How to claim deceased bank accounts

Written by lacey roop
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Losing a loved one is a devastating occurrence. Dealing with the financial and estate issues that are left behind can be an additional burden for the family. Accessing bank accounts is often the most pressing matter after a death. Money needs to be available to cover funeral costs and any debts the deceased may have left behind. The executor of a deceased individual's will or estate is the only person allowed to legally access any bank accounts the deceased may have held.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Determine who is the executor of the deceased person's will and/or estate. They are the only person who is legally able to access bank accounts and other financial information. In the event that the deceased died without naming an executor, a person may be appointed by the court.

  2. 2

    Have the executor gain access to the bank accounts and determine the amount of money available. Compare this amount to any checkbooks or financial records the deceased left behind to see if they correspond.

  3. 3

    Distribution of the fund will then be handed out by the executor. The exact amount handed out to individuals is determined by the deceased's will or if there is no will, it is determined by the executor.

Tips and warnings

  • Only attempt to access a deceased individual's bank accounts if you are the executor of their will/estate. Attempting to do if you are not the executor may result in the account being frozen.

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