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Locating an Old Bank Account

Nineteen years ago my mother and I opened a joint account. She passed away last February and I can't remember the bank or account number and I can't find anything in her records that will tell me the bank. I do know the city and approximate date the account was opened. Is there any way I can track down the bank?

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There is no central place to look for bank accounts and different banks have different owners, different record systems, etc., so they are independent of one another. Being nineteen years ago, even if you knew the bank where it was opened, there is a possibility it would have sold out, changed names or merged with one or more banks. Tracking that could be difficult.

Your problem is compounded by the fact that you don't know if the account is still open. If you have found her records and this one is absent, it may be that the account is closed.

The two options would be contacting the local banks. Send a written request with a copy of the death certificate. Explain that you are handling the estate and you want to see if she had any accounts there. They may respond if they do have one.

The second thing is to look for lost money. When an account has been inactive for a specific period and there is no contact with the customer, the money is sent to the state. It can be claimed from there. To look for escheated money; this as one starting place, Unclaimed.org.

Published on BankingQuestions.com 3/14/07