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Handling a Banking Relationship After the Loss of a Loved One

April 28, 2021
Managing affairs after the loss of a loved one can be an emotionally stressful time. Dealing with finances can be a jumble of paperwork, digital records, passwords and even shoeboxes. When it comes to handling the decedent’s bank accounts, we’re here to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.
When you notify us of a customer’s passing, we are required to take certain actions to protect and secure the customer’s accounts. As a result, we may ask you for documentation evidencing your authority to access or deal with the decedent’s specific account.

Documents You May Need

  • Your ID, including a current, unexpired driver’s license or U.S. passport and any other identification documents the bank may require.
  • Original or certified copy of the death certificate. You can request a certified copy of a death certificate from the clerk of the city or town where the death occurred.
  • Original or certified copy of probate court letters of authority dated within 60 days. In Massachusetts, this may include letters of authority of personal representative or a voluntary administration statement identifying a Middlesex Savings Bank account in the schedule of assets. The court documents for individuals who died while residing in another state may vary. Please contact the Information Center at 1-877-463-6287 for additional information.
  • Trust documentation validating your appointment as successor trustee of any trust you may be looking to gain access to.

Please note that the bank will not accept a copy of the last will and testament. A will must be probated and an estate representative appointed by the appropriate court.

Important Note: A power of attorney is valid only during the principal’s lifetime. The power to act on the principal’s account(s) ends at his or her death.

Managing Accounts

Learn more about the specific accounts that we can assist with.

Deposit Accounts and Certificates of Deposit:

  • Single-Owner Accounts
  • Joint Accounts
  • Single Account with a Pay-on-Death Beneficiary
  • Trust Accounts
Business Accounts:
The account is owned by a business such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or other business entity such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC).
  • Sole Proprietorship Accounts
  • Other Business Accounts

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs):
Due to the complexity of IRA accounts and possible tax implications, please contact our Retirements Department at 508-599-5590 for more information.

Safe Deposit Boxes:
The bank must review the safe deposit box lease agreement documents to determine who may access the box after the death of an owner. Probate court letters of authority may be required.

Loans and Lines of Credit:
The borrower’s estate is responsible for repayment of the loan. Any surviving co-borrower remains jointly responsible with the estate. Surviving co-borrowers may continue to access the line of credit. Please contact us if you are not a co-borrower but have an interest in the property securing the loan and would like to continue to make payments or receive information about the loan.

Additional Items to Consider

Notify the necessary institutions of the death:
  • Any government agency from which the deceased received benefits such as the Social Security Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Banks and financial institutions where the decedent held accounts.
  • Creditors such as credit card companies and home or auto lenders.
  • Insurance companies so that you may submit timely claims for any benefits.
  • The fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus to take precautionary measures against identity theft.
Update the beneficiary designation for any item that may have named the deceased as a primary or contingent beneficiary, items may include:
  • Bank accounts
  • IRAs or other retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Securities including stocks, bonds, or other investments
Additional actions to consider:
  • Contact an attorney if you need assistance filing probate or understanding any estate planning document such as a last will and testament or trust.
  • Contact an accountant or tax professional if you have any questions about tax implications or filing a tax return for the estate.
 If you have any questions or would like to request more information, please contact us or stop by a local branch

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes regarding accounts held at Middlesex Savings Bank only and not for the purpose of providing legal, tax, financial planning, or investment advice. Please seek the advice from qualified legal, tax, or financial professionals regarding any particular problem or issue you may have regarding the assets and affairs of the deceased individual.

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by Middlesex Savings Bank