Dealing with bereavement

FAQs

General/Documentation

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.

What happens to joint accounts?

Once we have seen the death certificate, a joint account will automatically be re-titled in the name of the surviving party, unless there are any disputes over the estate.

The account number will remain the same and new cheque and paying in books will be ordered as required.

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.

When does HSBC need to see Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration?

Probate is not required where all the deceased assets are held jointly with another person and where they pass automatically to the joint owner.

Where the value of the deceased assets held in their sole name is greater than £5,000 Probate may be required. Most financial institutions have individual discretionary limits for releasing assets without seeing the legal document.

At HSBC it’s important that we support you as an individual. 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 if we need to see Probate. If we’re notified by post we will confirm all our requirements in writing.

Note: Where the deceased owned a property in their sole name Probate will always be required before it can be sold or transferred.

Why do you need to see original documents?

Original documents contain inbuilt security features which help the Bank prevent any fraudulent claims being made against the estate.

Why do you freeze sole accounts?

The bank has a legal obligation to protect the deceased’s funds and assets against theft or fraud. Therefore the accounts are frozen and all Bank mandates, any third party mandates, appointments of guardian/deputy/receiver and Power of Attorney are cancelled upon notification of death.

Why does HSBC need to see the will?

We need to see the will to ensure that we are dealing with the correct Personal Representative(s) of the deceased.

What happens if there is no will?

If there is no will the Bank must follow the Laws of Intestacy and deal only with the immediate next of kin. This will usually be the surviving spouse/civil partner or any blood-related children.

To find out how the estate is distributed using the Laws of Intestacy, please see Distribution on Intestacy.

What happens if there is any safe keeping held?

We will provide details in a letter of the balances held at date of death and of any items held which is sent to the Personal Representative(s).

When closing the accounts, we will require release instructions and also arrange for the Personal Representative(s) to collect the safe keeping from a branch.

If a Personal Representative(s) requires access to inspect any safe keeping, please contact the branch to make arrangements to do so.

What happens if there are other HSBC products e.g. mortgage, investments held by the deceased customer?

Once we are notified of the death, we will advise all parts of the Bank who have a relationship with the customer of the death and provide the Personal Representative(s) with details of all the products with advice of our closure requirements.

What should we do if all the Personal Representatives/Executors cannot come into the branch?

If the Personal Representative(s) are not UK residents, the Identification and address confirmation documents must be certified by an Embassy, Consulate or High Commission from the country where the documents were issued and sent to us, either by visiting a local HSBC branch (in any country) or post documents to us at:

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

Payments/Balances

I need to know the balances so that I can apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, how do I obtain these?

A letter of the balances held at date of death will be issued to the Personal Representatives following receipt of the death certificate. This letter will include statements and tax certificates, as well as provide details of what we require in order to close the accounts.

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.

Can standing orders and Direct Debits continue from a sole account?

No. The account will be frozen when we are notified of the death and all standing order and Direct Debit mandates will be cancelled, which means that payments cannot continue. We may exceptionally agree to continue to pay house insurance premiums to protect an estate asset.

For payments to utility companies, the Personal Representative must contact the utility company to make them aware of the change in circumstances and arrange for the bills to be sent to the person dealing with the estate.

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.

What can be paid from an account after you have been notified of the death, before it is closed?

Where sufficient funds are available, we can help you by paying the funeral bill, wake and flowers, any probate fees and inheritance tax (subject to limits). For more details, please contact our Bereavement Support Team on 0345 850 0088, who are available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6pm and Saturdays from 9am to 2pm (excluding bank holidays), or visit your local branch.

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).

What happens if one or more account is overdrawn?

Upon notification of death, any account with an outstanding debit balance will need to be repaid. If the estate is solvent, then the Personal Representative must authorise us to deduct any amount from credit balances held on the other accounts.

Where there are insufficient funds on other accounts, any outstanding amounts will need to be paid from the estate.

Can you pay inheritance tax on behalf of the personal representatives?

Yes. We can pay inheritance tax on your behalf.

The Personal Representative(s), who are applying for Grant of Probate, will need to complete and sign an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) form IHT 423 and include the unique HMRC reference number. This is obtained from HMRC.

Once we receive the completed form, we will make the payment direct to HMRC.

Note: We need to have seen the death certificate and know the name(s) of the Personal Representative(s).

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.