How to Access a Bank Account of a Deceased Parent

A lot can happen to a bank account when a person dies. Primarily, the bank would freeze the account so that no one could take out funds from it. So, if you have a deceased parent that possessed a bank account, you need to follow some steps in order to access it.

You will need to have any kind of proof that you can access the bank account, like your name in a will. However, if this is not the case, there are other ways to prove that you can use this bank account freely.

In the end, withdrawing all the money that is left and distributing it with your family is the best you can do. So, we will tell you what you need in order to access the bank account of a deceased parent, and also situations where one of the persons from a joint account passes away.

Checking the account of a deceased parent


Taking funds out of bank account from a cashier

Do not think that all the money in a bank account disappears when someone dies. If this ever happens, there are steps that need to be followed in order to manage that account again. Keep in mind that even if there is a will, and your name is in the document, you cannot tamper with any amount of money. First, you need to find the correct person to do it:

1. Check who is the executor

This person’s role is to administer someone’s estate when the account holder dies. In other words, it will be in charge of distributing the funds to each of the people appointed in the will.

The executor normally is a lawyer, and your deceased parent must indicate in the will the name of the person. If for some reason there is no designated executor, the state will appoint one.

2. See which goods are distributed to who

Once you know who the executor is, the next step is to figure out the distribution of funds among the people in the will. But before doing this, all debts from creditors and estate must be paid first. If the deceased parent specified how many of the assets are going for someone, then the process will be easy.

3. Inform about your deceased parent to the banks

As part of the family, you have to provide information to the bank about your deceased parent. To do so, provide them with a copy of the death certificate and the Social Security number. This will also help to give a green light on the distribution process.

But another way for the bank to find out that someone with a bank account passed away is through Social Security. With the help of the funerary that helped with your parent’s burial, they can inform about it to Social Security.

4. Submit the document where it says who is the executor

Finally, you just have to bring a copy where it shows the name of the executor to the banks. If there is more than one bank with a deceased account, then you also have to provide this document.

➡LEARN MORE: What to do if I have an overdrawn bank account with no money

Situation where there is not a will

Since your deceased parent did not leave a will as proof for the executor, things can get complicated. However, if your parent assigned someone of the family as a beneficiary or the account is in ‘Payable on Death (POD)’, then you do not have to worry.

Follow the fourth step and inform the bank about your parent, and once they check that you’re the POD, the money in the bank account will be yours.

What happens if my deceased parent had a Joint Account?

You may wonder what happens if there is more than one owner on the bank account. Let us say that your mother and father have a joint account, and one of them passes away. In those situations, the rights of survivorship come into action.

This applies to any property, on which if one of your parents dies, the other would receive the left share. So when this happens to a joint account, the survivor owner would possess all the funds in the account.

It is important to make sure that this is active when you open a bank account. If not, then once the bank knows one of the signers is dead, they will freeze the account, meaning the surviving signer cannot use it.