Closing the Bank Account of a Loved One

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, May 21, 2018


When death occurs in the family, there are a lot of moving parts and important paperwork to keep track of. It is important to make sure that the monetary assets in the bank accounts of your loved one are taken care of as well. Knowing what you need to prepare for each account type will make the account transference smoother when the time comes. 

An Account in their Name

Bank accounts owned solely by your loved one can be held upon death. Unless a Payable-on-Death (POD) beneficiary was named by your loved one before their passing, the account will need to go through a probate period before it can be opened. The beneficiary would then need to have a copy of your death certificate and their ID. Without naming a one, your loved one’s account would be left to an heir in the will. The heir will require a Letter of Testamentary from the probate court. A Letter of Testamentary will name for the executor of the account, and will be filed by the bank.

Payable-On-Death Beneficiary

If your loved one named you as a POD beneficiary, this means that you will have the ability to access their funds as soon as a death certificate is made available to you. This is often done by account holders to assist their families in paying for funerals, or accessing money for bills. 

Jointly Owned Accounts

If you share a bank account with them, one of two things may happen to the account. With a Rights of Survivorship account, you become the sole user if your partner passes. In the event that the account does not secure Rights of Survivorship, the co-owner, upon death may name a beneficiary to take their place. 
If the account documents do not specify if the account is a tenancy account, or if the Rights of Survivorship are not stated, contact the bank. Some banks leave these out on account creation, and sometimes they are implied. Be sure to meet with someone at the bank to go over the account details, and to make sure that they reflect your and your partner’s wishes.

Living Trusts

If a living trust was set up by your loved one to provide funds to the family for after they pass, it can be opened upon death. There may be restrictions on withdrawals and what the money can be used for, so be sure to meet with your loved one’s bank and/or estate lawyer for the details. Many people set up living trusts to help their families pay for funeral costs, the mortgage, and more after their passing. Upon death, the funds in the trust can be transferred to the heir by the successor trustee, without the need for probate.

For almost 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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