What happens to my bank account if I die?

If you die your bank account will be closed and any money in the account will be paid out in line with what you've requested in your will.

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In the event of death, the deceased’s bank accounts are closed by the bank. Before they're closed, any remaining money will be paid out in line with what the deceased requested on their will, which is a legally binding document that outlines who gets the deceased’s assets following death.

If there is no will, ownership of the account and its assets will be transferred to the next of kin or estate administrator. It's important to note that any credit card debt or personal loan debt will be paid from the deceased’s bank and savings accounts before the account administrator takes control of any assets.

If you don't yet have a will created, you can get started making a will on the Service NSW website online.

If you're dealing with a deceased estate, your first step is to notify the bank.

Contact the financial institution to start the process of settling the deceased's bank accounts. The financial institution will provide a letter advising of the next steps once they have received notice of death. Before the deceased’s estate can be settled and their bank accounts closed, the financial institution needs documents showing proof of death, and identification from the next of kin proving their authority over the deceased’s estate.

Required documents for proof of death

The following documents must be provided before the financial institution can close or transfer ownership of the account(s):

  • A death certificate
  • Letter of Administration (if applicable)

Some financial institutions will accept the following, or a combination of the following documents as proof of death:

  • Medical certificate
  • Funeral bill
  • Solicitor’s letter or coroner’s letter
  • Grant of probate
  • Probate bond

If the deceased has not left a will, the state or territory Supreme Court will need to appoint an estate administrator. The Supreme Court will issue a Probate/Letter of Administration, which needs to be provided to the financial institution along with the death certificate.

Once the financial institution has all the information it needs to satisfy its requirements, if the account is held solely in the name of the deceased, account access is restricted, a certificate of balance is issued and the account is closed.

Frequently asked questions about deceased estates

What happens to joint bank accounts?

If the bank account is held jointly, ownership of the account will be transferred to the other primary account holder. The account will continue to function as normal.

What happens to credit card debt?

If the deceased has credit card debt or personal loan debt, the balance of these debts will be paid from the deceased’s transaction and savings accounts before the funds are released.

What happens to term deposits?

A term deposit investment can be released before the date of maturity once the financial institution gets all the necessary paperwork, declaring the person has passed away. Fees and charges are waived and any interest owed on the investment is paid.

What happens to my home loan if I die?

To find out what happens to your home loan in the event of your death, we suggest you read our guide on this topic.

How long does it take for an account to be settled and closed?

Financial institutions advise that each case is different. We suggest you contact your financial institution for further information.

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20 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MarkJune 27, 2019

    Hi, my wife had enduring power of attorney over her deceased mothers estate, which as you know is canceled on death, there is money in the account , and have received a bank cheque from the sale of property, they tried to deposit into the existing account and have been told by the bank they need to open a new account, and it will take a month to clear . Confused, we are. Regards Mark

      Default Gravatar
      EllieJune 28, 2019

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for contacting Finder and sorry for your loss.

      Whilst requirements vary between estates and each case is assessed separately, you may seek independent legal advice to discuss your individual circumstances. Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Ellie

    Default Gravatar
    JayApril 18, 2019

    Hi,

    My dad died about two weeks ago and he didn’t leave a will and now the account is ceased.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniApril 20, 2019Staff

      Hi Jay,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder and sorry to hear about your loss.

      Since there is no will, ownership of the account and its assets will be transferred to the next of kin or estate administrator. I suggest that you seek professional advice from a lawyer on this matter.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    SaiApril 2, 2019

    My father was passed away 16 months ago,
    I disturbed so much, and i never had a thought of account holder can also get accidental death insurance from bank as he had a account holder and ATM debit card holders,
    Can u please guide me, hiw to claim, how can i get it now a insurance amount.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnApril 3, 2019Staff

      Hi Sai,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      First, you would need to contact the bank where your father has an account and inform them of what happened. Second, they may require you to submit documents that evidence what happened. Hope this gets you started.

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    BeccaOctober 6, 2018

    My mom passed away many years ago..as you can imagine at the time i was distraught,and never gave a thought to her account..just recently I moved and found all her old cancelled checks..so I decided to find out about her account..When I looked up the bank I couldn’t find it..I believe it has closed down..How do I find out what happened to my mom’s account,or money she may have had left?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 7, 2018Staff

      Hi Becca,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Generally, your mom’s account will be closed and then any remaining money will be paid out according to your mom’s will. If in case there’s no will, the fund will be given to the next of kin or estate administrator.

      What you can do is directly get in touch with your mom’s bank. They should be able to tell you more details about your mom’s account.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    julieSeptember 28, 2018

    My parent has just passed and had more than 50,000 in the account anything over the 50,000 is their tax or anything that has to be paid on the rest of the money?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiSeptember 28, 2018

      Hi Julie!

      Thanks for your message and for contacting finder.

      Sorry to hear about your parents passing. There are no taxes involved in regards to a deceased bank account. Normally, when an owner of a bank account passes, the financial institution would need documents as stated above and will process to close the bank account provided there are no arrears or pending payments. Should there be any, those will need to be paid off and the remaining amount will be transferred to the deceased nearest kin.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to message us should you have any questions.

      Regards,
      Nikki

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