Bereavement help and advice.

When you’ve lost someone close to you, organising the finances will be the last thing on your mind.

We're here to help and by notifying us as soon as possible, we can help make sorting them as simple and straightforward as possible.

Our specially trained bereavement advisors will provide face to face help and advice on what to do regarding accounts, how to pay bills and will talk you through the process.

We’ve provided a short overview of our process and also some frequently asked questions about financial arrangements.

Our process


Step 1 – Arrange to see us in branch

You can call our dedicated bereavement number on 0800 028 1057, or visit us in any branch to arrange a meeting with one of our bereavement specialists.


Step 2 – What you will need to bring to the appointment

You will need to bring with you:

  • 2 forms of identification, one showing your name, one showing your address.
    Please refer to our list of acceptable identification.
  • The original Death Certificate.
  • Any passbooks, cards and cheque books to help us protect the accounts.
  • Any Grant of Probate/Confirmation*, Letter of Administration.

 You may also find it useful to bring a written list of questions you might have.

*For accounts, products and services held with us in the sole name of the person who died, we will only need to see the Grant of Probate if the value of the accounts is more than £50,000. You are unlikely to have this when we first meet, but we’ll need to see the original or certified copy when it is available.


Step 3 – What to expect during your appointment

Your appointment will last around 45 minutes and will be with an advisor who will ask some questions to help us to fully understand your individual case.

Most of the paperwork will be completed in branch, however many cases require additional time and expertise to process. For these cases we have a dedicated Bereavement Service Centre to help.


Step 4 – What will happen to cases passed to the Bereavement Service Centre?

The Bereavement Service Centre will take ownership of your case and ensure that your individual requirements are fulfilled. They will keep in regular contact with you so you are aware of all progress.

Frequently asked questions

You will probably have a lot of questions about how the financial arrangements will work. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you.


Can I take money out of a joint account?

If you are one of the named account holders then in most cases you will be able to continue withdrawing money in the normal way, we’ll let you know if you can’t. The account will be changed to the surviving account holders name and in most cases this can be completed at the branch. If it is more complicated it will be completed by our Bereavement Service Centre.


What happens to standing orders and direct debits?

We will cancel all payments from a sole named account where the account holder has died. On joint accounts these payments can continue but should be reviewed to ensure they all remain appropriate.


What happens to the mortgage?

If the mortgage was in the sole name of the person who has died, we will need to speak to the executor/administrator. If it is in joint names then we need to speak to the executor/administrator and the surviving party to the mortgage (this may be the same person). If the mortgage has already been repaid then we may still hold the property deeds, please ask us to check for you.


What happens to an outstanding personal loan?

If the loan is protected with insurance then we will let you know how to make a claim. If it is not covered, then the debt will need to be repaid from the estate. If the loan was in joint names the surviving account holder can continue making monthly repayments or pay the loan off in full.


What happens to the credit card?

If there is an amount owing on the account this will need to be repaid by the estate. If the credit card is covered by credit card repayment insurance we’ll let you know how to make a claim, and advise you what to do with the cards.


What about tax-free savings, investments, and accounts registered for gross interest?

When the account holder dies, the interest earned on all accounts will be taxable.


What happens if there is a Will?

If the person who has died leaves a Will, the person or people named as executors act as personal representatives of the person who has died. They take legal responsibility for dealing with the money and property, known as the estate, and carrying out the instructions in the Will. In Scotland the personal representatives are known as executor-nominate when there is a Will.


What happens if there isn’t a Will?

If the person who has died didn’t leave a Will this is called intestate. The law sets out who should inherit the estate. You may need to apply for authority to be the administrator of the estate. The administrators will act as personal representatives of the person who has died and take legal responsibility of the estate. In Scotland the personal representatives are known as executor dative when there isn’t a Will.

General information


Registrar of Deaths

This is the person who registers the death using the medical certificate from a doctor or a document from a coroner. The registrar issues certified copies of the death certificate which are the documents you need to legally prove the death has occurred, there may be a fee for this. It’s a good idea to get a few copies of the death certificate as these will be needed to inform banks and insurance companies.


Coroner

In certain circumstances a death has to be investigated by a coroner. This normally creates a delay of a day or two before the death can be registered, and the coroner supplies the paperwork to the registrar – rather than a doctor giving you a medical certificate. If there is going to be an inquest the coroner will issue an interim certificate, which will allow dealings with the estate to begin.


Scottish Law

The law in Scotland is different to that in England and Wales. The registrar role is similar but deaths are investigated by a procurator fiscal and some cases may undergo a fatal accident enquiry in front of a sheriff. The death certificate can be obtained from the registrar at an early stage for all deaths in Scotland as a medical certificate is issued irrespective of the circumstances of death.

