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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 a GP or hospital, and order extra copies 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 completing a Bereavement Instruction Form and sending it to us at the address 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
    • 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

    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.

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

    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 take the documents into a Co-operative Bank branch, or send them to us at the address below:

The Co-operative Bank

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

Britannia

Britannia Accounts
Bereavement Team
Britannia
Freepost(15796)
Dept CO33
Leek
Staffordshire
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.

If you are posting these to us, we recommend using 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.

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

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

Available 6am to 10pm every day

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 bereavement team

If you need help, our dedicated 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

Britannia

+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.

Please do not delay confirming the customer’s death in order to maintain power of attorney or third party privileges.

Useful Links


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.