When someone dies, payments will continue to come out of their bank accounts until the bank is notified of the death. As the executor or administrator of someone’s estate, you should ensure that the bank is notified as soon as possible so that funds from the accounts are saved for the beneficiaries to inherit.
If you are the personal representative (executor or administrator) of someone’s estate following their death, you will be responsible for notifying the relevant organisations of the death so that action can be taken to protect their assets. When you have registered the death and obtained the death certificate – which should be done within one week of the death – you should start to notify governmental and financial organisations.
When you notify the bank of an account holder’s death, they will freeze the account and prevent any further payments from being taken in the form of direct debits and standing orders. This also protects the accounts from fraud. Protecting the deceased’s assets is a key part of your role as personal representative.
When the banks cancel direct debits, no utility payments can be made on the deceased’s property. You will therefore need to contact the utilities companies to let them know so that they can account for this. If you fail to notify these companies, they may shut off utilities in your loved one’s property. This should be avoided as you will need to maintain the property as you prepare it to be sold or transferred, which means you should be periodically visiting and turning the heating on to prevent damp and mould. The utilities companies will send you a final bill once the sale or transfer is completed which can be paid with funds from the estate.
To notify the banks of your loved one’s death, you will need the death certificate and some form of identification that proves you have the legal authority to handle their accounts. If the deceased left a Will naming you as executor, you can bring this. If there is no Will but you are acting as the administrator of the estate, you can bring a form of identification that proves your relation to the deceased, such as a marriage or birth certificate.