Dealing with bereavement

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What happens when we are notified of the death of a Customer?

The Personal Representative will only need to inform us once of the death.

If the deceased person held any other products with HSBC including first direct, we’ll ensure the necessary teams across HSBC and first direct are notified.

Note: If any person held a Third Party Mandate, Power of Attorney, Court of Protection order or Deputy Account for the deceased customer, all rights are cancelled immediately.

Current, Savings and Business Accounts

Sole Accounts

All accounts in the sole name of the deceased will be updated immediately. All standing orders and direct debits will be cancelled and if we receive any cheques for settlement or debit card transactions not claimed prior to notification these will be returned unpaid. However, we’ll continue to accept credit payments which may be due to the deceased.

Any debit card in the name of the deceased together with any Telephone Banking, on-line banking or payment arrangements will be cancelled automatically.

If a Fixed Rate Savings account matures before all the accounts are closed, we’ll pay the money into an account in the deceased’s name together with any interest due.

If requested by the personal representative, any money held on a non interest bearing account can be transferred in to an existing savings account (except an Individual Savings Account). If the deceased didn’t have any existing savings account we can open a new simple interest bearing account in the deceased’s name.

Joint Accounts

Once we’ve received the death certificate any current or savings accounts held in joint names will be transferred into the name of the surviving party.

Any debit card in the name of the deceased together with any Telephone Banking, on-line banking or payment arrangements will be cancelled automatically.

The account details will remain the same and the accounts will operate normally. The existing cheque books and paying in books can continue to be used, and where appropriate we’ll arrange for new books to be sent out.

We’ll send out details of any standing orders or direct debits for review and if any changes are required these can be made by the surviving account holder(s) either by calling our Telephone Banking Team on 0345 7404404 or at any HSBC branch.

If any of the accounts are in debt, the debt becomes the responsibility of the surviving party. Any loan payments must continue to be made unless protection insurance is held.

Regular Payments

Sole Current Accounts - All direct debits and standing orders will be cancelled (the only exception is home insurance as we may continue to pay this if the personal representative asks us to and credit funds are available.)

Joint Current Accounts - Payments won’t be changed unless the surviving party asks us to. We’ll send the full list of direct debits and standing orders to the personal representative as they’ll need to contact each provider to notify them of the death so that payment arrangements can be amended accordingly.

Fixed Rate Savings Accounts

The account will continue until maturity and any interest due on maturity will be subject to UK standard rate tax. If the account matures before we receive closure instructions the balance plus interest will be transferred to an account in the deceased’s sole name. If required these accounts can remain open until they mature. The personal representative must advise us when closing the remaining accounts that the fixed rate account must remain open until maturity.

Beneficiary account

If the deceased customer held an account solely in their name for the benefit of a third party eg a child or organisation this won’t form part of the deceased’s estate. However, it’s the responsibility of the personal representative to deal with the closure of the account and pass the funds to the beneficiary or body.

Credit Interest

Where applicable, credit interest will continue to be paid and will be paid net of UK standard rate of tax. Any accounts which aren’t subject to tax including Individual Savings Accounts will no longer qualify to benefit from their tax free status and any further interest paid after the date of death will be paid net of UK tax. From 6 April 2016 interest can be paid without the deduction of tax.

Debit Interest and Charges

With the exception of secured loans and mortgages we’ll not charge any further debit interest on loans or overdrafts from the date of notification. Any bank charges or fees will be cancelled and will no longer apply.

Loan Accounts

Any unsecured loan account held by the deceased will be suspended but the balance will remain outstanding and due to the bank from the estate. No further regular repayments will be taken. If loan protection insurance is held, the personal representative of the estate will need to make contact with the relevant insurer as soon as possible to discuss whether an insurance claim can be made to repay the outstanding balance.

HSBC Credit Card Accounts including any secondary cards held

All HSBC credit cards will be cancelled as soon as we’re notified of the death. If a secondary card was held by a third party, this card will also be cancelled as the agreement ceases upon death of the primary cardholder.

The personal representative of the estate will need to cancel any regular payments or subscriptions on the credit card by contacting the relevant organisation or provider directly.

No further debit interest or charges will be applied but the balance will remain outstanding and due to the bank from the estate. If any credit card repayment protection insurance was taken out, the personal representative of the estate will need to make contact with the relevant insurer as soon as possible to discuss whether an insurance claim can be made to repay the outstanding balance.

