Closing the bank accounts of deceased individuals in Queensland is a process governed by both legal requirements and the policies of financial institutions. Handling these accounts can be sensitive, and it’s essential to follow the appropriate steps to ensure a smooth and lawful procedure. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to close bank accounts of deceased individuals in Queensland:
Obtain the Death Certificate: Before proceeding, obtain the original death certificate from the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. This document is crucial for verifying the individual’s passing.
Identify the Accounts: Gather information about all the bank accounts held by the deceased. This may include savings accounts, checking accounts, term deposits, and any other financial products the deceased held.
Notify the Banks: Contact each bank where the deceased held an account and inform them of the account holder’s passing. Most banks have dedicated deceased estates teams to handle such matters. Provide them with the necessary information, including the account numbers, full name of the deceased, and a certified copy of the death certificate.
Identify the Executor or Administrator: If the deceased appointed an executor in their Will, that person is responsible for handling their estate, including bank accounts. If there is no Will or no appointed executor, the next of kin or a legally appointed administrator will take on this role.
Estate Bank Account: The executor or administrator may open an estate bank account. This account is used to gather funds from all the deceased’s accounts and to manage their financial affairs. It is separate from the personal bank accounts of the executor.
Gather Assets: The executor or administrator will need to identify and collect all assets of the deceased, including bank account balances. They may need to provide the bank with a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, depending on the value of the assets.
Pay Debts and Distribute Assets: The executor or administrator will use the funds from the estate bank account to pay off any debts owed by the deceased, including funeral expenses and outstanding bills. After settling these obligations, the remaining funds can be distributed to the beneficiaries as outlined in the deceased’s Will or as determined by intestacy laws if there was no Will.
Closing the Accounts: Once all the necessary funds have been transferred from the individual accounts to the estate account, the banks can close the deceased’s personal accounts. Any credit cards or other financial products in the deceased’s name should also be cancelled.
Final Tax Return: The executor or administrator is responsible for filing the final tax return on behalf of the deceased, including any income earned until the date of death.
It’s crucial to be aware that this process can be complex, depending on the size of the estate and the number of accounts involved. Seeking professional advice from a solicitor or a specialist in deceased estates can help ensure that all legal requirements are met and that the process is carried out efficiently and in accordance with the law.
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