The laws relating to inheritance and property in Scotland are very different to other parts of the United Kingdom apart from the taxes that need to be paid on estates. The equivalent process to probate in Scotland is called confirmation.

A small estate i.e. an estate with a total value of less that £36,000 can be dealt with by private individuals, although the requirement for confirmation will be decided by the individual companies you are dealing with.

The necessary forms can be obtained from the Sheriff Clerk’s office and the staff there will assist personal applicants for confirmation once all the information needed has been gathered. If the estate is larger than £36,000 and, especially if a property is involved, we recommend the use of a solicitor.

Personal representatives are an executor-nominate if there is a Will (testate) and an executor dative if no Will has been left (intestate).


Executor / Administrator

As executor or administrator (executor nominate or dative in Scotland) you may have responsibility for one or more of the following

  • Registration of the death
  • Arranging the funeral service
  • Paying urgent expenses i.e. funeral costs
  • Obtaining legal documents (grants)
  • Informing financial institutions - banks, insurance companies, pensions
  • Listing all the assets and liabilities of the estate
  • Paying any tax liabilities i.e. inheritance tax
  • Appointing trustees if required for beneficiaries of the Will

Arranging the funeral

Most bereaved families choose to use a funeral director to make the funeral arrangements, although this is not mandatory. We will only recommend members of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) as their members have to adhere to codes of conduct in what is an unregulated occupation.

We recommend checking any funeral director is a member of one or both of these organisations as they have complaint procedures for those rare cases when something has gone wrong.


Paying urgent expenses

We understand that the next few weeks will be difficult, dealing with funeral arrangements and arranging legal paperwork and that you may have some bills that need paying before you can get all the legal documents required for administering the estate.

You can use the deceased’s credit balance to pay the following expenses before all the legal paperwork is sorted:

  • Funeral expenses – payable to funeral director
  • Inheritance Tax – payable to H.M. Revenue & Customs
  • Probate fees – payable to H.M. Courts service
  • Confirmation fees – payable to The Scottish Court Service

We’ll normally send the cheque direct to them, but you can ask us to send it to you.

If this is the case we may need you to put in writing, who needs to be paid, whether you have or intend to apply for a Grant of Representation/Confirmation and the original invoice.

If the person who has died held an account with us, then we may be able to help by arranging a cheque payment. If the funds in the accounts are enough to cover all or part of the expenses we’ll arrange a cheque made out to the person or organisation named on the invoice.


Probate

A Grant of Probate is a document issued by a Probate Registry after they have received the necessary application forms and they have assured themselves that the Will is valid and that any taxes due have been paid.

Probate is the process of dealing with the deceased person’s estate and carrying out their instructions. The responsibilities include making sure all taxes and any debts are paid before any money can be given to beneficiaries (the people nominated to benefit from the Will) and that in general the estate is managed in a way that best serves the beneficiaries.

The entire process includes identifying what is in the estate and its value, completing the necessary application forms for both the probate registry and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, gathering in the assets including dealing with any property, paying the liabilities (debts) and completing the legal processes to cover you against late claims in the estate.

The same application process has to be made by the administrator of an intestate estate, where there is no Will. The grant issued in this situation is called Letters of Administration. If there is a Will but no executor for any reason, the grant is called Letters of Administration with Will annexed.

Collectively both executors and administrators are termed personal representatives.


Inheritance Tax

Depending on the size of the estate and who the beneficiaries are there may be a liability to pay Inheritance Tax.

You can contact your local tax office directly or visit the HMRC website.

Glossary


Assets

Any property or possession with monetary value.


Applying for probate

Probate is a legal document that entitles the executor or personal representative to make and receive payments from the estate. If the estate is small, or if it’s held in joint names and passes automatically to the surviving owner (as is often the case with married couples), you may not need to apply for probate. You’ll need to get a grant of probate if there is a will, or letters of administration if there isn’t (in Scotland this is called a grant of confirmation).

For applications for powers to process the will in England and Wales write to: Principal Registry, Personal Applications Department, First Ave House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP. Telephone: 0207 947 7000.

For applications for powers to process the will in Scotland: The General Register for Scotland write to: New Register House, 3 Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT.
Telephone: 0131 314 4467.


Codicil

A separate document altering or adding to the provisions of an existing will. The codicil is kept with the original will.


Confirmation (Scotland)

The process of getting the right to deal with the assets of the person who has died.


Coroner’s Certificate (England and Wales)

An interim certificate issued confirming the person who has died, their details and the date of death, but not the cause of death. This certificate is issued pending the coroner’s inquest to establish the actual cause of death. A Coroner’s Certificate can be accepted as notification of death but some companies may still need to see either the original or a certified copy of the Death Certificate once it’s available.


Death Certificate

A certified copy of the entry in the Death Register. The registrar will be able, for a fee, to provide a number of certified copies to save time when you’re registering claims with various financial companies.


