Overview

We understand that the death of someone close can be a really difficult time.

This step-by-step guide gives practical information about what happens to an account when someone dies, how to register a death, help with funeral costs and what you'll need to close the account.

To help you plan and keep on track throughout the process, we’ve put together a bereavement checklist.

Within the first few days you’ll need to register the death.

Registering the death

The government’s register a death tool tells you who can register the death and what they’ll need to do.

Once you’ve registered the death, you’ll be given:

  • a death certificate, and
  • a certificate for burial or cremation.

It’s a good idea to ask for extra copies of the death certificate, as some organisations might need to see an original version (there can be a small fee for this).

You can tell us about the death of a Nationwide customer by making an appointment in your local branch or by writing to us. Unfortunately we're unable to register new bereavement cases over the phone as we will need to see the death certificate.

You can write to us at:

Bereavement Services
Customer Service & Operations 
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN38 3FN

What we’ll need from you

  • An original copy of the death certificate.
  • The name and address of the executorFallback Text or administratorFallback Text. This lets us know who we’re writing to and who is entitled to the information.
  • If you are the executor or administrator, you'll also need to provide us with your proof of identification if you’re not a Nationwide customer.

We’ll write to the executor or administrator within 7-10 days to confirm what happens next.

Executor

The person(s) named in a will to deal with the estate following a person’s death and, if necessary, request a Grant of Probate (or Certificate of Confirmation in Scotland).

Administrator

Also known as Executor Dative in Scotland, this is the person who obtains Letters of Administration to deal with an estate when there is no will (and therefore no Grant of Probate).

Once the death has been registered, the funeral can be arranged. Many people will use a funeral director, but funerals can be arranged without one, and the local council can help with this.

Paying for a funeral

Funeral costs can vary depending on the services you need to pay for, and in some cases you might need to pay for these up front. If there isn't a financial scheme like a pre-paid funeral plan or insurance policy, you can request money from the deceased customer's savings or bank account as long as there are enough funds in it.

To request the funds, you'll need to visit your nearest branch with the original funeral invoice. Alternatively you can send the invoice along with a covering letter, which needs to include your name, address and the deceased's details, to:

Bereavement Services 
Customer Service & Operations 
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire 
SN38 3FN.

The will

If there is a will, we don’t need to see it to register the death or release funds from an account. Find out more about wills, probate and inheritance on the gov.uk website.

Dealing with the estate

A person’s estate includes everything they own or that is registered in their name. This includes things like:

  • money (cash, bank or building society accounts, money owed by others)
  • insurance policies
  • stocks and shares
  • property
  • personal possessions (such as jewellery or a car).

After a person dies, their estate is shared out according to their will or to their next of kin if no will was left.

Executors and administrators

As executorFallback Text or administratorFallback Text it’s your responsibility to carry out the administration of the estate.

This can include:

  • collecting all the assets of the estate
  • dealing with any paperwork, and
  • paying any debts, taxes, funeral and administration costs.

Executor

The person(s) named in a will to deal with the estate following a person’s death and, if necessary, request a Grant of Probate (or Certificate of Confirmation in Scotland).

Administrator

Also known as Executor Dative in Scotland, this is the person who obtains Letters of Administration to deal with an estate when there is no will (and therefore no Grant of Probate).

Appointing someone to administer the estate

You can appoint a solicitor, chartered accountant, specialist probate service or bank to handle the administration. There will be a charge for employing these services, so it’s worth understanding what’s needed before you go ahead.

Dealing with the estate yourself

Depending on the overall value of the estate, you may need to apply for a Grant of RepresentationFallback Text. Find out more about applying for a Grant of Representation.

For smaller or lower value estates, you may not need a Grant of Representation and some banks and building societies may allow you to close accounts without one. Find out how to close a Nationwide account following a death.

Grant of Representation

Where a will was left, this will be a Grant of Probate and where no will was left this will be Letters of Administration. In Scotland, the Grant of Representation is called a Confirmation.These are the official documents that allow executors or administrators to close accounts, gather the assets of an estate and pay them out to the beneficiaries.

