Deceased Estate Bank Accounts: Notifying us
What happens when you notify us?
Things to consider:
Speak to us if you or someone else still requires access to an account.
As soon as we’re notified, we inform all parts of the Westpac Group, and we will let you know if you need to take any further action regarding specific accounts.
Once you notify us and provide at least one of the Proof of Death documents, then a permanent hold will be placed on any transaction accounts solely held by the deceased. This means:
- No money can be taken out of the accounts
- Credit continues to be credited to any deceased estate accounts
- Direct Debits are stopped from being debited – including utility bills, mortgage or loan payments.
The only exception to this is home insurance, which we may continue to pay if you ask us to and credit funds are available.
Alternative arrangements may need to be made if these accounts are solely in the name of the deceased, and the sole source of funds for others. Speak to us if you or someone else still requires access to this account. We’ll provide you with a full list of information to assist with this task – see Step 3 for more information.
What happens next?
You will receive a ‘Letter of Requirement’ as part of the statement of position within 7 to 10 business days. This will include a reference number to quote when contacting us and a list of any further information we need.
Depending on the value of the Estate, we may also ask for documents such as the Will, Probate, Probate Bond or Letters of Administration.
All Powers of Attorney, Guardianships and authorised signatories cease once a person is deceased. Only the next of kin or Executor/ Administrator/Legal representative will be able to engage with the bank regarding the deceased’s accounts after their passing.
Once all the necessary documentation has been received, we’ll begin settling the accounts and releasing funds to the Executor(s), Administrator(s) or Solicitor acting for the Estate.
Joint account holders
The joint holder will still have access to the account (credits and debits) as per normal (except for term deposits and if joint holder is a secondary holder of the product), the surviving account holder will not need to be formally identified in order to access funds from the joint accounts. Joint accounts will be transferred into the name of the surviving joint account holder(s) once we have received a certified copy of the Death Certificate.
The joint account holder, next of kin, executor or administrator can either continue the term deposit until maturity or request the funds be released prior to maturity. We will need certain documentation in order to be able to release the funds before the end of the term deposit term. All interest penalties will be waived and interest paid will accrue up until the date of closure.
Where possible, we will offset the credit card debt using the funds available from any savings and transaction account, in accordance with the products terms and conditions. You’ll need to cancel any existing direct debits attached to the card. If the deceased was the primary cardholder, the card needs to be cancelled, which will cancel any secondary cardholder’s cards automatically. We understand this will impact on secondary cardholders who may be reliant on this card for making purchases. The bank will endeavour to assist the secondary cardholder with a solution, for example applying for a new card, subject to Westpac’s existing lending criteria.
The estate of the deceased will need to continue paying the loan. Interest will continue to accrue on the account until the loan is finalised. For sole accounts, the redraw facility will no longer be available and all debits will be blocked. There are a number of options available to the next of kin, executor, administrator or solicitor acting for the estate. The Estates Management team will help you through the process including, if requested, producing title deeds or any associated safe custody packets that we might hold on the deceased’s behalf. If you require the deceased’s name to be removed from the title deeds, please contact your preferred solicitor for more information. If you’re concerned the regular loan repayments cannot be met, please contact Customer Assist on 1800 067 497.
The joint account holder or the estate of the deceased will need to continue paying the loan. Interest may still accrue on the account until the loan is finalised. The Estates Management team will help you through the process. If the joint account holder or the estate of the deceased or the joint personal account holder(s) is unable to meet the regular loan repayments, you may contact Customer Assist on 1800 067 497.
Funeral or life insurance
Call us on 131 817 and tell us what has happened to prompt your claim. We are here Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.30pm (Sydney time). You will be assigned a Claims Consultant, who will help you every step of the way. We will mail you a Claims Kit, your claim will then be assessed and payment can then be arranged.
If there were no binding death benefit nominations or specific wishes mentioned in a will then superannuation law sets out who is eligible to receive superannuation death benefits on the death of a member of a superannuation fund. You will be required to complete a Death Benefit Information Form (which we can give you), and provide a certified copy of the Death Certificate. In most cases you will also need to provide a certified copy of the Will and a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (where there is no Will).
If the Deceased held a trust account and you are a beneficiary, we recommend that you seek independent financial and/or legal advice. You will then need to visit a branch to make any changes to the trust account.