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Dealing with bereavement

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What happens when you’re notified of a death?

Once we’re notified of a death, our bereavement support team will get in touch with you to explain the next steps and timescales.

We’ll inform all parts of HSBC UK which have a relationship with the deceased. We’ll freeze any sole accounts to stop withdrawals, but we’ll still allow money to be paid in.

For sole accounts, we’re legally obliged to cancel any standing orders or Direct Debits, including utility bills, mortgage or loan payments and home insurance. If any of these payments need to continue, you’ll need to contact the companies concerned to arrange new payments through a different account.

Any joint accounts will convert into the names of the remaining account holders once we receive formal confirmation of the death. We’ll let the remaining account holders know about this change.   

We’ll also stop any marketing messages from being sent. However, you may still receive some because these are prepared several weeks in advance. We try to prevent this happening, but if you do receive anything, please accept our sincere apologies.

What is a personal representative?

A personal representative is responsible for dealing with the estate of the deceased. They may also be known as the executor or administrator of the estate.

You can find a full glossary of terms here.  

I am a personal representative. What proof of identity and address do you need from me?

To protect you and the estate of the deceased from fraud and financial crime, we’ll need to verify your identity and address. To do this as quickly and easily as possible, we can complete the check electronically through the credit agency Experian.

We’ll complete a soft search, which will be recorded in your credit history. However, this won’t be visible to other organisations or lenders, and it won’t affect your credit score. 

We won’t carry out these checks unless we have your permission.

If we can’t complete the electronic identity checks, we’ll ask for document to prove your identity. Here’s a list of accepted documents.

What documents do you need to close the accounts?

Once we’ve received notification of death, we’ll let you know about any documents we may need. We’ll convert any joint accounts into sole accounts in the names of the remaining account holders once we receive formal confirmation of the death. We’ll tell the remaining account holders about this change.

For sole accounts, we’ll need:

  • formal confirmation of the death, such as an original or certified copy of the death certificate or coroner’s certificate. In some cases, we may be able to get this digitally without needing to see the certificate
  • proof of identity and address verification for the personal representatives. You can do this electronically through Experian or we’ll need to see documents. For more, see question 3, and the list of accepted documents
  • completed closure form, the personal representative who signs the closure form takes responsibility to distribute the balance from the accounts of the deceased

In some cases, we’ll let you know if we also need to see:

  • an original or certified copy of the grant or probate or letters of administration
  • an original or certified copy of the will

We reserve the right to ask for any further documents if needed.

When do you need to see grant of probate or letters of administration?

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

Our bereavement support team will make sure you’re updated throughout, and decisions will not be made solely on the value of the estate.

Why do you need to see the will?

We may need to see the will to make sure we’re dealing with the correct personal representatives of the deceased.

We may close the accounts of the deceased without seeing the will. However, we reserve the right to ask to see the will if needed.

What happens if there’s no will?

If there’s no will, we must follow the laws of intestacy, which means we’ll only be able to deal with the legal next of kin. This will usually be the surviving spouse or civil partner, or any blood-related or adopted children.

Find out how the estate is distributed using the laws of intestacy.

If the legal next of kin can’t deal with us, please get in touch for further help and guidance.

What happens if there’s any safe keeping held?

If the deceased held any safe keeping, including wills, we’ll give details of these items to the personal representatives and let them know the steps they need to take to retrieve them. 

What if the personal representatives aren’t based in the UK?

If the acting personal representatives aren’t UK residents, their proof of identity and address documents must be certified by an Embassy, Consulate or High Commission from the country where the documents were issued.

These documents must be sent to us, either by visiting a local HSBC branch in any country, or by posting documents to us at:

HSBC Bereavement Services

51 Saffron Road

Wigston

LE18 4AG

 

If you can’t post the documents, please contact us for further help and guidance.

Accounts and products 

What happens to sole accounts?

Once we’re notified of a death, we’ll freeze all sole accounts held by the deceased . This is because we have a legal obligation to protect these accounts against theft, fraud and financial crime.

By freezing the accounts, this prevents money from being withdrawn, which includes cancelling all standing orders and Direct Debits. You are still, however, able to pay money into the account.

Any third party mandates, appointments of guardian, deputy, receiver and power of attorney are also cancelled when we’re notified of a death. 

What happens to joint accounts?

Once we receive formal confirmation of the death, we’ll transfer any joint accounts into the names of the remaining account holders, unless there are any disputes over the estate. We’ll let the remaining account holders know about this change.

The account can continue to be used, and the account number will remain the same. New cheque and paying-in books will be ordered as needed.

What happens if the deceased held other HSBC UK borrowing products such as a mortgage or loan?

Once we’re notified of a death, we’ll inform all parts of HSBC UK which have a relationship with the deceased. We’ll give details of these products to the personal representatives.

The teams that manage these products will then contact the personal representatives to discuss next steps. If the deceased held a number of different products, you may be contacted separately by the different teams.

For more on what happens to mortgages, loans and overdrafts, you can visit our page on what happens when we are notified of the death of a customer.

What happens if the deceased held other HSBC UK savings products such as ISAs or investments?

Once we’re notified of a death, we’ll inform all parts of HSBC UK which have a relationship with the deceased. We’ll give details of these products to the personal representatives.