When someone dies, it's important to sort out their tax, benefits, and National Insurance as soon as possible. There may be tax to pay, or their estate might be owed some tax back.

Inheritance tax

Inheritance Tax needs to be paid if a person's estate is worth more than £325,000 when they die. This is the current Inheritance Tax threshold, and it can go up or down from year to year depending on rules set by the government.

If you’ve been named as the executorFallback Text or administratorFallback Text, you will be responsible for paying any Inheritance Tax using funds from the person’s estate.

Read more about Inheritance Tax on the gov.uk website, including how to work out if tax is due on an estate.

Executor

The person(s) named in a will to deal with the estate following a person’s death and, if necessary, request a Grant of Probate (or Certificate of Confirmation in Scotland).

Administrator

Also known as Executor Dative in Scotland, this is the person who obtains Letters of Administration to deal with an estate when there is no will (and therefore no Grant of Probate).

You’ll need to fill in the request to close account(s) form and return it to us.

How soon we can release the funds, and what we’ll need from you, depends on the total amount held with us:

Less than £5,000
We’ll need you to fill in a request to close account(s) form (and, if you're applying for a Grant of RepresentationFallback Text the original or certified copy of this document will need to be provided to us as well). Once this has been received, we’ll release the funds as soon as possible.

£5,000 - £30,000
We’ll need you to fill in a request to close account(s) form (and, if you're applying for a Grant of RepresentationFallback Text the original or certified copy of this document will need to be provided to us as well). If you're not applying for a Grant of Representation, our request to close account form will need to be witnessed by a solicitor.

£30,000+
In addition to a completed request to close account(s) form, we’ll need to see the Grant of RepresentationFallback Text.

Grant of Representation

Where a will was left, this will be a Grant of Probate and where no will was left this will be Letters of Administration. In Scotland, the Grant of Representation is called a Confirmation. These are the official documents that allow executors or administrators to close accounts, gather the assets of an estate and pay them out to the beneficiaries.

Grant of Representation

Where a will was left, this will be a Grant of Probate and where no will was left this will be Letters of Administration. In Scotland, the Grant of Representation is called a Confirmation. These are the official documents that allow executors or administrators to close accounts, gather the assets of an estate and pay them out to the beneficiaries.

Grant of Representation

Where a will was left, this will be a Grant of Probate and where no will was left this will be Letters of Administration. In Scotland, the Grant of Representation is called a Confirmation. These are the official documents that allow executors or administrators to close accounts, gather the assets of an estate and pay them out to the beneficiaries.

Releasing funds

We’ll aim to release the funds as soon as we can. If you need funds immediately to help cover the funeral, we require a copy of the funeral invoice. Or, to help cover tax or probate court expenses, fill in the funds to cover fees form and return it to us in branch or send it to:

Bereavement Services 
Customer Service & Operations 
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire 
SN38 3FN

We’re here to help

For help and support please call us on:

  • 0800 464 30 18

Our opening hours are Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm and Sat 9am to 12pm.

Unfortunately we can't register new bereavement cases over the phone.

Lawyers and accountants

If you’re a solicitor, accountant or probate service acting on behalf of one of our customers, read our information for lawyers.

What happens to the account?

Select one of the account types below to see what happens to an account when someone dies. Once you’ve selected a tab, choose from the options given to view information for joint or sole accounts.

What type of current account?

The account will be changed into the surviving account holder's name.

The deceased's card and chequebook will be cancelled automatically and you don't need to return them to us.

What happens with overdrawn accounts?
The overdraft will become the responsibility of the surviving account holder.

Sole current accounts will remain open until we receive the closure documents.

The deceased's card and chequebook will be cancelled automatically and you don't need to return them to us.

Any recurring payments, such as Direct Debits and standing orders, will be frozen until the account is closed (the Personal Representative should also cancel Direct Debits with the company being paid).

What happens with overdrawn accounts?
If the account is overdrawn, we'll look to repay the overdraft from any other accounts the deceased held with us.  If there are no other accounts or not enough funds held, the overdraft will have to be repaid using assets in the estate.  

