Step 2: What happens to the person's accounts after bereavement

Now that you've sent us the death certificate, the second thing to do is to understand what will happen to the person's accounts after they've passed away.

As with step 1, you can find a short glossary at the end of this page. This has definitions of some of the more complex words you’ll come across when managing the person’s accounts.

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.

What happens to the accounts the person held

This section will let you know what happens after you’ve registered the death certificate with us. Some of these will happen after you’ve sent us the death certificate, while others may require an account closure form. We’ll cover closing accounts later in step 3.

Joint current accounts

If the person who has passed away held a joint account, we'll change the account to the other account holder’s name only when we receive the death certificate. The other account holder can then continue to use it.

Joint cards and chequebooks

We'll cancel any cards and chequebooks that belonged to the person who died when we receive the death certificate. You don't need to return them. Any cards and chequebooks owned by the other account holder won't be affected.

Joint Direct Debits and standing orders

To cancel any Direct Debits, such as electricity or gas payments, the other account holder should contact the relevant organisations.

To cancel any standing orders, the other account holder can either come into a branch or call us on 0800 30 20 11. Lines are open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. They'll need to give us the account and payee details. 

Sole current accounts

If the person who has passed away held a current account with us just in their name, it will stay open until we receive the documents to close it. More information on these documents can be found in step 3.

Payments into the account, such as from the Department for Work and Pensions, may be recalled.

Sole cards and chequebooks

We’ll cancel their card and chequebook when we receive the death certificate. You don't need to return them.

Sole Direct Debits and standing orders

Once we've received the death certificate, all Direct Debits and standing orders will be cancelled. The personal representative will need to cancel any Direct Debits directly with the organisations. They don’t need to do this for standing orders.

If there's a Direct Debit to pay for home insurance, please check with the insurance company that the house is still covered while the estate is being dealt with.

Overdrafts

If the account is overdrawn, the overdraft will need to be repaid from the estate. Our probate partner Phillips & Cohen Associates (UK) will contact the personal representative to help with this. The personal representative can also phone them directly on 0333 555 10 50. 

Lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday, 8am to 8pm
  • Friday, 8am to 5:30pm
  • Saturday, 9am to 1pm

Closed Sundays and bank holidays.

Cash ISAs

An ISA remains open until it’s closed or administration of the estate is complete, whichever is earlier. During this time, it maintains its tax-free status.

After 3 years, if the account hasn’t been closed, we will move the balance into a taxable savings account. It stays there until the personal representative asks for the money to be released.

Inheriting an ISA allowance

If you’re the spouse or civil partner of the person who has died, you may be able to inherit an additional ISA allowance.

Members who died on or before 5 April 2018

ISAs were closed from the date that the member's death was registered. Money is held in a non-ISA account until the personal representative asks for it. Any interest, dividends or gains from after the date of death may be taxable (depending on allowances).

Bonds

Joint accounts

If the person who has passed away held a joint account, we'll change the account to the other account holder’s name only when we receive the death certificate. It then becomes solely theirs.

Sole accounts

If the bond is only in the name of the person who died, it will remain open until we receive the documents to close it. More information on these documents can be found in step 3. There are no fees to pay, even if the account is closed early. We automatically cancel the bond certificates.

e-Bonds

Joint accounts

If the person who has passed away held a joint account, and had e-Bonds linked to that account, we'll change the account to the other account holder’s name only when we receive the death certificate. The account and the e-Bonds then become solely theirs.

Sole accounts

Because e-Bonds are linked to a Nationwide current account, they'll be closed along with that current account when we receive the death certificate. There won’t be any charges.

Other savings accounts

Joint accounts

If the person who has passed away held a joint account, we'll change the account to the other account holder’s name only when we receive the death certificate. It then becomes solely theirs.

Alternatively, the personal representative can close the account without having to pay any fees or lose any interest. We’ll automatically cancel any related cards.

Sole accounts

An account that's only in the name of the person who died remains open until we receive the documents to close it. More information on these documents can be found in step 3.

