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Closing a Bank Account after Someone Dies

14th August 2017

For initial advice and guidance call our Probate Advisors on 03306069584 or contact us online and we help you.

When a loved one dies in England or Wales, you will need to release any funds that are being held in their bank account/s. You may need to obtain a Grant of Probate to do this, although it depends on the amount of money in the accounts.

A Grant of Probate is not needed where there is a joint bank account, as the funds will pass automatically to the surviving person.

Closing a Loved One’s Bank Account

When someone dies, you need to notify their bank. This is normally done by the Executor of the Will. If there is not a valid Will or the Executors are unwilling to act, it should be done by the Administrator of the Estate, who is typically the main Beneficiary. For details see Executor and Administrator Duties explained.

Each bank and financial institution will want to see a copy of the Death Certificate and proof that you have the authority to close the bank account. This can be achieved by taking a copy of the Will to show that you are an Executor. Or if there is no Will, you can take evidence that demonstrates your relationship to the deceased.

Once the bank has been notified of the death, the account will be frozen. After this you will need to release the funds. The way in which you do this will depend upon how much money is being held.

Is Grant of Probate Needed?

If there is a small amount of money in the account, the bank may release the funds immediately. Each bank has their own guidelines, so it’s difficult to say exactly how much this might be. You will need to check with each bank as to what their limit is, which generally varies between £15,000 and £50,000.

In the majority of cases, however, a bank will want to see a Grant of Probate first. This is because the bank has a responsibility to release the funds to the right person. If a mistake is made, it will be held accountable. To prevent such a risk, the bank will not release the funds without seeing the Grant of Probate, as this verifies who is legally permitted to deal with the deceased person’s money.

To obtain a Grant of Probate, the Executor or Administrator will need to apply to the Probate Registry. There are a number of steps to go through, such as filling out the correct forms, paying any tax that is due, and attending a Probate Registry office for an interview and to swear an Oath. Alternatively you can instruct our Probate Solicitors to complete the process on your behalf.

With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for obtaining Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excl VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs.

When the Grant of Probate is received you should take it to the bank, which may then be able to release the funds.

It’s worth noting that even if the amount of money is small, the bank may request a Grant of Probate anyway, particularly if the family situation is unclear or the Estate is complex.

To find out if Probate is needed call our Probate Advisors on 03306069584 or contact us online and we call you.

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