Death Certificate Verification Form

The form used by a solicitor instead of a certified copy of an actual Death Certificate. This form lists all the information on the Death Certificate and can be submitted in place of the Death Certificate.


Deeds of variation

It’s sometimes possible for all the beneficiaries to effectively ‘rewrite’ the will by creating a legal document called a deed of variation. By doing this, the estate of the person who has died may be distributed in a more tax-efficient way. You have up to two years after the death to make a variation of a will and you should seek specialist advice as to whether this is possible and, if so, about the steps you need to take.


Executor

The person named in a will to carry out the wishes of the person who has died.


Letters of administration

A document giving the power to sort out the estate after a death where there is no will.


Rules of Intestacy

When a person dies without leaving a will they are described as dying intestate. Certain legal rules called the intestacy rules will determine how the person’s estate is distributed.


Will

A legal document that gives instructions for what should happen to the estate of the person who has died. It may also contain details of their wishes for burial or cremation.

Useful contacts


Citizens Advice Bureau

For help on practical and legal matters and contacts for counselling, help and support. Look in your telephone directory for your local office or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk in England and Wales, www.cas.org.uk in Scotland or www.citizensadvice.co.uk in Northern Ireland.


Cruse Bereavement Care

For general information, counselling and support. Tel: 0800 731 4044 or visit www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk.


Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project

For support after the death of a partner. London Friend, 86 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DN. Tel: 020 7833 1674.


Compassionate Friends

For support after the death of a child. 53 North Street, Bristol BS3 1EN. Tel: 0345 123 2304 or visit www.tcf.org.uk.


National Association of Funeral Directors

Members must follow their code of practice. 618 Warwick Road, West Midlands B91 1AA. Tel: 0845 230 1343 or visit www.nafd.org.uk.


The Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors

They have a code of practice for members to follow. 3 Bullfields, Sawbridgeworth, Herts CM21 9DB. Tel: 0345 230 6777 or visit www.saif.org.uk.


Veterans Agency

Help with costs of simple funerals for those receiving war disablement pensions. Norcross, Blackpool FY5 3WP. Tel: 0800 169 2277 or visit www.veterans-uk.info.


Natural Death Centre

For information about alternative and environmentally friendly funerals and committals. In the Mill House, Watley Lane, Twyford, Winchester SO21 1QX. Tel: 01962 712690 or visit www.naturaldeath.org.uk.


British Humanist Association

Information about non-religious and secular funeral services. 1 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HD. Tel: 020 7079 3580 or visit www.humanism.org.uk.


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

For a licence for a sea burial. DEFRA, Marine Environment Branch, Room 132, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.
Tel: 0345 933 5577 or visit www.defra.gov.uk.


National Association of Memorial Masons

Holds a database of names of local monumental masons for tombstones and memorials. Castle Mews, Rugby, Warwickshire CV21 2XL. Tel: 01788 542264, Fax: 01788 542276, email enquiries@namm.org.uk or visit www.namm.org.uk.


Probate Registry

For application for powers to process the will in England and Wales: Tel 0845 30 20 900 or visit www.justice.gov.uk/courts/probate.


The General Register for Scotland

New Register House, 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT. Tel: 0131 334 0380 or visit www.gro-scotland.gov.uk.


HM Revenue & Customs

For help with tax issues. HMRC Capital Taxes, Ferrers House, PO Box 38, Nottingham NG2 1BB. Tel: 0845 30 20 900 or visit www.hmrc.gov.uk.


Organ donation

The NHS Organ Donor register. NHS Blood and Transplant, Organ Donation and Transplant Directorate, Fox Den Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS34 8RR. Tel: 0300 123 2323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.


Terrence Higgins Trust

Support for HIV and AIDS. 314-320 Gray's Road, London WC1X 8DP. Tel: 0808 802 1221 or visit www.tht.org.uk.


INQUEST

Support for inquests - Offering legal aid and support for those involved in inquests. 89-93 Fonthill Road, London N4 3JH. Tel: 020 7263 1111 or visit www.inquest.org.uk.


Passport Service

Gives details of addresses of regional offices. Tel: 03002 220 000 or visit www.gov.uk/browse/driving/passports-travelling-abroad.


Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

DVLA, Swansea SA99 1BY or visit www.dvla.gov.uk.


Getting in touch

To arrange to see someone in branch you can call us on

0800 028 1057

If you're calling from abroad or would prefer not to use the 0800 number, you can call us on

+44 (0) 113 366 0145

Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week


Bereavement guides

Find out more about our bereavement services.

Bereavement guide

To find out how our accounts are affected by a bereavement, take a look at our following help guides.

Mortgages (PDF)
Banking & Savings (PDF)
Lending (PDF)
Home Insurance (PDF)
Share Dealing (PDF)


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