frequently asked questions about deceased estates

We've collated some of the most common questions that customers ask about finalising accounts and services of a deceased customer.

  • Bank and legal requirements

    What happens if the Deceased did not have a Will?

    We recommend you seek independent legal advice.

    I do not wish to provide a copy of the Will. Can I just provide the front page that shows who the Executor is?

    Requirements vary between estates, and each case is assessed separately. To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact us on 13 17 19. Alternatively, you may seek independent legal advice.

    I filled out the Deceased Customer Notification form, why do I have to fill these other forms?

    The forms provide different information to assist in assessing the estate.

    I am one of multiple executors named on the Will – why have you sent the forms for completion to the other executors?

    The Bank needs the written agreement of all named executors.

    I am the executor of the estate making a claim. Why do I have to give details of relatives already deceased? Why is this relevant?

    Our forms provide information to assist the Bank in determining who the entitled claimants to the estate are.

    Why can't I have the money held in the deceased's accounts?

    Requirements vary between estates, and each case is assessed separately. To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact us on 13 17 19. Alternatively, you may seek independent legal advice.

    Why is all this paperwork required?

    The Bank is responsible for ensuring we release any money from the accounts in accordance with the law. If you need any assistance completing the paperwork, please contact us on 13 17 19.

    Can a Power of Attorney still be used after date of death?

    No. A Power of Attorney is a formal document where a person (the Principal or Donor) authorises another person (the Attorney or Donee) to represent them or act on their behalf. The Power of Attorney ceases upon the death of the Principal/Donor.

    Is the medical certificate, listing the cause of death, sufficient to commence finalising the deceased's accounts held with the Bank?

    No. The full Death Certificate contains additional information, which is required by the Bank.

    What do I need to do to close the accounts held by the deceased?

    Refer to the key on this website.

    What (or who) is a Signatory to an account?

    A person who is authorised to provide instructions and sign for actions on an account.

  • Bank letters

    I have questions about the letter I've received. Who can help?

    We're here to help. Please contact us on 13 17 19 and we will go through the letter with you.

  • Cheque deposits

    I have cheques made payable to the Estate. Can I still deposit them into the account in the deceased's name?

    No. They should be banked into an account opened in the name of the Estate.

  • Closing accounts

    Can I close the account/s held by the deceased at the branch?

    Each case is different. Please contact us on 13 17 19 for more information.

  • Credit cards

    Why have you stopped my Credit Card?

    The deceased customer was the primary card holder and therefore responsible for the card account. As they've passed away, the card account is stopped. If you'd like a new card, you will need to apply for a credit card in your own name.

  • Estate debts & bills

    Can I get reimbursement for a funeral expense?

    Yes, if you are the person who paid the funeral expense, and there are funds available in the deceased's accounts. You will need to bring the original receipt to the branch in order to arrange the reimbursement.

    I don’t have any money to pay the deceased's debts owing to the Bank. What can I do?

    Unless you are a joint account holder or guarantor, you will not be responsible for the debts of the deceased's estate.

    What happens if the estate is insolvent (has more debts than assets/funds)?

    If the estate is insolvent, the Executor/Administrator of the estate should contact us on 13 17 19 for further information. Seeking independent legal advice is also recommended.

    I have bills that need to be paid and the Bank has declined to arrange payment. Why can’t I have them paid?

    There are various reasons for payment requests to be declined. To discuss your individual circumstances, please contact us on 13 17 19. Alternatively, you may seek independent legal advice.

    I have bills to pay for the deceased. Can I arrange with the Bank for these to be paid from the deceased's account?

    Usually only accounts or bills incurred by the deceased prior to their death will be considered for payment, apart from funeral expenses. An 'Authority to Release Assets' form is required to enable payment requests to be considered, and arranged, by the Bank.

    What do I do about the home loan?

    Please contact the branch where the home loan was originally opened. If you aren't sure which branch this is, contact us on 13 17 19.

    Who is liable for the deceased's credit card debt?

    If the deceased was the primary cardholder, then their Estate is liable for the debt.

    Why can't the joint lending accounts be changed to my sole name?

    The Bank considers this change in circumstances as requiring a new loan, which must be assessed according to the Bank's usual procedures.

    Why doesn't the Bank just write off the Credit Card debts when the cardholder is deceased?

    Until the outstanding amount is repaid, there is still a debt owing to the Bank.

  • Estate of the late accounts

    Do I have to open an 'Estate of the Late' account to distribute funds from the estate?

    The Bank does not require an 'Estate of the Late' account to release funds. This is a matter for the Executor/Administrator or legal representative to determine.

    How do I go about opening an account for the estate?

    Your nearest branch can guide you through the process of opening up an account for the estate.

    What type of account needs to be opened for the estate?

    Any non-personal account can be opened, and it is the choice of the executor/administrator.

    How does an 'Estate of the Late' Account work?

    The account works like a normal transactional account.

  • Fees

    In finalising the estate, are there fees payable for bank cheques?

    Generally no (fees may apply where large numbers of cheques are requested).

    If I withdraw a term deposit in the name of the deceased before the maturity date, will I be charged a 'pre-payment' cost?

    No, there is no cost for the prepayment of a term deposit for a deceased customer.

  • Form help

    Who can certify documents?

    Each state is different. Contact the Law Society in your state for further information.

    Who can witness Statutory Declarations?

    Each state is different. Contact the Law Society in your state for further information.

    Which forms do I need to complete, and how do I fill them in?

    Contact us on 13 17 19 for assistance, as each case is different. They can advise which forms you'll need to complete, and the forms have completion instructions on them to make it easier or go to our forms page on the website.

    How do I complete the paperwork you have sent me?

    We're here to help. Please contact us on 13 17 19 who will go through the documents with you.

  • Probate

    Why do I need to get Probate?

    We recommend you seek legal advice.

    The estate has accounts held across multiple states in Australia. Is the Probate issued in one state enough to close all accounts with Bankwest?

    Probate requirements vary between estates. Your legal representative can assist and advise in this regard.

    Why do I have to provide all these documents to waive Probate?

    To ensure due diligence in handling the estate, and to protect the Bank without the Probate process being applied.

  • Probate / letters of administration

    Why can't you waive the Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration?

    Requirements vary between estates, and each case is assessed separately. For assistance with your individual situation, contact us on 13 17 19.

  • Funds from the estate

    Will I only get the balance of the deceased's account/s as at the date of their death?

    Upon the finalisation of an estate, the Bank will pay all funds held in an account at the time of finalisation, plus accrued but unpaid interest, less any applicable fees.

  • Finding information

    Where can I find information, and the relevant forms, in relation to the death of a customer?

    There are a number of ways you can find information:

    • the Website you are on is designed to answer as many of your questions as possible;
    • your nearest branch can provide both information and forms
    • contact us on 13 17 19 for information, or a brochure and forms can be mailed to you
  • Signatures

    Why do I need to have my signature verified again?

    You shouldn't need to have your signature verified again. If your signature has previously been verified, simply provide us with one of your Bankwest account numbers to confirm.
    NOTE: if your signature has previously been verified, the Deceased Estates team will cross out that requirement on any form they send.

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