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Bereavement FAQs and important documents

Documentation

1. What happens when we are notified of a death?

Once we’re notified of a death, our specialist Bereavement Support Team will contact you to explain the next steps and timescales.

We’ll inform all parts of HSBC UK who have a relationship with the deceased customer, and 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. Should 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 name(s) of the remaining account holder(s) once we receive formal confirmation of the death. The remaining account holder(s) will be informed of this change.    

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

2. What is a Personal Representative?

The Personal Representative, is the individual who is responsible for dealing with the deceased customer’s estate. They may also be known as the executor or administrator of the estate.

Glossary of terms.

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

To protect you and the deceased customer’s estate 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 via 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 will not carry out these checks unless we have your permission.

If we’re unable to complete the electronic identity checks, we’ll request documentation to prove your identity. A list of accepted documents.

4. What documentation 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 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.

5. When do we need to see Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration?

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

Our Bereavement Support Team will ensure you are updated throughout the journey, and decisions will not be made solely on the value of the estate.

6. Why do we need to see the will?

We may need to see the will to make sure we’re dealing with the correct Personal Representative(s) of the deceased customer.

We may close the deceased customer’s accounts without seeing the will; however, we reserve the right to ask to see the will if needed. 

7.  What happens if there is no will?

If there is 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/civil partner, or any blood-related or adopted children.

To find out how the estate is distributed using the Laws of Intestacy, visit the government online guidance page. It has a simple online tool to help you understand who can inherit the estate.

Should the legal next of kin be unable to act please contact us for further help and guidance.

8. What happens if there is any safe keeping held?

If the deceased customer held any safe keeping, including wills, we will provide details of these items to the Personal Representative(s) and the steps they need to take in order to retrieve them. 

9. What if the Personal Representative(s) are not based in the UK?

If the acting Personal Representative(s) are not UK residents, the 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 providing documents in the post is not possible, please contact us for further help and guidance.

Accounts & products

1. What happens to sole accounts?

Once we’re notified of a death. all sole accounts held by the deceased customer will be frozen. 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 Attorneys are also cancelled upon notification of death. 

2. What happens to joint accounts?

Once we receive formal confirmation of the death, we’ll transfer any joint accounts into the name(s) of the remaining account holder(s), unless there are any disputes over the estate. The remaining account holder(s) will be notified of 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 required. 

3. What happens if the deceased customer held other HSBC UK borrowing products? e.g. Mortgage, loan.

Once we’re notified of a death, we’ll inform all parts of HSBC UK who have a relationship with the deceased customer. We’ll provide the Personal Representative(s) with details of these products.

The respective teams who manage these products will then contact the Personal Representative(s) to discuss next steps. If the deceased customer held a number of different products, you may be contacted separately by the different teams.

For more information on what happens to Mortgages, Loans and Overdrafts see our Bereavement support guide (PDF 153KB).

4. What happens if the deceased customer held other HSBC UK savings products? e.g. ISAs, investments.

Once we’re notified of a death, we’ll inform all parts of HSBC UK who have a relationship with the deceased customer. We’ll provide the Personal Representative(s) with details of these products.

The respective teams who manage these products will then contact the Personal Representative(s) to discuss next steps. If the deceased customer held a number of different products, you may be contacted separately by the different teams.

For more information on what happens to Savings Accounts, ISAs and Investments see our Bereavement support guide (PDF 153KB).

5. What happens to credit cards and additional cardholders?

All credit cards in the name of the deceased customer 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 required.

If the deceased customer 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.

For more information, please see our Bereavement support guide (PDF 153KB).

6. What happens to a Power of Attorney or third party mandate on the deceased customer’s accounts?

If the deceased customer was a Donor, i.e. if there was a Power of Attorney, third party mandate or appointment of guardian/deputy/receiver on their accounts, these are cancelled upon notification of death.

If the Attorney/deputy/third party is also the Personal Representative, their responsibilities as Attorney/deputy/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/third party.

If the Attorney/deputy/third party is not the Personal Representative, all responsibilities and access will cease. 

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

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

If there are sufficient funds available in other accounts held solely in the deceased customer’s name, this can be used to reduce or repay the amount owed.

If there are insufficient 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 ensure any outstanding debts are paid from the estate before making any payments to beneficiaries.

For more information, please see our Bereavement support guide (PDF 153KB).

Payments & balances

1. Can standing orders and Direct Debits continue to be paid from the deceased customer’s sole accounts?

No, any sole accounts will be frozen when we’re notified of the death 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 Representative(s) with a list of the standing orders and Direct Debits on the deceased’s accounts, once we’ve verified their identity and address. More information on how we can verify your identity and address. Alternatively, Personal Representative(s) can visit any HSBC UK branch with proof of identity and address and request a list. You can find your nearest branch, and their opening times, using our Branch Finder Tool.

2. Will payments into the deceased customer’s sole accounts still be accepted?

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

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

3. How can I find out the balances to apply for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration?

Once we’ve received formal confirmation of the death, where required we’ll issue a letter with the details of the products and balances held at date of death to the Personal Representative(s).

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

Once we receive all documentation required to close the account(s), 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 customer, such as investments, this may take longer and we’ll advise you of this separately.

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

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

Before the account is closed, and where sufficient funds are available, we can help you by paying the funeral bill, wake, flowers, and inheritance tax (subject to limits).

If there are insufficient funds available to cover these costs, guidance on support available can be found in our Bereavement support guide (PDF 153KB).

For more information, and if you require additional support, please contact us.

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

Yes. Once we’ve received formal confirmation of the death, and we’ve been provided with the funeral bill, where sufficient funds are available, we’ll pay the funeral bill for you from the deceased customer’s account. To send us a copy of the funeral bill, a scan or photo of the bill can be emailed to hsbc.bereavement@hsbc.com. If you’re unable to email a copy to us, you can post this to us at:

 

HSBC Bereavement Services

51 Saffron Road

Wigston

LE18 4AG

 

If the bill is an estimate, we’re able to pay the deposit from the deceased customer’s account.

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

If sufficient funds are not available in the deceased customer’s account to cover the funeral cost, we can make a partial payment to the value of the funds available, with written confirmation from the Personal Representative(s). For guidance and support if funds are not available, please see our Bereavement Support Guide (PDF 153KB).

7. Can you pay inheritance tax on behalf of the Personal Representative(s)?

Yes. We can pay inheritance tax on your behalf if sufficient funds are available in the deceased’s account.

The Personal Representative(s), who are 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 Representative(s), we will make the payment direct to HMRC. 

Contacting us

Call us

To notify us of a bereavement

0800 085 1992

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

General enquiries

0345 850 0088

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