What type of savings account?

ISA accounts will be closed and any funds will be moved to a new taxable ISA account*.

If you're the spouse or civil partner of a deceased customer, you can inherit an additional ISA allowance. Find out more about the additional ISA allowance and how to use it.

* HMRC regulations state that the eligibility to hold an ISA ceases upon the death of the account holder.

What type of account?

The account will be changed into the surviving account holder's name.

Bonds (excluding e-Bonds)
Bond accounts can be left until they mature or closed immediately without incurring any early closure charges. We don't need you to return any passbooks or bond certificates.

e-Bonds
Any e-Bond accounts will be closed once we've received the closure documents. As e-Bonds are linked to a FlexAccount, these will need to closed along with the current account.

What type of account?

The account will be changed into the surviving account holder's name.

The deceased's card will be cancelled automatically and you don't need to return it to us.

Sole savings accounts will remain open until we receive the closure documents.

What type of mortgage account?

Once we've been notified about the death, we'll freeze the mortgage account for three months and will not take any regular payments during this period (please be aware that interest is still charged during this time).

If you'd prefer not to freeze the mortgage account for this period, please contact us and we'll cancel this arrangement.

At the end of the three months, we'll re-calculate the payment over the remaining term of the mortgage to take into account any increase in balance.

Once we've been notified about the death, we'll freeze the mortgage account for three months and will not take any regular payments during this period (please be aware that interest is still charged during this time).

If you'd prefer not to freeze the mortgage account for this period, please contact us and we'll cancel this arrangement.

At the end of the three months, we'll re-calculate the payment over the remaining term of the mortgage to take into account any increase in balance.

If the account has a zero balance
The account will be closed and no further action is required.

If the account has an outstanding balance
If the account has a balance left to pay, we'll look to repay it from any other accounts the deceased held with us.  If there are no other accounts or not enough funds held, the credit card balance will have to be repaid using assets in the estate.  

If the account has a positive balance
The account will remain open until we receive the closure documents.

If there was an additional card holder named on the account
All cards linked to the account will be deactivated and the account will be closed, following the steps described above. If you're named as an additional card holder on the account, you'll need to apply for a new credit card in your own name.

If the deceased was an additional account holder named on someone else’s Nationwide credit card
We'll remove the deceased's name from the account.

What type of personal loan?

The loan will be changed into the surviving account holder's name.

We'll send a settlement figure to the personal representative or a named solicitor once the death has been registered with us.

If the loan isn't covered by life insurance or payment insurance, or the cover isn't enough to pay the loan off in full, we’ll look to repay it from any other accounts the deceased held with us. If there are no other accounts or not enough funds held, the loan will have to be repaid using assets in the estate.  

What type of insurance?

What type of policy?

If you're the surviving joint policy holder, you can either:

  • cancel the policy and set it up in your own name, or
  • let the policy continue to its renewal date.

If you're the spouse or civil partner of the deceased customer, the policy can be updated in your name and the cover will continue. Otherwise, the policy will continue until its renewal date, after which the personal representative will need to arrange new cover.

What type of policy?

The policy will continue in the surviving policy holder’s name.

Once we've been notified about the death, the policy will be cancelled.

Contact us

In branch

Speak with a member of our team face-to-face by booking an appointment at your local branch.

By post

You can write to us at:

Bereavement Services 
Customer Service & Operations 
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire 
SN38 3FN

By phone

Call our bereavement team:


  • 0800 464 30 18

Lines are open: Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm, Sat 9am to 12pm

Unfortunately we’re unable to register new bereavement cases over the phone.

Useful websites

  • Cruse Bereavement Care – help with understanding and coping with grief following the death of someone close.
  • The Samaritans – a completely confidential service offering support for any type of emotional distress.
  • Child Bereavement UK – information, training and specialised support for when a child dies or a child is bereaved.
  • Age UK – free help and advice from the UK’s largest charity dedicated to helping people make the most of later life.

Checklist of what to do when someone dies