When a person dies, someone must execute the estate, meaning pay taxes and debts and distribute the assets to rightful beneficiaries. The person who does this may be referred to as the executor of the estate or a trustee if the estate was held in trust. In order to pay bills and distribute assets, the executor must gain access to the deceased bank accounts. Getting everything in order before you go to the bank helps.
Obtain an original death certificate from the County Coroner's Office or County Vital Records where the person died. Photocopies will not suffice. Expect to pay a fee for each copy.
Gather all required information regarding the deceased accounts and your role as executor such as statements, account numbers and bank locations. Make sure you have a copy the probate court order or trust naming you as the executor of the estate.
Go to the bank. Some banks may allow you to do this over the phone, mailing the required documents, but it is easier to walk in and speak with a representative to make sure things are done properly and quickly.
Provide the account representative with the required information and documentation. Make sure you have proper identification to prove you are the person named as the executor.
File paperwork for an Executor's Account with you as the signer for the benefit of the deceased estate. This account is used to execute the estate to maintain bill-paying ability until all proceeds are ready to be distributed. If the assets are not needed to pay debts or taxes, the executor can close the account and distribute the funds.