When someone dies, who should take responsibility for the administration?
If there's a Will, the person(s) named as Executor has a legal responsibility to carry out the instructions and deal with the estate (the money or property left behind). You may prefer to appoint a solicitor to help you with the administration, but you will pay a fee for this. If there's no Will, the legal rules of intestate will dictate who inherits the estate. You may need to apply for authority to administer the estate.
What if there isn't a Will?
If a person dies without making a Will they are said to have died ‘intestate’. To administer the estate in these circumstances you usually need to apply to the Probate Registry for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’. It provides proof to banks, building societies and other organisations that you have authority to access and distribute funds. We'll need an original or certified copy of your Grant of Letters of Administration to release any funds held with Close Brothers Savings.
What do you have to do as Executor/Administrator of a person's Will?
The Executor or Administrator is usually expected to:
- Register the death (usually within five days)
- Arrange the funeral
- Pay any urgent expenses
- Obtain appropriate legal documents e.g. the Grant of Probate
- Notify banks, insurance companies etc.
- Pay any tax liabilities such as inheritance tax liabilities
- List all the assets and liabilities of the estate
Can I access funds to pay for funeral expenses?
If you need to pay for urgent funeral expenses, we will break your deposit and release the necessary funds. Please note, we can only do this on receipt of an original or certified death certificate, an original or certified copy of the Last Will and Testament and an original or certified invoice for the funeral costs.
What is a Grant of Probate?
A Grant of Probate confirms that you are the Executor or Administrator and are legally entitled to the funds. If there is a Will, the Executor or Administrator can apply for a Grant of Probate if it's required for the release of funds.
How do I apply for a Grant of Probate?
If you have appointed a solicitor, they will make arrangements for the Grant of Probate and can contact us directly regarding any Close Brothers Savings deposits. If you're taking care of the administration yourself, you can apply for the Grant of Probate at: https://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=735
Before you send it to us, you'll need to notify us of the death in writing, enclosing an original or certified copy of the death certificate. We'll send you a valuation letter outlining the value of the deposit(s) held at the date of death and interest accrued, but not applied, along with an Executor's Instruction form. You'll then need to return this and your Grant of Probate to us. Please note, without an original or certified copy of the death certificate we won't be able to provide the valuation letter.
I have a joint account but my spouse has passed away. Do I still have to provide you with a Grant of Probate?
No. We only need an original or certified copy of the death certificate. Under survivorship rules, if one party of a joint account has passed away we automatically move the deposit into the surviving party’s sole name once we've received an original or certified copy of the death certificate. In these circumstances, funds can only be returned when the fixed term matures or the notice period is served, as the terms and conditions of the deposit still apply.
If the value of the funds is under £5,000, will I need a Grant of Probate?
No. In this instance we'd need:
- an original or certified death certificate
- an original or certified copy of the Last Will and Testament
- an Indemnity form signed by all the Executors
- evidence of the bank account funds will be paid into
- You can find more information about Probate at gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance
What if I need to pay Inheritance Tax?
Probate can't be granted until all tax liabilities on an estate have been paid, including Inheritance Tax. We are able to release funds to HMRC for the purposes of paying Inheritance Tax, provided you supply a completed IHT423 form, Inheritance Tax reference number and an original or certified copy of the Last Will and Testament. For more information on obtaining an Inheritance Tax reference number, visit gov.uk/paying-inheritance-tax#2
I have been granted Probate, what do I do now?
Along with our valuation letter, you'll receive an Executor’s Instruction form. Please complete it and return it to us (Close Brothers Limited, 4th Floor, 10 Crown Place, London, EC2A 4FT) together with an original or certified copy of the Grant of Probate. We'll then be able to pay any money held to the Executor, provided we have received a bank statement, paying in slip or void cheque from the bank account you have nominated.
Executor instruction form
As an Executor or Administrator how do I access the funds the deceased may have held with you?
Unless the total value of the estate is under £5,000, we'll need your Grant of Probate to show that you are entitled to assets. The Executor listed on the Grant of Probate has the option to keep the funds with us for the duration of the fixed term, at the same deposit rate. We'll send a valuation letter and an Executor’s Instruction form, which should be completed and returned once Probate has been granted. We'll then send a letter to confirm that the deposit has been transferred into your name.
What happens if the deposit reaches maturity before we receive the Grant of Probate?
We are unable to accept a maturity instruction to reinvest or repay the deposit from the Executor(s) or Administrator(s) without the Grant of Probate. If the deposit matures before we receive the Grant of Probate, the funds will be moved into a non-interest bearing account while we await the Grant of Probate and other necessary documentation.
After a bereavement, who can I contact for further support?
The following services can offer practical and emotional support:
- Money Advice Service: Free and impartial money advice to support people going through significant life events
- Citizens Advice Bureau: Free information and legal advice on what to do after someone has died, including who to inform and what to do about financial affairs and Wills
- Age UK: Information and advice covering every facet of later life, including support for people experiencing grief
- Cruse Bereavement Care: Face-to-face, telephone, email and website support for anyone experiencing a bereavement
- Samaritans: Available 24 hours a day, providing confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress and despair