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Step 19 - Deal with Banks & Finances

Last updated: November 2018

Why is this important?

This step explains everything you need to know about dealing with the deceased person’s bank and with the finances. You will be able to establish which accounts form part of the estate and receive the statements of accounts to understand the value.

 

simplyEstate is here to help with the process. Contact us via email or book a first free phone appointment.

Approximate Effort & Cost

Reading: 15 mins
Completing: 1-2 hrs
Total: 1:15-2:15 hrs
Cost: $0

Effort and cost are general estimates only and are based on the assumption that you complete this step without specialist help.

Glossary

To find out what the capitalised words mean, access the glossary here.

Forms

Deceased Customer Notification Form
Certified Copies Identification Form (if you are not already a Commonwealth Bank customer)
Claim for Assets Form – Assets held on behalf of deceased customer (Estates under $50,000)
Authority to Release Assets Form – Release assets from a Deceased Estate (Estates over $50,000 requiring Probate or Letters of Administration).

Read Section 19.12 and follow the process outlined.

Other forms not listed here may be required based on your specific circumstances.

19.1 Overview

By now your Assets & Liabilities Inventory should already capture various assets that you have valued based on the previous Steps. You should have also heard back from the relevant banks you informed about the death in Step 12 – Notify the Relevant Government Departments, Companies and Organisations.

 

To understand and deal with all banking and finance related matters you will need to:

  • determine the total value of all bank accounts;
  • determine the total value of all liabilities;
  • stop any direct debits and automatic transfers;
  • freeze accounts; and
  • open a bank account for the deceased estate.

Depending on your specific situation, some or all the following may apply to you:
19.2 Funeral and Estate Administration Expenses
19.3 Type of Bank Account Ownership
19.4 Common Banking Products and Services
19.5 The Banks’ Estate Process
19.6 Determine What Applies to Your Situation
19.7 Bank Statements
19.8 Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration
19.9 Open an ‘Estate of the Late’ Bank Account
19.10 Financial Dependence
19.11 Power of Attorney
19.12 Major Banks’ Information and Details
19.13 Actions and Decisions to Complete Step

19.2 Funeral and Estate Administration Expenses

The administration of a deceased estate incurs costs and can be expensive. Some of these include expenses relating to the funeral, tax, application for the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration with the Supreme Court and any other specialist help needed. Depending on your State/Territory, you can request the deceased person’s bank to pay or refund these.

 

If you have an unpaid invoice or require reimbursement for a settled invoice, you can present these at the deceased person’s bank with other information explained below and request these to be paid on behalf of the estate or reimbursed to the payee.

 

Once you as the Executor or Administrator of the estate have access to the funds on behalf of the estate, you can make such payments or refunds directly.

19.3 Type of Bank Account Ownership

As with all assets and liabilities, the crucial first step is to understand who the owner is. Most assets and liabilities can be held solely in the deceased person’s name or jointly with another person. If the surviving joint owner is still alive, then in most circumstances the specific asset or liability will pass to that other owner.

 

Every bank account, service agreement or arrangement with a financial institution is usually entered into by one or more persons. Finding out the name(s) on the bank statement or signature(s) on the agreement will help you identify which of the two applies.

19.3.1 Sole Owner

As a sole owner of a banking product or service, the Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin will be responsible to understand the total value of all combined assets and liabilities. All assets and liabilities held in the deceased person’s name alone, will need to be transferred to the deceased estate for distribution.

 

Note: The deceased person may have some banking products or services in their sole name and others jointly with another person. Each product or service should be evaluated and treated separately.

19.3.2 Joint Owner

As a joint owner of a banking product or service, the assets and liabilities associated will in most cases automatically transfer into the surviving joint owner’s name once the death was confirmed via the Death Certificate.
Exceptions to the automatic transfer to the surviving joint owner may apply for credit cards, personal loans or home and investment loans or where the Will states specific distribution wishes that may come into play if these distributions are in line with your State/Territory’s legislation.

 

To transfer all jointly held products and services and related assets and liabilities in the surviving owner’s name, you can submit or present a copy of the Death Certificate to the bank (you may have already completed this in Step 12 – Notify the Relevant Government Departments, Companies and Organisations). This will prove the death and allow the financial institution to transfer the relevant account, product and/or service into the surviving joint owner’s name.

