Step 3: Releasing money for expenses and closing accounts after bereavement

The last thing to do is release funds to cover any expenses, arrange the funeral and close the person’s accounts. We understand that money can be tight at this time, so we’ll walk you through your options here.

Just like the other steps, you can find short glossaries at the end of each section. These offer definitions of some of the more complex words you’ll come across.

Information: Living with bereavement can be a challenging time. Our team are happy to talk it all through on the phone if anything isn't clear. And there are lots of charities and support organisations on hand to help you every step of the way. You may also be entitled to receive financial help and benefits, which can be even more important at this time. Find out about the available emotional and financial support.


Releasing money to pay for expenses

We can release available money for urgent costs like:


  • the person's funeral
  • Grant of Representation fees
  • personal representative registration fees
  • Inheritance Tax.

We may also release funds for emergency payments such as final care home fees or outstanding utility bills. You’ll need to discuss this with our bereavement team.

How to arrange access to funds to help with expenses

Complete and return a:

Request for funds to cover fees form - PDF, 104KB

You’ll need to print off this form and post it to us at:

Bereavement Services
Specialist Customer Support
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN38 3FN

Paying for the funeral

We can release funds from the person’s sole accounts to cover funeral expenses.

Some funeral providers require payment in advance.

If you’re not sure what the final costs will be, give us the estimate and we’ll release funds to pay the deposit.

If you have the final invoice, we can release funds up to the full amount. If there isn’t enough money in the account to pay for all of the costs, we’ll release what is there.

How funeral expenses are paid

We'll send you a cheque made out to the funeral service provider.

If the bill has already been paid by the executor
We’ll need to see the funeral invoice and a bank statement or credit card bill with their name and address and showing the payment.

Grant of Representation or personal representative registration form fees

For help with these expenses, please complete and return the form. We'll send you a cheque made out to the court.

Inheritance Tax

The personal representative is responsible for paying any Inheritance Tax. They do this by using money from the person’s estate.

To pay any Inheritance Tax, download and print an IHT423 form (opens in a new window). This is available on the Government’s website. You should then post this to us at:

Bereavement Services
Specialist Customer Support
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN38 3FN

Once we receive the form, we’ll send an electronic payment to the Government using the person’s estate.

Executor
The person or persons named in a Will to deal with the estate. Also known as the personal representative.

Inheritance Tax
A tax on the estate that generally applies when someone dies and the value is above a specific threshold. It’s paid before the estate can be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Personal representative
The executor or administrator managing the deceased's estate. They’re responsible for administering the estate. This involves collecting all assets and settling all outstanding bills and debts from either the estate or insurance policies.

Depending on how much money and assets the person who died had, the personal representative may need to apply for a Grant of Probate. If this is the case, no accounts can be closed until this document is produced.


Support with arranging the funeral

There are lots of organisations available to help you arrange the funeral.

Citizens Advice
How funerals are arranged, what services you can expect to get from a funeral director and how to get help with paying for a funeral.
Citizens Advice (opens in a new window)

Humanists UK
Help with arranging non-religious funerals and ceremonies.
Humanists UK (opens in a new window)

National Association of Funeral Directors
Help with finding a registered funeral director in your area.
National Association of Funeral Directors (opens in a new window)

The Natural Death Centre
Support and guidance when planning a funeral.
The Natural Death Centre (opens in a new window)


Deal with any debts the person held with us

If there's any money owed to us by the person who died, such as a credit card balance, a loan or an overdraft, this will need settling.

Once we've spoken to the personal representative, we'll inform our probate partner, Phillips & Cohen Associates (UK), of the situation. They will contact the personal representative to talk through and agree how any debts can be settled.

Phillips & Cohen Associates

Once our probate partner has contacted the personal representative, our partner can be contacted directly to discuss the options further:

0333 555 10 50

Monday to Thursday, 8am to 8pm
Friday, 8am to 5:30pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm
Closed Sundays and bank holidays

Personal representative
The executor or administrator managing the deceased's estate. They’re responsible for administering the estate. This involves collecting all assets and settling all outstanding bills and debts from either the estate or insurance policies.

Depending on how much money and assets the person who died had, the personal representative may need to apply for a Grant of Probate. If this is the case, no accounts can be closed until this document is produced.

Probate
The legal process of dealing with someone’s estate after they’ve died. It involves collecting all their assets, money, property and belongings.

Any outstanding debts and taxes will also need settling. Once paid, what’s left is shared out as per the Will’s instructions.


Review any taxes, benefits or National Insurance contributions

When someone dies, their tax, benefits and National Insurance will need reviewing. There may be money to pay or a tax rebate owed. The personal representative is responsible for paying any Inheritance Tax using funds from the person’s estate.

Find out more about Inheritance Tax on GOV.UK (opens in new window) 

As ever, remember to come back here after you’ve read the Government’s guide so that you don’t miss anything.

We can issue tax statements for the member’s sole accounts up until the date of their death. But we can’t do this for joint accounts.

Estate
Everything the person owned and anything that’s registered in their name.

Personal representative
The executor or administrator managing the deceased's estate. They’re responsible for administering the estate. This involves collecting all assets and settling all outstanding bills and debts from either the estate or insurance policies.

Depending on how much money and assets the person who died had, the personal representative may need to apply for a Grant of Probate. If this is the case, no accounts can be closed until this document is produced.


Close the accounts

How you close an account depends on how much money is held in it. The amount will also affect when the money can be released.

You’ll need to print off these forms and post them to us at:

Bereavement Services
Specialist Customer Support
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN38 3FN

Grant of probate
A document that confirms the executors have authority to act and that validates the Will. Where there's a Will, this will be a 'Grant of Probate'.

In Scotland, this is known as 'Certificate of Confirmation'. Where there's no Will, it will be 'Letters of Administration'.


Our bereavement support leaflet

Thank you for completing all 3 steps in our guide.

We have a bereavement support leaflet that you can download and print out. It has a useful checklist to help you make sure you’ve done everything you need to.

Download our bereavement support leaflet – PDF, 364KB