What to do when someone dies

We can help you to deal with someone’s estate, if they had an account with us. It is important that you follow the government advice when someone dies, as well as letting their bank know.

Find out the steps you should take when someone dies

Bereavement support

When grieving for someone, it can be hard to deal with their finances too. This guide aims to help make this as straightforward as it can be, so you can spend more time dealing with what matters most.

What we need from you

Request to release funds to cover costs

Get help from our bereavement team

What we need from you

1. Obtain a death certificate

Before we can make changes to a customer's account, we need to see the death certificate. You can get this from the General Register Office (GRO).

Order a copy of the certificate

If you don’t yet have the death certificate, but want to secure the account and stop marketing you can do this by either:

  • completing a Bereavement Instruction Form and sending it to us at the address below
  • or, by phoning us and then emailing the death certificate using the contact details below.

Until we have received this all accounts will remain open. This means that any regular payments, such as direct debits, will continue to go out of the account. As soon as you have the death certificate, please send this on to us.

2. Total value of accounts

The documents you need to send to us might be different depending on the total combined value of the accounts with the bank.

What is the value of the accounts held with us?

If the balance is less than £30,000 and a sole account we require;

  • A completed Bereavement Instruction Form. The Solicitor, Executor or Next of Kin should complete this. It provides us with information about the deceased, and who will be representing the estate.
  • We may need to verify the identity of the next of kin. We will try to do this electronically. If you would prefer to provide paper copies of your identity and address, then a list of acceptable proofs can be found here. If the executor of the estate holds an open account with us then proof of identity may not be required.
  • An original or certified copy of the Death Certificate*
  • An original or certified copy of the Will, if there is one.
  • If no Will was left, we must ensure that we follow the Law of Intestacy (please refer to www.gov.uk/inherits-someone-dies-without-will) you will need to complete and send the Bereavement Instruction Form, providing details in section 2 of all next of kin. Please note, we require section 4 to be signed by only one next of kin.
  • Whilst not required if the total balances are less than £30,000, if one already exists, you can choose to provide us with a certified copy of the Grant of Probate instead of sending the Will.

If the balance is more than £30,000 and a sole account we require;

  • Either a certified copy of the Grant of Probate if there is a will, or a certified copy of Letters of Administration if there is no Will.
  • A completed Bereavement Instruction Form. The Solicitor, Executor or Next of Kin should complete this. It provides us with information about the deceased, and who will be representing the estate.
  • An original or certified copy of the Death Certificate*.

Guidance about how to correctly certify documents can be found here.

*To support families of our deceased customers at this time, we are currently accepting uncertified copies of the death certificate when you first notify us. When we receive these documents, we will secure the accounts to stop payments being sent. We will still need you to send us the certified copy when it’s possible, to allow us to complete our remaining bereavement activities.

If a certified copy of a will is required, it only needs to be certified on the front page.

We will provide you with the account balances once we have received the bereavement instruction form and Death Certificate.

Any account/s including a Personal Loan, Visa account or Personal
account that are not insured will be dealt with by our Head Office in
Manchester who will contact you direct. We will require a copy of the death certificate.

You are not liable for the deceased’s debt however, the Bank can
claim against the estate of the deceased.

If any account/s are insured we will liaise on your behalf with our
insurers, Aviva.

For joint accounts, we will only need the following documents;

  • A completed Bereavement Instruction Form. The Solicitor, Executor or Next of Kin should complete this. It provides us with information about the deceased, and who will be representing the estate.
  • A copy of the Death Certificate - Once received, the joint account(s) will convert into the name(s) of the remaining account holder(s)

Where should I send my documents?

You can scan certified copies of documents as PDFs and send them to us via e-mail, take them into a Co-operative Bank branch, or post them to us at the address below. Please read the guidelines if you are sending your documentation via e-mail.

The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Bank
Bereavement Team
PO Box 638
M5 0JQ



Bereavement Team
Dept CO33
ST13 5RG


If you don’t know what accounts the deceased held, or if they held accounts with both The Co-operative Bank and Britannia, please send the documentation to the Britannia address.

We do not recommend that you post original documents. However, if you are posting these documents to us, we recommend you use a trackable delivery service. These are important documents and we would hate for them to be lost. Once we’ve received them, we will aim to have them scanned and sent back out to you within the same day. Original forms of ID and address will be returned via recorded delivery. Other documents will be sent back to you via 1st Class post.

If you are taking the documents into a branch, you can take the original documents.

Visiting a branch

Alternatively, if you want to visit a branch, please contact us to make an appointment first. Here are the numbers you’ll need to book an appointment.

Branch appointments for Britannia accounts

44 (0)800 132 304 (call charges)

Available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm

Saturdays, 9am to 12pm

Branch appointments for Co-operative Bank/smile accounts

03457 212 212 (call charges)

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

Request the release of funds to cover costs

We can release funds from the account upon receipt of an invoice or a receipt of payment for the following: 

  • The funeral bill and associated costs
  • Headstone
  • Catering costs for the wake
  • Newspaper announcements
  • Order of service sheets
  • Flowers
  • Inheritance fees
  • Grant of Probate / Letters of administration / Certificate of confirmation fees
  • Repatriation of the deceased (if required).

Speak to our team

If you need help, our customer bereavement team can support and guide you through the process. 

If the person who died had both Co-operative Bank/smile and Britannia accounts, use the number for the Britannia team.

Co-operative Bank/smile only

+44 (0)3457 212 212 (call charges)

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm


+44 (0)800 132 304 (call charges)

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Saturday, 9am to 12pm

Power of Attorney

Power of attorney privileges and third party access will cease upon date of death.

A person given power of attorney doesn't necessarily or automatically become responsible for managing the estate of the deceased. That’s decided by what is set out in the will.

If the deceased didn’t have a will (death intestate), what happens next depends on a number of factors. These include the marital status of the deceased, what's held with the bank and where in the UK they lived.

Power of attorney and third party privileges will cease upon death, please do not delay confirming the customer’s death in order to maintain power of attorney or third party privileges.

Useful Links

Cruse Bereavement Care

The Samaritans

Child Bereavement UK

Widowed and Young

Although not specifically related to banking, the government’s Tell Us Once service is a convenient way to notify multiple governmental departments of someone’s passing in a single go.

Aid with paying for a funeral is also available under certain circumstances. For more information, please see the gov.uk Funeral Payments webpage.

Not found what you're looking for?

Contact our support team