19.4 Common Banking Products and Services

Banks and financial institutions provide a wide range of products and services and we have provided the following list for you to ensure you don’t miss anything:

  • Everyday accounts with bank cards
  • Savings accounts with or without bank cards
  • Term deposits
  • Debit cards
  • Credit cards
  • Prepaid debit cards
  • Overdraft facilities
  • Personal loans
  • Mortgage accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Life insurance products
  • Superannuation products

19.5 The Banks’ Estate Process

If you completed Step 12 – Notify the Relevant Government Departments, Companies and Organisations, the banks you have informed about the death should have already informed you of their specific process and the documents they require to initiate the estate administration process.

 

Note: Depending on the size of the estate, the bank may request you to provide a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration issued by the Supreme Court in the relevant State/Territory. This is explained in more detail in Step 27 – Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

 

Generally speaking the process can be summarised in these key steps but may vary depending on the bank:

Phase 1 – Before you have Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration:

  1. Immediately stop using secondary credit cards that are linked to the deceased person’s credit card account;
  2. Provide or present a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate, the deceased person’s information and Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin contact details to:
    a) place a temporarily hold on all accounts held solely in the deceased person’s name; and/or
    b) move all jointly held accounts, products and services to the surviving joint owner;
  3. Provide invoices or payment receipts for funeral and other estate administration related expenses that the bank may pay from the deceased person’s account before the funds are available to the estate;
  4. Request details and balances about all accounts held in the deceased person’s name;

Phase 2 – With Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration:

  1. Complete the bank’s identification process to ascertain that you are the Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin authorised to be dealing with the bank on behalf of the deceased estate;
  2. Open an ‘Estate of the late’ bank account in to which all eligible funds will be transferred to;
  3. Complete the required indemnity and release information to release the funds to the estate; and
  4. Close the accounts held solely in the deceased person’s name.

The critical point at this time will be to work through Phase 1 (activities 1-4) above to determine the total value of all accounts solely owned by the deceased person. This information can then be added to the simplyEstate Assets & Liabilities Inventory.

 

It is recommended to contact the bank(s) that the deceased person dealt with and organise a meeting at a branch to present the necessary documents. We have put together the key information for the four major banks in Step 19.12 below for your convenience.

19.6 Determine what Applies to Your Situation

Once the bank(s) are informed of the death by providing or presenting the Death Certificate and Will, if available, the bank will contact you and guide you through their process.


The bank will review all accounts, products and services held in the deceased person’s name and determine what documentation they need to ascertain the death has occurred, you are an authorised person to deal on behalf of the deceased estate and knowing that funds will be released to the right account.

19.7 Bank Statements

At this point, getting a full understanding of all balances (positive and negative) is critical. Once the above steps were completed, the bank will provide the authorised Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin with an overview of all accounts and their balance.

 

Once you have all this information from all banks you believe the deceased person dealt with, you can copy this information to the simplyEstate Assets & Liabilities Inventory. With this information completed, you will start getting a better idea of the total value of the deceased estate.

 

As outlined in Step 15 – Prepare an Assets & Liabilities Inventory, you may want to check for any large amounts transacting into or out of the deceased person’s bank accounts to determine if there may be an amount owing to someone by the estate or if someone owes money to the estate.

 

Note: the value of all assets and liabilities are as at the date of death.

19.8 Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration

The banks will have varying document requirements depending on your situation and the size of the deceased estate. As a general rule, if the estate assets held by the bank are worth $50,000 or more, the bank will most likely request for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to finally release the funds to the estate, so you can distribute to the Beneficiaries.

 

Step 27 – Apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration will provide more detail about this Step. If the bank requests for this now already, you will need to explain that you require the statements showing all balances of the deceased person’s bank accounts in order to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration with the Supreme Court in the relevant State/Territory. Once granted you will then contact the bank again with the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to continue the process towards release of funds to the estate as outlined in Step 19.5 – The Banks’ Estate Process (Phase 2).

19.9 Open an ‘Estate of the Late’ Bank Account

The goal will be for the deceased person’s bank(s) to release all funds held by them into a bank account specifically created on behalf of the deceased estate. You will be holding the cash and other estate assets in trust on behalf of the deceased as the authorised Executor or Administrator.
Such a bank account is called an ‘Estate of the Late’ account and only the authorised Executor(s) or Administrator(s) will have access to this account to make the final distributions to Beneficiaries. It will be important to nominate the ‘Estate of the Late’ account in the release form to ensure all funds belonging to the deceased estate are transferred to the correct account.