Business Accounts

If the deceased held any business account, we’ll update our records and if appropriate we’ll notify their relationship Manager. If the business was:

Sole Trader - any accounts will be frozen and the same conditions will apply to those for personal accounts.

Limited Companies

Sole Director who was Sole Signatory and Sole Shareholder - No other person is authorised by the company to instruct the Bank with a new mandate. Shareholding interest passes to the estate and it’s for the beneficiary of shareholding to appoint a new director to provide a mandate.

Sole Director who was Sole Shareholder but not the Sole Signatory – As above a new director would need to be appointed after grant of probate. However, if there are sufficient remaining signatories to give instructions in accordance with mandate, the account may continue for a short period for normal company purposes pending appointment of new director and new mandate.

Sole Director who was the Sole Signatory but not the Sole Shareholder - If the deceased was the sole director and sole signatory, but there‘s at least one shareholder remaining, then there’ll be no one authorised to instruct the Bank under the mandate. This means that no payments can be made from the account other than any standing orders and direct debits that have previously been authorised before the death of the sole director and sole signatory. The shareholders should seek advice on appointing a new Director.

Director where other directors remain - provided the signing instructions on the mandate aren’t affected, the account(s) of the company can continue to operate normally.

Partnerships - When a partner dies the partnership is automatically dissolved, unless a partnership deed has been executed which allows the partnership to continue in the event of the death of one of the partners. If there is a Partnership Deed this will need to be provided to us as soon as possible. If not, the only payments permitted from account will be existing debts of the partnership for the purpose of winding down the partnership.

Where the business needs to continue to operate, please contact us immediately and we can arrange an appointment for someone to seek the advice of one of our business managers and to discuss the future banking options for the business

A Limited Liability Partnership - is a separate legal entity. The death of a member won’t, therefore, normally affect the Limited Liability Partnership's ability to continue trading.

Trustee Accounts - if the deceased was a Trustee we will update our records and provided the signing instructions on the mandate aren’t affected and the number of remaining trustees does not fall below the minimum number of trustees required under the Trust Deed, the account(s) can continue to operate normally. If not the remaining trustees will have to appoint a further trustee and provide a new mandate to allow the Bank Account to continue to operate. If the trustees require further information or guidance they should contact a local HSBC business specialist.

Clubs and Societies - if the deceased was a signatory on an account, we will update our records and provided the signing instructions on the mandate aren’t affected, the account(s) can continue to operate normally. If not, the Club or Society will have to appoint a further nominated signatory and provide a new mandate to allow the Bank Account to continue to operate. If they require further information or guidance they should contact a local HSBC business specialist.

ISAs

Under current Individual Savings Account (ISA) regulations, ISAs are no longer exempt from tax from the date of death so any future interest and/or dividends will be subject to tax at the standard rate until the account is closed. From 6 April 2016 interest and/or dividends can be paid without the deduction of tax.

On 6 April 2015, ISA Regulations were changed to make the value of a deceased spouse/civil partner’s (deceased spouse’s) accumulated ISA(s) available to the surviving spouse/civil partner (surviving spouse) as an additional ISA allowance. This is known as an ‘Additional Permitted Subscription’ (APS) and doesn’t affect the surviving partner’s personal ISA allowance. This benefit will apply to surviving spouses of ISA holders who died on or after 3 December 2014. Please contact the Bereavement Support Team for further information.

Mortgages

Once we’ve been notified of the death we’ll update the mortgage details. The account won’t be frozen and interest on the outstanding balance will continue to accrue.

Where a Life policy has been deposited with the bank with the intention to repay the borrowing on the death of a borrower and the policy remains in force, we’ll automatically arrange for a claim to be made on behalf of the estate. Once the claim has been settled, we’ll arrange for the monies to be paid direct to the mortgage account and advise the personal representative of what happens next.

Mortgage in Sole Name of Deceased:

If insufficient, or no life cover is held to repay the borrowing, the personal representative(s) will need to arrange for the mortgage to be repaid from the remaining estate assets or the eventual sale of the property.

Mortgage in Joint Names:

If insufficient, or no life cover is held to repay the borrowing, we may be able to change the loan into the name(s) of the surviving borrower(s), once we have the relevant information and the request has been discussed with a qualified Mortgage Advisor.

