May 14, 2021
As mentioned in our previous blog posts, as a personal representative of an estate, you are liable for closing the decedent's different accounts. This can include turning off cable television service and phone service to closing bank accounts and selling stock positions. Often banks will not close the account until after the decedent's estate has gone through the probate process. The process of closing accounts can be tedious, but it is important not to procrastinate as the estate is still liable for the payments until the closure of the account.
Closing a Bank Account or other Service Providers
For most personal representatives the most difficult part of the process is figuring out what information is needed to properly close the accounts. We have identified below some details that you should be aware of during the personal representative process. It is essential to not think as a personal representative in this situation, but as a lawyer. For example, if you enter a bank to close a decedent's accounts, you most likely will be questioned about your own identity and the reason for closing the accounts. It is important to have all documentation together to access the accounts of the deceased. This may include personal identification, proof of death in the form of a death certificate, and finally letters of testamentary issued to you by the probate court. It should be noted that every business will have their own requirements for the closing of accounts, you should attempt to obtain as much information that is available to allow for an easier process. While most banks, utility companies, and other service providers are able to search for an account by using the deceased's address or phone number, you may be required to have the account number to access the information.
Closing a Bank Account or Selling Stocks
When closing a bank account or selling stocks there are a few things the personal representative should be aware of to ensure the transaction is completed correctly. Personal representatives will need specific information about where to deposit the money. The deceased's money should not be placed in an account with personal money nor anyone else's at any time. This will require you to create a dedicated bank account for the estate and any money from account closures, refunds and credits should be placed in this account. As mentioned in our previous blog posts, this will be exponentially easier if you are organized throughout the process while working alongside a probate attorney.