 

Where Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration are not needed to finalise and distribute the deceased estate, the Next of Kin who is taking care of the administration can request cash held in the name of the deceased to be transferred into their personal bank account for distribution to all eligible Beneficiaries.

In this instance you will be asked to provide proof of the death, your relationship to the deceased as well as sign a Statutory Declaration and a release and indemnity form so the bank is confident to release funds to you personally.

 

Note: You will need to take utmost care to keep detailed records of what is your personal compared to estate money.

 

Once you reach Step 30.2 – Set-up the Deceased Estate you will be reminded to open this account with further details.

simplyEstate is here to help.

Contact us via email or book your first free phone appointment.

19.10 Financial Dependence & Hardship

If a person was and continues to be financially dependent from the deceased person and may be experiencing financial hardship. By following this Step, the bank will put a hold on all accounts solely in the deceased person’s name and transfer jointly owned accounts to the surviving joint owner. Funds will no longer be accessible.


Refer to Step 9 – Request Allowances & Government Support for more information about financial help that may be available.

19.11 Power of Attorney

You or someone in the deceased person’s family may have been authorised by the deceased person to act on their behalf in private, business or other matters. A Power of Attorney often has complete access to bank accounts.

 

Note: A Power of Attorney ends immediately upon the death of the person giving another person authority to act as Power of Attorney.

 

To ensure that you as the Executor, Administrator or Next of Kin have complete oversight over financial outgoings that were made before the death of the deceased person, it is recommended to review bank statements in detail to check for unusual amounts being paid or transferred from the deceased person’s accounts. If the deceased person was unable to make transactions for a while, that period should be investigated thoroughly. All transactions made should be substantiated by the Power of Attorney with receipts or other evidence.

19.12 Major Banks’ Information and Details

Each bank will have their specific administration process in place and provide information about this on their websites. For your convenience simplyEstate has compiled Australia’s major banks’ information and details below:

If the deceased person dealt with ANZ, you should notify the bank of the death as outlined below:

 

Phone: 1800 237 170
Contact Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 7:00pm AEST
ANZ Branch near you can be found here
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9:30am – 4:00pm and Friday 9:30am – 5:00pm
Post: ANZ Estates, PO Box 585, Collins Street West, Victoria 8007

 

Relevant Documents
You will need to provide the following documents or as requested by the bank:

  • Certified Copy* of the Death Certificate;
  • Certified Copy* of the Will, if available;
  • Your proof of identity; and
  • Deceased person’s bank account numbers if known.

*you can bring the original documents to the branch as well for certifying.

 

Once you have a complete overview of all accounts and wish to proceed to release all funds from ANZ into the ‘Estate of the Late’ account, you will need to provide the following:

Proof of Identity

Appropriate documents proving your identity can be found in this document.

 

Home Loans

To find out about available options and refinancing contact ANZ Home Loans.

Phone: 1800 035 500
Contact Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 9:30pm (AEST) and Saturday – Sunday 8:00am – 4:30pm (AEST)

 

Website

The ANZ Estates website can be accessed here.

If the deceased person dealt with CBA, you should notify the bank of the death by visiting a branch with the documents outlined below:

 

Phone: 1800 686 153
Contact Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm AEST
CBA Branch near you can be found here
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 4:00pm

 

Relevant Documents
You will need to provide the following documents or as requested by the bank:

Release of Funds
Once you have a complete overview of all accounts and wish to proceed to release all funds from Commonwealth Bank into the ‘Estate of the Late’ account, you will need to provide the following:

Proof of Identity
If you are a Commonwealth Bank customer, simply provide your NetBank customer number. Alternatively, you will need to provide one of the following to prove your identity:

  • Primary Photographic Identification (one of the following):
    • Passport;
    • Australian Driver’s Licence; or
    • National Identity card.
  • Primary Non-Photographic Identification (two of the following):
    • Birth Certificate;
    • Pension Card; or
    • Citizenship Certificate.
  • A combination of Primary Non-Photographic and Secondary Identification (one of each):
    • Birth Certificate;
    • Pension Card; or
    • Citizenship Certificate;
    and
    • Electricity bill;
    • Gas bill;
    • Council rates; or
    • Recent notice issued by the Australian Taxation Office.

Website

The CBA Estates website can be accessed here.

