from, and what is left to be distributed to the heirs.