Even in today's time, many people still do not have a will. Around 55 percent of Americans do not have a will or an estate plan in place. A will is a legal document that expresses your wishes of what to do regarding the distribution of your property. If your deceased loved one does not have a will, then you are going to need a probate attorney. Read on to find out who get access to a decease loved one's bank account.

What Name Is On The Bank Account?

If your mother dies and you are caring for her, then you probably think you should have access to her bank account. The law does not work that way. The name on the account and whether you have a living trust is taken into consideration when deciding who gets control. If your name is not jointly on the account and it is not in a trust, then the bank account becomes off limits. You cannot have access to the bank account until the estate is settled in court.

Does Your Deceased Loved One Receive Social Security Benefits?

If your deceased love one is receiving benefits, then you want to hold off on removing any money from the account. You cannot spend benefits received during the month of the person's death or any months after this event. Any Social Security Benefits received must be returned.

You also must notify the SSA Office and the bank of the death. The SSA office will need a copy of your deceased loved one death certificate as well.

What About Funeral Expenses?

If you need money to pay for a funeral or other expenses relating to burying the deceased, then you need to file a petition in court. A judge can rule to allow an administrator or executor to have access to the bank account. However, the money can only be used to pay for burial expenses.

What About Joint Account Holders?

People who have a joint account with their deceased loved ones have more control. If your loved one dies, then you need to present a death certificate. With a death certificate, the bank will take the deceased person off the account.

You do not have control over your assets when you do not have a will. It is left up to the state to decide how to distribute your property. Your loved ones will have to fight for your assets with each other in probate court.