If the deceased person dealt with NAB, you should complete a Deceased Customer Notification Form online or contact the bank as outlined below.

 

Phone: 1800 911 451
Contact Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm AEST
Email: [email protected]
NAB Branch near you can be found here
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 4:00pm AEST
Post: NAB Bereavement Support, GPO BOX 2067, Melbourne VIC 3001

 

Home Loans

To find out about available options and refinancing contact NAB Home Loans.

 

Phone: 1800 035 500
Contact Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 9:30pm (AEST) and Saturday – Sunday 8:00am – 4:30pm (AEST)

 

Relevant Documents
You will need to provide a Certified Copy of ─
one of the following:

  • Death Certificate;
  • funeral notice; or
  • medical certificate confirming date of death;

and,

  • your proof of identity, such as a driver’s licence or passport
    and one of the following:
  • the Will (if available); or
  • Proof that you are a Next of Kin (death certificate, marriage certificate or birth certificate).

Once NAB receives the Deceased Customer Notification Form submitted online, the bank will inform you how to provide the relevant documents.

 

Release of Funds

Once you have a complete overview of all accounts and wish to proceed to release all funds from NAB into the ‘Estate of the Late’ account, you will need to provide the following –
With a Will:

Without a Will:

  • Finalising a Deceased Estate without a Will Form; and
  • For total account balances with NAB of less than $50,000, each Next of Kin’s NAB customer ID or photo identification (passport or driver’s licence); or
  • For total account balances with NAB of more than $50,000, Letters of Administration and each Administrator’s NAB customer ID or photo identification (passport or driver’s licence).

Proof of Identity

Appropriate documents proving your identity can be found in this document.

 

Website

The NAB Estates website can be accessed here.

If the deceased person dealt with Westpac, you should notify the bank of the death as outlined below:

 

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1300 130 240
Contact Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm AEST
Westpac Branch near you can be found here 
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9:30am – 4:00pm and Friday 9:30am – 5:00pm
Post: Westpac Estates Management, 1 King Street, Concord West NSW, 2138 IBN11

 

Relevant Documents

You will need to provide the following documents or as requested by the bank:

  • Certified Copy of the Death Certificate;
  • Certified Copy of the Will, if available;
  • Your proof of identity; and
  • Deceased person’s bank account numbers if known.

Release of Funds

Once you have received a Letter of Requirement from Westpac with a reference number for your case, you can request a complete overview of all accounts and proceed to release all funds from Westpac into the ‘Estate of the Late’ account.

 

You will need to provide the following:

  • Grant of Probate (where a Will exists) or Letters of Administration (where a Will does not exist) may be requested by Westpac depending on the total value of all accounts held with Westpac.

Proof of Identity

Appropriate documents proving your identity can be found in this document.

 

Home Loans

Phone: 1800 067 497
Contact Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 9:30pm (AEST) and Saturday – Sunday 8:00am – 4:30pm (AEST)

 

Website

The Westpac Estates website can be accessed here.

19.13 Actions and Decisions to Complete Step

If you would like a little help from us at simplyEstate with this Step, you can email us or book your free first phone appointment. If you would like specialist help, get in touch with one of our Specialist Partners listed in the yellow section to the right or belowand see how they can help.

 

If you have decided to tackle this Step yourself after reading and understanding this Step, you may want to:

  1. Determine the ownership of all banking products and services;
  2. Transfer the accounts to the surviving joint owner (if applicable);
  3. Check the Will (if available) about any specific instructions about how the financials are to be distributed;
  4. Request statements from all banks the deceased person dealt with;
  5. Look for any large transfers in and out of the accounts to determine if there may be some further investigations needed;
  6. Take the necessary steps outlined if a person was financially dependent on the deceased person; and
  7. Update the simplyEstate Assets & Liabilities Inventory with all banking and financial products and services and their value.

Once you have completed all the necessary actions and decisions, you can move on to the next Step by clicking below or save progress at the top.

Do you need specialist help?

simplyEstate has partnered with select Specialists across Australia to assist you.

 

You can click on your State/Territory to find a suitable Specialist and get in touch to discuss how they can help you.

Estate Lawyers

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

 

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Financial Planners

 

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simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

 

simplyEstate Specialist Partner Listings coming soon in 2019.

Get in Touch

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If you would like to speak to us about this Step, discuss how to engage a Specialist Partner or need support, book a Phone Appointment now.

simplyEstate is here to help.

 

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