Screen of Blocking of inheritance bank accounts

Blocking of bank accounts after the death of the account holder

What happens with the blocking of bank accounts due to the death of the account holder?

When someone dies, it is usually their family members who report it to the bank.

The bank should not provide any information about the decedent’s balances or the state of bank accounts until they are provided with proof as to who has the right to the inheritance.

For this, the following documents are requested:

  • The death certificate, a certificate issued by the Civil Registry stating the death of a person.
  • The certificate of last will acts, a certificate issued by the Registry of Last Will Acts that contains information on whether or not the deceased granted a will and, if so, its data (date and notary before which it was granted). It does not indicate the content of the will, but only identifies what is the last will executed by the deceased.
  • Testament or Declaration of Heirs Declaration. If the deceased granted a will, any of those interested in the inheritance can go to the notary before whom it was granted, or to the one who takes his protocol (as well as the Notarial Archive if it was granted more than 25 years ago). The notary will verify that whoever makes the request is “called to inheritance”, that is, that he has the right to it, either because he is a direct relative (spouse, descendant or ascendant), or because he is part of the testamentary provisions made by the deceased. In case of not having granted a will, a Declaration of Heirs must be made.

What to do after submitting the documents to the bank?

After the blocking of bank accounts due to the death of their holder, once these documents have been provided, the bank will be able to provide information on the balances, accounts, deposits or shares of the deceased. But it will not proceed to its delivery to the interested-heirs. It will do so when they prove that they have complied with their tax obligations. That is, the bank will request the inheritance tax self-assessment models.

This tax must be paid within 6 months of death, although there is generally the possibility of requesting an extension. At that time, the bank must unlock the deceased’s bank accounts and deliver the balances to the heirs according to the credited inheritance fee.

What payments are allowed to be made with the balance in a deceased’s bank accounts?

It is very important to know that the payments for the usual supplies domiciled in the deceased’s bank accounts must continue to be taken care of. Also payments made for burial and funeral expenses.

Does the blocking of bank accounts due to the death of their owner affect the entire account even if it is shared?

No. We want to clarify this, as many clients ask us this question scared. If the account had several holders, the bank can only block the part corresponding to the deceased.

And what if I don’t know in which banks the deceased had open bank accounts?

If the heirs do not know which are the financial entities where the deceased had open bank accounts, they can go to the Tax Agency. Once the legitimation requirements have been verified by providing the documents indicated at the beginning, the Tax Office will provide the information to the heirs so that they can go to each of the banks to request the funds.

How long can the situation of blocking bank accounts due to the death of their owner occur?

It is not as uncommon as it seems that after the blocking of bank accounts due to the death of their owner, they are forgotten. In this case, the bank has to keep the money.

The bank will not be able to dispose of it for 20 years in case an heir arrives to claim it. After this period, the money deposited in it will be paid, on a mandatory and irreversible basis, to the Public Treasury. The bank does not keep it, as many think.

Unfortunately, this is a situation that we have all experienced at some time or that we will experience in the future. This is why it is important to be prepared and know how we have to act.