Closing Bank Accounts Upon the Death of a Loved One

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, February 13, 2023

When a loved one passes away, it can be difficult to keep track of everything you have to handle. In addition to the overwhelming grief, you have to set up a funeral, contact relatives, change bill payments, and contact a number of different agencies. Bank accounts owned by your loved one will need to be dealt with. This article will explore how to handle these accounts upon your loved one’s death. Keep in mind that, usually, a copy of their death certificate and ID is needed to prove the passing of a loved one to the Bank. A Will or other estate documents may be needed to transfer ownership of certain accounts. 

Joint Accounts

Joint bank accounts are most often used between spouses and business partners. Depending on how the account was established, there are two ways the account can be handled upon the death of one of the owners of the account. First, there are “Rights of Survivorship” accounts. These accounts are transferred fully to the co-owner upon death. Accounts without “Rights of Survivorship” can be given to a new co-owner upon death. This is often passed down to a child or other heir. If you are unsure of the nature of the account, check with the bank.

Accounts in Their Name

Bank accounts held solely by the deceased can be held up temporarily while the death is being processed. This account will usually have to be transferred through estate administration. However, it can be held further if the estate is brought to the probate court. This can be avoided if your loved one established a Payable-on-Death (POD) beneficiary. Without a POD beneficiary named, you may need documentation from your loved one’s executor or estate attorney to access the account; provided that it is not caught up in probate.

Accounts Held in Trust

Your loved one may have put one or more of their bank accounts into a trust. Trusts allow the funds to be transferred after your loved one’s death to their heir(s). These trusts, and the transferral of funds, are arbitrated by a trustee, or a group of trustees. Because of this, they are ultimately in charge of the accounts. Thankfully, this also means that you do not have to worry about closing such accounts.

Matthew Funeral Home does not provide legal or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for legal or financial advice.
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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