Account Owner Death - Does the representative payee have access to the bank account after the account owner's death?

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Does the Rep Payee on the bank account have access after account owner's death to pay the deceased outstanding debts, funeral expenses, etc.


My mother died 2 days ago and I need to pay for the funeral dinner, the casket flowers and the grave opening. I will also need to retain funds until taxes for 2017 are filed, but typically I do not receive all of the 1099's until March.

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My condolences for your loss. Representative payee has no effect on the bank. If you are a co-owner on the account or it's a payable on death (POD) account, you have access without restriction. What is really important is whether you are the executor of the estate and whether probate will be filed regarding the bills etc. paid out of the bank account. Please remember that since she passed away before the end of the month, any social security that is paid in the month of December will be taken back by SSA. The social security administration should be notified by the funeral home of your mother's passing, but sometimes paperwork gets crossed up. There will not be a partial payment for social security income for the month of November for your mother in December that you can keep. I only mention this because if there are siblings or other individuals that are heirs, things can get sticky if you start paying bills without the knowledge/consent of executor if it's not you.
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I hope you can find your answer. I do not know. I would like to know though. Have you looked at the SS website that features the Representative Payee information? I might check with an Elder Law or Social Security attorney about it.
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Thank you gladimhere - I am co on the checking account and I should have enough in those funds to take care of everything. Here SS was always direct deposit to this account. I can't remember if we ever did the rep payee designation on that account. Either way, I will stop there with the death certificate before the month end and file what ever is needed.
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Rep payee is usually for Social Security benefits. A death usually freezes bank accounts unless there is a co-owner.

I am sorry for your loss.
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