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I am just starting to work on my mother's estate. She passed away in October. I am the executor of her Will. I have one brother and we share equally in her estate. This sounded simple when I started working on it. Now, I have found a few bank accounts with her name and my brother's name (both names) on them. In some of my own financial things, we have both my spouse's name and my name on our house for example. It is listed as "Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship." I understand this to mean that if one of us passes away, the other one automatically gets the property. In the case of my mother and brother, I see the account statements listed with both their names on a particular account. How will I know if that account is "Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship?" I am thinking the bank will be able to tell me, but I guess I will want to ask for documentation?

My brother is mentally handicapped from a trumatic head injury from a car accident when he was in his 20's. I am sure this is the reasoning behind my mother opening some bank acounts in both their names. My brother lived with my mother. At one point, when we saw that my mother was exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's, my helpful cousin and I took my mother to her bank and tried to straighten out the accounts, and we asked to see the "beneficiary cards" and since this bank had changed hands a few times, they could not locate them. I live several states away and we never got back to pursuing finding the beneficiary cards.

So, (sorry for the long post) if the beneficiary cards are located, then these bank accounts would automatically go to my brother? (If he is named on the beneficiary cards, of course) Even though in her Will, her wishes were for everything to be divided equally between the 2 of us? And, I guess if these are just joint accounts, with both their names, then those accounts automatically go to my brother also? (even without beneficiary cards?) Regardless of what the Will says? Is it possible a bank account can have 2 names on it and not be a joint account? I have been working on my mother's taxes and the 1099 statements have both their names on some of them. Are these joint accounts? Or could they be something else?

What I thought would be a simple process is looking to be a little more complicated. If anyone can shed any light on these bank accounts with both my mother's and brother's names on them and how they should be treated, as far as the Will is concerned, I would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

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