It is fairly common knowledge that when you die your bank will freeze any account that is in your sole name. The process to get the bank account unfrozen depends on the amount of money that is in the bank account at the time of death.
Typically (but each bank has different requirements), a balance of under $50,000.00 will mean that the bank will not need to see a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. They will however, require various documents to be provided by the deceased’s executor, including the Will, Death Certificate and signed bank paperwork.
If the bank requires the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to be provided, then the process becomes a bit more involved.
Closing a deceased’s bank account sounds relatively straight forward and you’re probably thinking it is pretty easy, but practically speaking for many people it isn’t that simple.
For many people having their partners bank account frozen poses quite a challenge.
Let’s look at this practically.
Did you know that a death certificate can take months to be obtained in some cases?
Did you know that a Probate Application cannot be made before a death certificate is issued?
Did you know that once you file a Probate Application it can take months to be granted?
You still might be thinking ok, so it takes some time… But what if your partner, children or other family relied on the money you have in your sole bank account to pay for day-to-day expenses like rent or food?
Could they live for a month or more without access to that money? If the answer is no, then you probably have an issue.
There are some very simple solutions to this problem, such as a joint bank account or ensuring that your partner has access to funds in an account which will not be frozen.
Banks will in some circumstances allow access to a frozen bank account for some expenses, but this is assessed on a case-by-case basis and requires a person to make an application for the funds.
While this seems very simple, we see many people in a situation that cause them significant stress because their partner failed to consider this issue.
It is important to get the proper advice when preparing your Will so contact Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.
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