If you need to close a bank account of someone who has died, and probate is required to do so, then the bank won’t release the money until they have the grant of probate. Once the bank has all the necessary documents, typically, they will release the funds within two weeks. Many will release a sum of money before the grant to deal with essential expenses such as funeral costs. The executor should approach the relevant bank promptly to determine the approach they take.
All banks have their own threshold for how much money they can release from an account without a grant of probate.
The value of the estate or what assets the deceased person owned will determine whether probate is needed. You will also need to find out how these assets were held. For example, you may not need probate if the person who died had jointly owned land, property, shares, or money. These will automatically pass to the surviving owners.
Usually, banks are willing to release smaller funds and assets without seeing a formal grant from the government. Therefore, if the estate’s value is less than £10,000, probate will probably not be needed. However, there is no standard probate threshold in England and Wales, and it can be anywhere between £5,000 and £50,000. This is because every bank and financial organisation has their own limit they can release and their own approach to probate.
Read our recent blog – Is probate always necessary?
How do you close a bank account?
As with the release of funds, each financial institution will have a particular set of requirements for closing the account. The bank will tell you which documents they need to close the account and release the money.
If it is a joint bank account, this will be moved into the sole name of the surviving account holder, along with the contents of this account. You can also request new bank cards to be issued at this point, depending on the bank’s policies.
What causes banks to delay releasing funds?
Incomplete or missing documents typically are the main cause of any delays. If a grant of probate is needed, generally, the bank won’t release the money until they have received this, so it is essential that you fully understand the implications of any process involved.
Whilst it is possible to apply probate yourself – you can find information here on the government website – and many executors and administrators act without a solicitor, the process can be highly time-consuming and involve complex procedures. There is also the risk that you can be held financially liable if you make any mistakes.
Seeking the advice of a probate specialist can help you determine if probate is needed and take away some of the stress of dealing with an estate after a loved one has passed away.
Expert local Probate Solicitors in Sittingbourne
Jarmans Solicitors is one of the most established law firms in Sittingbourne. For many years, our specialist probate solicitors have provided expert advice and services to clients across the United Kingdom and the world. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional client care and legal services, providing tailored, cost-effective legal solutions.
We offer legal advice for all your Probate needs. If you would like to contact us or book a consultation with a member of our team, please fill in the online enquiry form, call us on 01795 472291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.