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Banks and building societies

If the deceased had a bank account, the bank may require probate or letters of administration before the executor can close the account. It is worth enquiring with the financial institution to see whether money can be released without probate or letters of administration. Requirements vary from institution to institution and it depends on the value of the estate.

If an account is in the deceased's name only, financial institutions will usually release enough to cover funeral expenses, although the amount released may vary. Generally, institutions will pay a funeral director's account that is produced.

Financial institutions may release the money in an account to the surviving spouse or children without probate being obtained if the amount does not exceed a certain limit, depending on the bank).

Financial institutions will usually release the funds of deceased depositors to an executor or beneficiary if the account is small and if she or he produces:

  • the will
  • a certified copy of the death certificate
  • sometimes, consent and indemnity forms from other members of the family or next of kin who consent to the executor obtaining money
  • sometimes, proof of payment of funeral expenses or the unpaid account.

All the money in a joint account automatically goes to the survivor when one of the account holders dies.

Banks and building societies  :  Last Revised: Thu Nov 13th 2014
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.