How To Find Out What Accounts Deceased Person Owned

Occasionally, after someone dies, the family starts to question what their deceased relative really owned. Sometimes we hear statements from children or other relatives like:

“I thought Dad had more CDs at the bank.”

“I thought Dad had another savings account.”

“I thought Dad owned stock in some other companies.”

“I thought Dad had an annuity and a life insurance policy.”

Well, there is no central registry that you can go to and determine everything that someone owned when they died. But there are both informal and formal ways that you can dig and determine what someone owned on the date of their death.

There are a couple of obvious formal ways that you can try and discover additional assets. First, go back and look at the last few years of their tax returns. They would likely have received tax reporting statements from financial institutions that show that accounts were owned. Second, check their mail. If they owned financial accounts, it’s likely they may received account statements in the mail.

And then there is the formal way to discover someone’s assets after they died. Let’s use an example of Dad, who died with a last will and testament. Dad names Son as executor. People are questioning the fact that Dad owned additional accounts. Once Son works with the lawyers and the court system to get confirmed as the executor, the courthouse will issue certified copies of Letters of Independent Executorship. Son can then go to every financial institution where he thinks Dad may have had an account, and the “Letters of Independent Executorship” require the third parties to disclose Dad’s account information to Son, who is the independent executor.

So, there is no central registry one can go to and figure out what someone owned when they died, but there are both informal and formal ways to locate whether a deceased person owned additional accounts or other assets. Your estate planning and estate settlement attorney can help you get the proper court authority and make the right kinds of inquiries to expedite this process. And ideally, none of this is necessary if the deceased person would have, during his or her lifetime, maintained a current inventory of assets and communicated that inventory to the appropriate family members or other loved ones.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.

Paul Rabalais
Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Phone: (225) 329-2450


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16 Responses

  1. DANJUMA KABIR says:

    I can’t stop thanking you CYBERCR3CK on ℹ!g you’re truly the best .

  2. Rain Gutierrez says:


  3. JAHxSeer Solomon says:

    The IRS

  4. Freddy Gill says:

    My Mississippi grandma signed the deed of her house over to my brother in 2012 and did not tell me. She made a will giving all her possessions to his girlfriend and making her the executrix. (Also didn't tell me) They promised to go take care of her when she was old and come live with her. They didn't. I told her I couldn't take care of her because I had a home to take care of and lawn business in Florida and live by myself. Even so, I went and helped when I could, even when she got sick from covid and her caretaker was distressed. (She got better) Aunts, cousins, brother and girlfriend got to her records, jewelry (a lot of it), etc… before me. Vicious false accusations of every sort arose to hide the thief and create an environment of confusion. This has literally turned into a nightmare situation. Cousins fought over incoming mail and who was to pay the bills and be in charge of my furious grandmother's records. I had to listen to my Grandmother screaming at my cousin on christmas day, calling her a thief and demanding her to return her stolen jewelry. I just went home the next morning. A grievous situation. Paul, I appreciate you. You videos are so helpful. Thank you. I think of the proverb, "An inheritance may be gotten hastily, but in the end there won't be a blessing" <— Not sure if I got it word for word, but I think it's close. Good day!

  5. Linda Norris says:


  6. Linda Norris says:


  7. Christine LaBeach says:

    I don't want anyone getting any of my stuff or my money. Is it possible to just leave everything to the estate so the taxes are paid out of the estate until it runs out of money?

  8. Alice Carroll says:

    There is also a national registry for life insurance, through which you can find out whether deceased had a policy and for how much and who the beneficiary is.

  9. Shannon Faught says:

    Is an attorney needed to go through probate to get in bank box after someone dies without a will?

  10. Loretta Burt says:

    When my bro passed in a homecare , my sister was given before he was buried a check made out to the estate of (my bro. Name).. I can not find out from the home why it was given to her and how much … He had no will but she was his contact ,,,no POA….I have contacted them but they keep sweeping It under the rug cause I think they know they did wrong as he had other brother
    and sisters..thanks ..I have been going thru this stress for almost 2 years and with the stress and losing my brother whom I was very close to ,I have been seeing counseling……..thanks again

  11. gary garcia says:

    i feel that i have ripped off of my inheritance by my siblings / is there a time limit to take legal action?

  12. donna harlan says:

    Could I get my dads social security money

  13. REX ELDRIDGE says:

    MY grandmother has lied to my father his entire life. Only we are just now finding out that my dads dad is not the rest of the kids or her husbands only she cheated she also passed in 2006 through ancestry I have located who my dads real dad is and his family he has passed also so my blood grand father and grandmother have passed. With the help of my dads family I have located an aunt of my dads. She said she knows my dad and is in her 80's. Only ITS ALL VERY NEW TO US. With further communication I am told that my dads dad had sold his business and home and set it all up for my dad before he passed of cancer. She said that her brother has been sending money for my father in secret for my dads entire life until he passed. My dad has never heard of this. We can not ask his mom my grandma she has passed. I am just now learning of this secret and telling the rest of the family. His sister said my dad is her brothers only child. Buts see the younger of the siblings my dad grew up with has dominated the entire everything of their mother. She rushed in and took all the paper work. I would not be able to find anything if i wanted. She has took it on her self to have her parents to add her name to the [paid off land and home. No one is able to know or touch anything. But see the one sister of my dads real dad has proof that that money was put in to the account in my dads moms name for my dad. How do we get this?

  14. Always and Forever ADOS says:

    What happens if a beneficiary is in jail?

  15. Blues Dirt says:

    Having a hard time getting death certificate . How long should that take ?

  16. Yobadd Yobadd says:

    I'm having a blimp time getting the information. I have the court documents to get the information. It's the company that's giving me a hard time???

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