Bereavement help and advice
When you’ve lost someone close to you, organising their finances will be the last thing on your mind.
We’re here to help with this difficult step. Our specially trained bereavement advisers in branch can talk you through the process. They can provide help on what to do regarding accounts and how to pay bills, at no cost.
If a Will is in place, you’ll need to advise the Executors as soon as possible. If Bank of Scotland has appointed Executor please call us on 0800 056 0171 (you won’t have to book an appointment in branch).
Step 1 – How to notify us after a bereavement
You can call our dedicated bereavement team on 0800 056 0073 or you can drop in to see a specially trained adviser in branch.
Step 2 – What you will need to bring to the appointment
You will need to bring with you:
- 2 forms of identification, one showing your name, one showing your address. Please refer to our list of acceptable identification.
- The original Death Certificate.
- Any passbooks, cards and cheque books to help us protect the accounts
- Any Grant of Probate/Confirmation, Letter of Administration
You may also find it useful to bring a written list of questions you might have.
Step 3 – What to expect during your appointment
Your appointment will last around 45 minutes and will be with an advisor who will ask some questions to help us to fully understand your individual case.
Most of the paperwork will be completed in branch, however many cases require additional time and expertise to process. For these cases we have a dedicated Bereavement Service Centre to help.
Step 4 – What will happen to cases passed to the Bereavement Service Centre?
The Bereavement Service Centre will take ownership of your case and ensure that your individual requirements are fulfilled. They will keep in regular contact with you so you are aware of all progress.
Step 5 – Notifying other banks
If accounts were held with other banks and you still need to notify them, you can use the free Death Notification Service.
For more information, visit www.deathnotificationservice.co.uk
You don't need to do this for any accounts held with Lloyds Banking Group as we'll automatically notify all of the following - Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows, Clerical Medical and Birmingham Midshires.
You will probably have a lot of questions about how the financial arrangements will work. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you.
Can I take money out of a joint account?
If you are one of the named account holders then in most cases you will be able to continue withdrawing money in the normal way; we’ll let you know if you can’t. The account will be changed to the surviving account holders name and in most cases this can be completed at the branch. If it is more complicated it will be completed by our Bereavement Service Centre.
What happens to standing orders and direct debits?
We will cancel all payments from a sole named account where the account holder has died; on joint accounts these payments can continue but should be reviewed to ensure they all remain appropriate.
What happens to the mortgage?
If the mortgage was in the sole name of the person who has died, we will need to speak to the executor/administrator; if it is in joint names then we need to speak to the executor/ administrator and the surviving party to the mortgage (this may be the same person). If the mortgage has already been repaid then we may still hold the property deeds-please ask us to check for you.
What happens to an outstanding personal loan?
If the loan is protected with insurance then we will let you know how to make a claim. If it is not covered, then the debt will need to be repaid from the estate. If the loan was in joint names the surviving account holder can continue making monthly repayments or pay the loan off in full.
What happens to the credit card?
If there is an amount owing on the account this will have to be repaid by the estate. If the credit card is covered by credit card repayment insurance we’ll let you know how to make a claim, and advise you what to do with the cards.
What about tax-free savings, investments, and accounts registered for gross interest?
When the account holder dies, the interest earned on all accounts will be taxable.
Procurator Fiscal and Medical Certificate
Deaths are investigated by a procurator fiscal and some cases may undergo a fatal accident enquiry in front of a sheriff. The death certificate can be obtained from the registrar at an early stage for all deaths in Scotland as a medical certificate is issued irrespective of the circumstances of death.
If there’s a Will
If the person who has died leaves a Will, the person or people named as executors act as personal representatives of the person who has died and take legal responsibility for carrying out the instructions in the Will, and dealing with the money and property, known as the estate. In Scotland the personal representatives are known as executor-nominate when there is a Will.
In some instances the executor may be Bank of Scotland, in which case please call our Estate Administration Service on 0800 056 0171. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.
If there isn’t a Will
If the person who has died didn’t leave a Will this is called intestacy. The law sets out who should inherit the estate. You may need to apply for authority to be the administrator of the estate. The administrators will act as personal representatives of the person who has died and take legal responsibility for the estate. In Scotland the personal representatives are known as executor dative when there isn’t a Will.
If you would like more information or guidance on administering an estate, please call our Estate Administration Service on 0800 056 0171. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.
Executor Nominate or Dative
As executor nominate or dative you may have responsibility for one or more of the following:
- Registration of the death
- Arranging the funeral service
- Paying urgent expenses i.e. funeral costs
- Obtaining legal documents (grants)
- Informing financial institutions - banks, insurance companies, pensions
- Listing all the assets and liabilities of the estate
- Paying any tax liabilities i.e. inheritance tax
- Appointing trustees if required for beneficiaries of the Will
Arranging the funeral
Most bereaved families choose to use a funeral director to make the funeral arrangements, although this is not mandatory. We will only recommend members of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) www.nafd.org.uk or the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) www.saif.org.uk as their members have to adhere to codes of conduct in what is an unregulated occupation.