In all cases, a member of our Mortgage team will contact the personal representative or the joint borrower approximately 6 weeks after we’ve been notified of the death. They’ll provide further information and guidance on the next steps and the options available. If further information or guidance is required before this, please contact a member of the Bereavement Support Team on 0345 850 0088, who will arrange for our Mortgage team to call at a time which is mutually convenient. The team is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 2pm (excluding bank holidays).

Investments

Once we’ve received a death certificate, we’ll provide the personal representatives with a breakdown of the HSBC investments held together with a valuation as at the date of death. We’ll also provide them with our requirements to close the accounts and the relevant closure authorities for completion and return.

To help the personal representatives to make an informed decision about the investments held by the deceased, there’s product specific literature available. It’s important that this information is read before making a decision.

Investments can either be sold or it may be possible to transfer them to someone else. However, there are exceptions where the investments cannot be transferred. These will be indicated in the Form of Authority. If any US stock is held we may need additional information to comply with US regulatory requirements.

Any HSBC investment products(s) held in joint names will be transferred to the surviving party. However, in order to comply with our regulatory responsibilities, we may need up to date additional information before we can complete the transfer. Our Investment Team will contact the surviving party with details of our requirements and we may also request identification and address verification details to update our customer records.

If we receive any dividends after the investments have been sold or transferred we’ll forward these on to the personal representative in accordance with their closure instructions.

Fixed Term Investment Products:

If the investment is a fixed term structured product, it can be sold or remain open until the end of the fixed term or the end of the Capital Protected Period. Any applicable gains will only be paid in full if the product is held until the end of its fixed investment term. If the product is sold before the end of the fixed term or the Capital Protected Period, we’ll sell at the market price available at the time of the sale. This could mean the value is less than the amount originally invested. If the investment matures before we receive closure instructions the funds will be held as cash. HSBC structured products cannot be transferred outside of HSBC.

Premier Investment Management Service (PIMS)

Sole PIMS - On receipt of the death certificate active management of the PIMS will cease and no further management charges will be applied. The assets held within the PIMS will be frozen and their value may go up or down in line with market fluctuations. We won’t make any changes to the assets held but we’ll continue to collect any dividend and interest payments until we receive Grant of Probate and closure instructions.

Joint PIMS - On receipt of the death certificate the taxable component of the PIMS will normally pass automatically to the surviving party. If the PIMS includes an ISA in the name of the deceased, this will be removed from the PIMS and will be subject to the same conditions as those for the Sole PIMS until we receive closure instructions. The remaining PIMS portfolio will be held in the surviving party name and will continue to be actively managed in line with the same investment model unless we’re instructed otherwise. However, if this is not possible due to the value of the remaining portfolio, we’ll discuss this with the surviving party.

Please note we’re unable to provide investment advice relating to any products currently being held. If you’re unsure about your situation, you should seek the appropriate professional advice.

HSBC Life

Investment Bonds

If the deceased was a life assured under an investment bond, a death benefit may be payable. Any claim will be payable to the owner of the investment bond. This could be the deceased's estate, the trustees of a trust or a third party. Once we're notified of the death we will contact the relevant person to discuss the next steps and confirm our requirements. If the claim is accepted settlement will normally be completed within one calendar month of us receiving notification of the death. However, if the claim is payable to the deceased’s estate and we require Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration this may take longer.

If the deceased was a policyholder but not insured or if there are still lives insured under the investment bond, then no death benefit will be payable. We may, however, need to ascertain who now owns the investment bond so that we can update our records accordingly. This will be determined by the rules of inheritance as with any other asset.

Life Insurance

If the deceased was insured under a policy of life insurance issued by HSBC Life, a death benefit may be payable. A dedicated Claims Advisor will deal with the claim and contact the appropriate person to advise the next steps and requirements to settle the claim. They may also require further information about the deceased to assess the claim. If the claim is accepted they’ll arrange for settlement to be made immediately. However, if the claim is payable to the deceased’s estate and if we require Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration this may take longer. Any claim will be payable to the owner of the policy. This could be either the estate (if the policyholder and life assured were one and the same), trustees (if the policy had been assigned to a trust) or a 3rd party (if the policy was written on a life of another basis or there was a mortgage interest noted).

