We know this can be a very difficult time. And when you’re grieving for someone, it can be hard to manage their finances too. We’re here to help you understand what to do when someone dies.

We’re here to support you. On this page, you can read about what to do first when someone dies, and how to deal with an estate, get help from our bereavement team and get legal support if you need it.

  • What you need to do

There may be a lot to think about right now. Here are the most important steps.

Please note, when one of our credit card holders dies, any additional cardholders on their credit card account need to stop using it immediately.

Firstly, it’s important that you read the government advice for when someone dies. This can help you understand all the steps involved, and what your responsibilities might be. You can:

You’ll need a death certificate before you can make certain changes to the account of the person who has died. You can get one from the General Register Office (GRO).

Order a copy of the death certificate

Initially, we keep all of the deceased’s accounts open and unchanged, so:

  • Any regular payments will continue to go out
  • Any cards will remain active
  • Any marketing will continue to be sent.

You can stop these things by asking us to secure the accounts.

If you haven’t already done so, we need you to complete our online bereavement form. This can be done by the solicitor, executor or next of kin.

Complete a Co-operative Bank or smile bereavement instruction form

If the Will specifically appoints you and others to act jointly in the administration of the estate

Complete a bereavement instruction form (PDF) and send this to the email below.

If you haven’t already done so as part of the online instruction form, we need you to send us an original or certified copy of the death certificate if by post or in branch. Or a digital copy if sending by email.

And if the deceased held any sole accounts, please also send the documents in the relevant list below, depending on what their combined balance is. You can ask us to confirm the balances once you’ve sent us the death certificate.

You need to get any copies of documents you’re sending via post or in branch certified.

Sole accounts with a combined balance of £50,000 or less

If either of these documents exist, you need to send us:

  • The original Will or a certified copy of the original Will (only certified on the first page)
  • Or a certified copy of the grant of probate.

You may also need to send us proof of identity and address of any next of kin who don’t have an account with us – we’ll let you know if we need this.

Sole accounts with a combined balance of more than £50,000

You need to send us:

  • A certified copy of the grant of probate, if there is a will
  • A certified copy of grant of letters of administration, if there is no will.

Read how to get copies certified

  • How to send your documents

You can send documents by email or by post, or bring them in branch.

You can send us digital copies of your documents by email.

For Co-operative Bank and smile accounts

See our guidance on sending documents by email (PDF).

You can post original or certified copies of documents to us.

For Co-operative Bank and smile accounts

The Co-operative Bank
PO Box 4931

If sending original documents

We recommend that you don’t send us originals of important documents, such as passports. But if you choose to, we suggest that you use a trackable delivery service.

Once we’ve received any originals, we’ll aim to send them back out to you within one day. We’ll use recorded delivery to send back any original proof of identity and address.

If you want to bring the documents into a branch, please contact us to make an appointment. If you’re taking documents into a branch, you can take original documents.

For Co-operative Bank and smile accounts

03457 212 212 for current accounts and savings accounts (call charges)

0345 600 6000 for credit cards (call charges)

Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm.

  • Speak to someone

Find out who you can contact, whether you want to speak to someone about your situation, get help understanding what to do next, or get legal or specialist support.

Speak to our bereavement team

Our bereavement team are on hand to help at this challenging time. They’re here to listen to what you have to say, and help guide you through the next steps.

You can call them using one of the numbers below.

03457 212 212 for current, mortgage and savings accounts (call charges)

0345 600 6000 for credit cards (call charges)

Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm.

Get legal support

Estate management and inheritance law is complex. Managing these legal concerns may be the last thing you want to do right now. Or you may be looking for some guidance.

We’ve partnered with Co-op Legal Services, who provide advice and regulated legal services for probate and estate administration, including grant of probate and letters of administration. You can ask them for a no-obligation, fixed-fee quote.

Learn more about legal support available

Get specialist support

Bereavement can be an isolating experience, and you may feel you’d benefit from speaking to someone you don’t know personally. Many organisations and services specialise in supporting you following the death of someone close to you, including:

  • How to release funds to cover costs

Usually, you need to follow the process above before we can release funds.

However, we can release funds if you send us an invoice or payment receipt for any of the below costs. You can send this by email, send by post or bring in branch.

For example, this includes:

Read more about funeral costs

This includes fees relating to:

  • Inheritance
  • Grant of probate, letters of administration or certificate of confirmation.
  • What happens after you've sent us a bereavement instruction form

Once you’ve completed a bereavement instruction form and sent the documents:

  • We’ll confirm the account balances
  • If any accounts are insured, we’ll speak to our insurers, Aviva, on your behalf
  • If any accounts aren’t insured, we’ll contact you directly to discuss these further
  • If there’s any debt in the deceased’s name, you won’t be held personally liable but the Bank may claim against their estate
  • If any joint accounts are in 2 names only, we’ll convert them to sole accounts.

When someone dies, Power of Attorney privileges and third party access to their account end on their date of death.

Anyone who had Power of Attorney won't necessarily or automatically become responsible for managing the estate of the deceased. What happens next depends on:

  • If they had a will – it’s decided by what’s set out in the will
  • If they didn’t have a will – it’s decided by a few things, including their marital status, what's held with the bank, and where they lived.

Not found what you're looking for?

Contact our support team