Closing down a bank account after a death
If you’re trying to close down a deceased person’s bank account, bear in mind that banks tend to be quite sensitive to these situations, so try not to worry about approaching them and asking them to close an account after a death.
Here are the steps to take and documents you’ll need. If you need more support, it’s worth getting a friend or family member to help you handle things. Even the simplest tasks can be challenging while grieving.
Who to notify when someone dies
Once you’ve registered the death and taken care of any preliminary paperwork which can’t wait, the next thing you need to sort are utilities and services, such as mobile providers. To settle and close these accounts, you’ll need to talk to each of the separate service providers.
The deceased person is likely to have ongoing standing orders and direct debits, so it’s best to notify these organisations of the death as soon as possible to avoid receiving letters demanding outstanding payments.
You should also let the deceased person’s bank know. This means that the bank can stop any communications, as well as freezing the account – and stopping any standing orders or direct debits.
When you’ve notified the bank, they can let you know what the next steps will be and which other documentation they might need. Some of this documentation often relates to whether or not the deceased made a will.
The bank is likely to ask for two forms of your identification (usually a passport or driver’s licence, or a proof of address with a utility bill) and a copy of the will. If there’s no will, the bank could ask for evidence of your relationship to the deceased.
You’ll also need the death certificate. When you’ve registered the death, you will be issued with a death certificate. This will act as formal notification for the bank to begin closing the account.
How to legally access the money in a deceased person’s bank accounts
The deceased’s money may form part of their estate, and can be used to cover any outstanding debts and taxes. In order to start this process, the bank may require a Grant of Representation before the funds are released.
If you are given a Grant of Representation, this confirms that you are legally allowed to take care of the deceased’s estate and financial affairs. ‘Grant of Representation’ tends to be a catch-all term for more specific documents, including Grant of Probate.
Some banks may release the money immediately – each bank has their own threshold, which can be between £15,000 and £50,000. However, most will want to see a Grant of Probate first, even if there is very little money in the account. This document verifies who is legally permitted to deal with the money in the bank account.
Even if you’re waiting for the Grant of Probate to access the money in the account, many banks may let you use the money in the deceased person’s account to pay for expenses relating to the death – these can include:
- Organising and paying for a funeral
- Buying a headstone
- Paying any inheritance tax
- Paying probate fees
How do I get a Grant of Probate?
To get this document, the executor of the will needs to apply to the Probate Registry. This can be a long process; steps include:
- Filling out forms correctly
- Settling any outstanding tax
- Going to a Probate Registry office for an interview
- Swearing an oath to confirm your identity
You can also ask a solicitor to take these steps on your behalf.
When you’ve successfully applied and you’ve received the Grant of Probate, take it to the bank. The bank may then be able to start the process of releasing the funds.
- Could Covid-19 help you save?
- What does the term “furlough” mean?
- Ways to save money in 2020
- Infographic: Parents and Christmas
- How do tax credits work?
- What is a trust fund?
- What is Inheritance Tax?
- Closing down a bank account after a death
- What is Marriage Tax Allowance?
- What happens if you don’t leave a will?
- Registering a death
- What happens to property after a divorce?
- Will a prenup protect me if I get a divorce?
- How much does a divorce cost?
- Looking after your credit score while you’re at university
- Guide to credit and debit card protection
- Cashless society and changing savings habits for kids
- Living and working on the UK Minimum Wage
- How to budget if you’re a single parent
- Infographic: Average Equifax Credit Scores across the UK
- How to budget at university
- Guide to sending money overseas
- How to budget for kids going back to school
- How the Budget 2018 will affect your earning, spending and saving
- Infographic: How much does it cost to get married?
- What is the workplace pension?
- Infographic: Millennials and money - What kind of side hustles are they doing?
- Budgeting for the holiday season - gifts
- Budgeting for a wedding
- How much rent can I afford?
- Pension tools and resources
- Planning for early retirement
- Downsizing your home
- What will my state pension be?
- Budgeting for a baby
- Budgeting for a holiday
- An introduction to investments
- Budgeting for a funeral
- Financial planning for parents
- How transferring pensions works
- Helping elderly parents manage their money
- Budgeting for school holidays
- Looking after your financial documents
- New Year, new start to your finances
- How to avoid overspending on special occasions
- Financial Jargon Buster
- Getting Financial Help – The Best Online Resources
- Explaining the Different Types of Savings Accounts
- Understanding Payment Cards
- Money Saving Strategies – Tips on How to Save
- How to Budget Your Finances