If the deceased was the policyholder only, a claim will not be payable but the team will need to take steps to ascertain who now owns the policy so that we can update our records accordingly. This will be determined by the rules of inheritance as with any other asset.

HSBC Services

Items held as Security

We’ll provide details of any items we hold in security for a loan or mortgage. Any charge over these items won’t be released until all borrowing has been repaid. If they need to be sent to a solicitor for inspection we’ll require a form of undertaking. If you need any further information, please contact the Bereavement Support Team.

Items held in Safe Keeping

If the deceased held any items in safe keeping we’ll provide details. If we hold a will for the deceased, we’ll only release this on request to the Executor named in the will. We can arrange for the personal representative(s) to view these items at an HSBC office. We may be able to release certain items to a solicitor for inspection on undertaking. If you would like to do this please contact the Bereavement Support Team on 0345 850 0088. The team is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 2pm (excluding bank holidays).

Once we’ve closed the deceased account(s) and hold the appropriate authority we’ll release the items to the personal representative.

Payments

Providing there are sufficient credit funds available, we may be able to pay the following from the deceased's sole account(s). Monies held with HSBC in Jersey are subject to strict government legislation and we are unable to make any payments without a Jersey Grant of Probate

Funeral Costs

We’ll be able to pay the following on request from the Personal Representative and once we have seen the death certificate:

  • Full or part payment of the main funeral bill and associated costs
  • Flowers for the funeral
  • The wake
  • Repatriation of the deceased to the UK (if insurance is not held)

All payments will be made by bank transfer and we’ll require sight of the original invoice together with the provider’s bank details.

Please note:

  • If the bill is an estimate, we’ll be able to pay the deposit
  • If you have already paid the funeral bill from your own account, we may be able to reimburse you
Inheritance Tax

We’re aware that in some circumstances Inheritance Tax payments are required before the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration can be issued. If cash is available within any bank account or investment product, we can, if requested by the personal representative, make a payment on behalf of the estate direct to HM Revenue & Customs. We’ll require a signed and completed Form IHT423 for each account. If you require further information please contact the Bereavement Support Team.

Payment of other Bills

Exceptionally and if funds allow, we may agree to pay an insurance premium to protect an estate asset such as a house.

We’re not able to make any other payments, for example:

  • Travel and Accommodation for funeral guests
  • Memorial plaques or Headstones
  • Utility bills
  • Care Home fees
  • Income tax

Please note we’re unable to provide tax advice relating to any products currently being held. If you’re unsure about your situation, you should seek the appropriate professional advice.

Account Closure

We’ll advise the personal representative of our requirements to close the accounts and we’ll send the relevant forms of authority for completion and return. We’re also required to undertake Customer Due Diligence checks to comply with UK Money Laundering requirements and we’ll also need to see Identification and Address Verification documents for each personal representative. Once we receive all the required documents we’ll close the accounts and investments and release the funds usually within 10 working days.

UK Residents - Where the value of the deceased assets held in their sole name is greater than £5,000 Probate may be required. At HSBC every case will be reviewed by one of our bereavement specialists and decisions will not be made solely on the value of the estate. If we’re notified of the death by a personal representative, either during a visit to one of our branches or by calling the Bereavement Support Team direct, we’ll be able to advise our requirements immediately and whether we need to see Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration (Letters of Confirmation in Scotland).

Overseas Residents – Due to the differing probate and inheritance laws which may apply, where funds within all HSBC accounts exceed £10,000, we may require Grant of Probate issued by the Probate Registry of England and Wales. For amounts less than this we’ll require sight of any original documents issued by the appropriate Court in the country where the deceased was domiciled.

Accounts held with HSBC in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man

These are Crown dependent states that have their own Inheritance and Probate regulations and we’ll usually require Probate documents issued by the respective Probate Court.

For accounts held with HSBC in Guernsey and Isle of Man, we’re able to apply the same closure requirements as those for UK and Overseas customers. However for accounts held with HSBC in Jersey more stringent probate restrictions are applied by the Jersey Probate Court. If our customer was a Jersey resident, we can only release money once Jersey probate has been issued. If the customer lived outside of Jersey, Jersey probate will be required for all amounts over £10,000.

Where the deceased customer also has accounts or investments held in the UK, we may also require Probate documents issued by the Probate court of England and Wales.