The teams that manage these products will then contact the personal representatives to discuss next steps. If the deceased held a number of different products, you may be contacted separately by the different teams.

For more on what happens to savings accounts, ISAs and investments, you can visit our page on what happens when we are notified of the death of a customer.

What happens to credit cards and additional cardholders?

All credit cards in the name of the deceased will be cancelled as soon as we’re notified of the death.

If a secondary card was held by an additional cardholder, this card will also be cancelled. The additional card holder will need to apply for a new credit card in their name, if this is needed.

If the deceased held a secondary card for a credit card account in someone else’s name, this account will remain open in the name of the primary card holder. However the secondary card will be cancelled.

To find out more, please visit our pages on what happens when we are notified of the death of a customer.

What happens to a power of attorney or third party mandate on the accounts of the deceased?

If there was a power of attorney, third party mandate or appointment of a guardian, deputy or receiver on accounts of the deceased, these are cancelled when we’re notified of a death.

If the attorney, deputy or third party is also the personal representative, their responsibilities as attorney, deputy or third party will cease. Their role as the personal representative will continue. Please note, account access may differ as a personal representative to that of an attorney, deputy or third party.

If the attorney, deputy or third party is not the personal representative, all responsibilities and access will cease.

What happens if one or more of the accounts are overdrawn?

Once we’re notified of a death, if the accounts of the deceased are overdrawn, these funds will still need to repaid.

If enough funds are available in other accounts held solely in the name of the deceased name, they can be used to reduce or repay the amount owed.

If there aren’t enough funds held in other accounts to cover the overdrawn balance, any debts which remain will need to be paid from the estate.

The personal representative is not personally liable for the debt. The personal representative’s responsibility is to make sure any outstanding debts are paid from the estate before making any payments to beneficiaries.

To find out more, please visit our pages on what happens when we are notified of the death of a customer.

Payments and balances

Can standing orders and Direct Debits continue to be paid from the accounts of the deceased?

No, any sole accounts will be frozen when we’re notified of the death. This is to prevent any withdrawals. We have a legal obligation to cancel any standing orders and Direct Debits - including utility bills, mortgage or loan payments and home insurance.

If any of these payments need to continue, you’ll need to contact the companies concerned to arrange new payments from a different account.

Our bereavement support team can provide the personal representatives with a list of the standing orders and Direct Debits on the accounts of the deceased, once we’ve verified their identity and address. Find out more about how we can verify your identity and address. Personal representatives can also visit any HSBC UK branch with proof of identity and address and ask for a list. Find your nearest branch and opening times.

Will payments into the sole accounts of the deceased still be accepted?

Yes, we can continue to receive payments into an account once it’s been frozen following notification of the death.

Please bear in mind, some of these payments may be reclaimed, for example, state pension. We suggest you notify the Department of Work and Pensions as soon as possible if you’ve not already done so, using the Tell us once service.

How can I find out the balances to apply for grant probate or letters of administration?

Once we’ve received formal confirmation of the death, where required, we’ll send a letter to the personal representatives with the details of the products and balances held at the date of death.

How long will it take to release the balance?

Once we receive all documents needed to close the accounts, where there are only savings and current accounts, we’ll combine the balances and aim to release the funds within 2 weeks.

Where there are other products held by the deceased, such as investments, this may take longer and we’ll let you know about this separately.

If we know about a dispute over the estate, we won’t be able to release any funds until we’ve seen the grant of probate or letters of administration.

What can be paid from an account after you’ve been notified of a death?

Before the account is closed, and where there’s enough funds available, we can help you by paying for the funeral, wake, flowers and inheritance tax (subject to limits).

If there aren’t enough funds to cover these costs, you can get guidance on support that’s available.

To find out more, and if you need more help, please contact us.

Can I pay the funeral bill from the account of the deceased?

Yes. Once we’ve received formal confirmation of the death, and we’ve been given the funeral bill, we’ll pay it for you from the account of the deceased, if there are enough funds. You can email a scan or photo of the bill to hsbc.bereavement@hsbc.com. If you can’t email a copy to us, you can post it to us at:

HSBC Bereavement Services

51 Saffron Road

Wigston

LE18 4AG

 

If the bill is an estimate, we can pay the deposit from the account of the deceased.

If you’ve already paid the funeral bill from your own account, we may be able to reimburse you from the account of the deceased once we receive formal confirmation of the death and proof of payment.

If there aren’t enough funds in the account of the deceased to cover the funeral cost, we can make a partial payment using what is available, with written confirmation from the personal representatives. If funds aren’t available, you can get guidance and support.

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

Yes. We can pay inheritance tax on your behalf if enough funds are available in the account of the deceased.

The personal representatives applying for grant of probate will need to complete and sign form IHT 423 from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and include the unique HMRC number. This is all obtained from HMRC.

Once we receive the completed form IHT 423, have formal confirmation of the death and know the names of the personal representatives, we will make the payment direct to HMRC.

Letting us know

Call us

0800 085 1992

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

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

General enquiries

Notify us online

You can inform us of a bereavement online.

Visit us in branch

Write to us

You can send documents to:

HSBC Bereavement Services

51 Saffron Road

Wigston

LE18 4AG 

It’s easy to get in touch online. Talk to us directly through our chat channels.