How to Get Bank & Financial Information

Obtaining the decedent’s bank and mortgage company information can be particularly challenging.  The decedent’s bank and financial institutions generally do not share the decedent’s banking information with anyone other than the decedent.  This can make it difficult to pay for the decedent’s last affairs and, where there are no other assets, to determine whether probate administration is even necessary.  

Texas law provides a means for interested persons to get access to the decedent’s bank information.  The term “interested person” means a heir, spouse, creditor, or other person with a property right in or claim against a decedent’s estate.  

The interested person can apply to the court for an order requiring a financial institution to release to the person named in the order information concerning the balance of the decedent’s bank accounts if:

  1. The decedent died intestate (i.e., he did not leave a will),
  2. Ninety days have passed since the date of the decedent’s death,
  3. A petition for the appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate is not pending, and
  4. Letters testamentary or of administration have not been granted with respect to the estate.

It should be noted that this remedy is not available for an account with a beneficiary designation, a payable on death account, a trust account, or an account that provides for a right of survivorship.

Mortgage Information

Like obtaining information from the decedent’s bank, it can also be difficult to obtain information from mortgage companies.  Texas law allows a surviving spouse access to the decedent’s mortgage information.

The surviving spouse is entitled to the information the decedent would have received in a standard monthly statement, including:

  1. The current balance information, including the due dates and the amount of any installments,
  2. Whether the loan is current and any amounts that are delinquent,
  3. Any loan number,  and
  4. The amount of any escrow deposit for taxes and insurance purposes.

The surviving spouse is entitled to this information within 30 days of making a request directly to the mortgage servicer.  The request has to include:

  1. A death certificate of the mortgagor,
  2. An affidavit of disinterested witnesses, and
  3. An affidavit signed by the surviving spouse stating that the surviving spouse is currently residing in the underlying mortgaged property as the primary residence.

The request from the surviving spouse must also include a notice to the mortgage company and state in bold-faced, capital, or underlined letters: “THIS REQUEST IS MADE PURSUANT TO TEXAS FINANCE CODE SECTION 343.103.  SUBSEQUENT DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION IS NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY ACT UNDER 15 U.S.C. SECTION 6802(e)(8).”

We’ll address how to access the decedent’s rental dwelling next. Click here to continue reading.  >>>>

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