HSBC Accounts in Debt

The personal representative isn’t personally liable for the debt. However, they are legally responsible for ensuring that all outstanding debts are settled from the estate before making any payments to beneficiaries.

If the borrowing is secured, the debt must be repaid from the estate before any security can be released. Debit interest will continue to be applied. If the borrowing is not repaid the bank can if necessary enforce its security and sell the asset(s) to repay the borrowing.

Where the balance of all accounts with HSBC (excluding mortgages and investment products) is in an overall debit position the personal representative will be required to advise the bank how the outstanding borrowing will be repaid. To help, we’ll send out an Estate Account questionnaire for completion, where required.

Once received, we’ll review the information and will contact the personal representatives to discuss the next steps.

If you need any help or guidance dealing with the debts held with HSBC or you don’t think that the estate will be able to repay the borrowing in full, the personal representative should contact the Bereavement Account Support Team as soon as possible on 0345 850 0088. The team is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 2pm (excluding bank holidays).

How to Contact Us
By Telephone

Bereavement Support Team
If you have any general questions or need any further assistance when completing the forms, please call a member of the Bereavement Support Team on 0800 085 1992 or +44 (0)114 252 0249 if calling from outside the UK. Textphone 1800 108457 125563. Lines are open 8.30 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 2.00 pm Saturdays (excluding Bank Holidays)

Bereavement Account Support Team
If you need any help or guidance dealing with the debts held with HSBC please contact the Bereavement Account Support Team on 0345 601 9097 or +44 (0)114 252 0249 if calling from outside the UK. Textphone 1800 108457 125563. Lines are open 8.30 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).

Visit us in person

Go along to your local HSBC branch and our professional and helpful staff will get in touch with the Bereavement Support team for you.

Write to us

You are welcome to write to us at the address below. If you have one, please quote our reference number when writing.

Post items to: HSBC Bank plc,
Harry Weston Road,
Binley, Coventry,
CV3 2TQ

Letting us know

Call us

0800 085 1992*

or +44 (0)114 252 0249 if you're calling from outside the UK.

Notify online

You can inform us of a bereavement online

Notify now

General enquiries

0345 850 0088

Find your nearest branch

Find branch

Write to us

You can send documents to:

District Service Centre
HSBC Bank plc
Harry Weston Road
Binley
Coventry
CV3 2TQ

Bereavement guide

Download now

* Lines are open 8:30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays 9am to 2pm (excluding public holidays).

Our top 5 FAQs

  1. What documentation do you need in order to close the accounts?
    What documentation do you need in order to close the accounts?

    We will need to see the following original documents:

    • Death certificate
    • Will (if one exists)
    • Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration (if applicable)
    • ID&VA for any Personal Representatives who are not HSBC customers – please see Help Us Identify You for a complete list of acceptable documents.

    We will also require a completed Payment Authorisation Form or forms signed by all the Personal Representatives.

  2. How long will it take to release the balance?
    How long will it take to release the balance?

    Once we have received the correct documentation, where there is only current and savings accounts, we will combine all the balances and release the funds within ten working days. Where there are other products, this may take longer and we will advise you of this separately within a letter of the balances held at date of death.

    If we are aware that a dispute exists over the estate, we will not be able to release the funds until we have seen the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

  3. Can I pay the funeral bill from the deceased’s account?
    Can I pay the funeral bill from the deceased’s account?

    Yes. We will be able to pay the funeral bill for you once we have seen the death certificate and you provide us the funeral bill.

    If the bill is an estimate, we will be able to pay the deposit once we have seen the death certificate.

    If you have already paid the funeral bill from your own account, we may be able to reimburse you once we have seen the death certificate, the funeral bill and proof of payment.

    If sufficient funds are not available, we can make a partial payment, to the value of the funds held, with written confirmation from the Personal Representative(s).

  4. I am a Personal Representative, what proof of identity and address do you need from me?
    I am a Personal Representative, what proof of identity and address do you need from me?

    For a complete list of the acceptable documents as proof of identity and confirmation of address please see Help Us Identify You.

  5. Will credits still be accepted into a sole account?
    Will credits still be accepted into a sole account?

    Yes. We are able to continue to receive credits into an account after we have been notified of the death. Please bear in mind, some credits may be re-claimed, e.g. state pension.