We recommend checking any funeral director is a member of one or both of these organisations as they have complaint procedures for those rare cases when something has gone wrong.
Paying urgent expenses
We understand that the next few weeks will be difficult, dealing with funeral arrangements and arranging legal paperwork, and you may have some bills that need paying before you can get all the legal documents required for administering the estate.
You can use the deceased credit balance to pay the following expense before all the legal paperwork is sorted:
- Funeral expenses – payable to funeral director
- Inheritance Tax – payable to H.M. Revenue & Customs
- Probate fees – payable to H.M.Courts service
- Confirmation fees – payable to The Scottish Court Service.
We’ll normally send the cheque direct to them, but you can ask us to send it to you. If this is the case we may need you to put in writing, who needs to be paid, whether you have or intend to apply for a Grant of Confirmation and the original invoice.
If the person who has died held an account with us, then we may be able to help by arranging a cheque payment. If the funds in the accounts are enough to cover all or part of the expenses we’ll arrange a cheque made out to the person or organisation named on the invoice.
Depending on the size of the estate and who the beneficiaries are there may be a liability to pay Inheritance Tax.
For more information, you can speak to our Estate Administration Service on 0800 056 0171. Lines are open Monday-Friday, 9am - 5pm, or contact your local tax office directly or visit the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk.
Any property or possession with monetary value.
Applying for Confirmation
Confirmation is the legal document which gives the executor authority to receive payments due to the estate and to make payments due on the estate. Confirmation may not be required in some small estates. In England and Wales, this will be a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
For processing in Scotland: The General Register for Scotland: New Register House, 3 Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT. Telephone: 0131 314 4467.
For applications for powers to process the will in England and Wales: Principal Registry, Personal Applications Department, First Ave House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP. Telephone: 0207 947 7000.
A separate document altering or adding to the provisions of an existing will. The codicil is kept with the original will.
A certified copy of the entry in the Death Register. The registrar will be able, for a fee, to provide a number of certified copies to save time when you’re registering claims with various financial companies.
Death Certificate Verification Form
The form used by a solicitor instead of a certified copy of an actual Death Certificate. This form lists all the information on the Death Certificate and can be submitted in place of the Death Certificate.
Deeds of variation
It’s sometimes possible for all the beneficiaries to effectively ‘rewrite’ the will by creating a legal document called a deed of variation. By doing this, the estate of the person who has died may be distributed in a more tax-efficient way. You have up to two years after the death to make a variation of a will and you should seek specialist advice as to whether this is possible and, if so, about the steps you need to take.
The person named in a will to carry out the wishes of the person who has died.
Letters of administration (England and Wales)
A document giving the power to sort out the estate after a death where there is no will.
Medical Certificate (Scotland)
A certificate issued by a doctor confirming cause of death (provided cause of death is clear and there are no unusual circumstances. The medical certificate will allow the death to be formally registered. If this is not the case, the doctor may report the death to the Procurator Fiscal who will investigate the circumstances in order to establish cause of death.
Rules of Intestacy
When a person dies without leaving a will they are described as dying intestate. Certain legal rules called the intestacy rules will determine how the person’s estate is distributed.
A legal document that gives instructions for what should happen to the estate of the person who has died. It may also contain details of their wishes for burial or cremation.
Citizens Advice Bureau
For help on practical and legal matters and contacts for counselling, help and support. Look in your telephone directory for your local office or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk in England and Wales, www.cas.org.uk in Scotland or www.citizensadvice.co.uk in Northern Ireland.
Cruse Bereavement Care
Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project
For support after the death of a partner. London Friend, 86 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DN. Tel: 020 7833 1674.
National Association of Funeral Directors
The Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
Natural Death Centre
For information about alternative and environmentally friendly funerals and committals. In the Mill House, Watley Lane, Twyford, Winchester SO21 1QX. Tel: 01962 712690 or visit www.naturaldeath.org.uk.
British Humanist Association
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
For a licence for a sea burial. DEFRA, Marine Environment Branch, Room 132, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR.
National Association of Memorial Masons
Holds a database of names of local monumental masons for tombstones and memorials. Castle Mews, Rugby, Warwickshire
The General Register for Scotland
HM Revenue & Customs
Terrence Higgins Trust
UK Passport Service
Gives details of addresses of regional offices. Tel: 03002 220 000 or visit www.gov.uk/browse/driving/passports-travelling-abroad.
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
DVLA, Swansea SA99 1BY or visit www.dvla.gov.uk
Calls may be monitored or recorded in case we need to check we have carried out your instructions correctly and to help improve our quality of service.