Question:

Are there any banks or financial institutions demanding Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration before releasing estate assets?

Financial institutions do not want to risk paying a deceased person's assets to the wrong person.  Before a bank, insurance company, or other financial institution will release the deceased person's money to his or her heirs, the bank wants to be sure that another heir is not going to come looking for the same funds at a later date. If there is a will, then a bank may release money to the heirs named in the Will upon receiving a certified copy of the Will and the court's order that admits the will to probate. Most banks, however, will insist on only releasing funds to a court-appointed executor or administrator after they recieve a copy of the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration are the documents that the probate court issues to a court-appointed fiduciary.