Once we’ve been told about the death, whether by notifying us or sending us the death certificate, we’ll freeze the mortgage account. If it’s a joint account, we’ll freeze it for 3 months. If it’s a sole account, we’ll freeze it for 12 months.

Freezing the mortgage means we will not take any regular payments for that time. Interest will still be charged.

After the freeze period, we’ll recalculate the payments over the remaining term of the mortgage to take into account any increase in balance. If the personal representative would prefer not to have the mortgage frozen, or has any questions about it, they should contact the bereavement helpdesk:

By phone
0800 464 30 18

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Saturday, 9am to 12pm.
Closed Sundays and bank holidays.

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

If no money is owed on the card, we’ll close the account automatically when we receive the death certificate.

Any outstanding money owed on the card will need repaying from the estate.

Our probate partner Phillips & Cohen Associates (UK) will contact the personal representative to help with this. The personal representative can also phone them directly on 0800 555 10 50. 

Lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday, 8am to 8pm
  • Friday, 8am to 5:30pm
  • Saturday, 9am to 1pm

Closed Sundays and bank holidays.

If the account has a credit balance

The account will stay open until we receive the documents to close it. More information on these documents can be found in step 3.

If the person who died was the primary card account holder

The primary card account holder is the person who took out the card account with us and was responsible for paying the bills.

The account will be closed when we receive the death certificate, and any additional cards linked to it will be cancelled. Any additional card holder will need to apply for a new credit card if they’re eligible.

If the person who died was an additional card holder on someone else’s Nationwide credit card

Additional card holders have no responsibility for paying the bills. We'll remove their name from the account once we receive the death certificate, and the primary card holder can continue to use the card.

Joint loans

If the person who has passed away held a joint loan, we'll change the loan to the other loan holder’s name only when we receive the death certificate. It then becomes solely theirs.

Sole loan accounts

If the loan is only in the name of the person who has died, we’ll let the personal representative know how much needs to be repaid. The amount owed could be covered by life or payment insurance. But if there's no policy in place or it cannot cover the total amount owed, it will need repaying from the estate.

Our probate partner Phillips & Cohen Associates (UK) will contact the personal representative to help with this. The personal representative can also phone them directly on 0800 555 10 50. 

Lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday, 8am to 8pm
  • Friday, 8am to 5:30pm
  • Saturday, 9am to 1pm

Closed Sundays and bank holidays.

Joint policies

If the person who has passed away held a joint policy, we'll notify our insurer when we receive the death certificate. They will change the policy to the other account holder’s name only and send them confirmation of this.

If the policy is in the name of the person who died

If the person who has died was the other policy holder’s spouse or civil partner, we’ll let our insurer know what’s happened. They can update the policy so it’s in the other policy holder’s name, and the cover will continue until the probate is finished. To do this, the insurance company will contact the personal representative to get some further details. The personal representative can also phone them directly on 0800 145 60 60. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Once probate is complete, the beneficiary will need to arrange a new policy.

If there are any changes at the property (for example, if it’s no longer lived in), the personal representative will need to let the insurer know.

Finally, if the policy was paid by Direct Debit, the personal representative should check that the house is still covered while the estate is being dealt with.

The person who has died may have had a life insurance policy with Nationwide. If so, please contact our life insurance provider, Legal & General, to discuss this.

You can phone Legal & General on 0345 674 0783. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Lines are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

The person who has died may have had an investment plan with Nationwide. If so, please contact our investments provider, Aegon, to discuss this.

You can phone Aegon UK on 0345 272 0089. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. Lines are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.

If there's a trust deed

If there's a trust deed for the account, it should explain what happens when a trustee dies.

If there's no trust deed

If there's no trust deed for the account, the personal representative of the deceased trustee can choose to:


  • add a new trustee
  • leave it with any remaining trustee(s) to manage the account
  • transfer the account to the beneficiary
  • close the account.

If you’re the personal representative and not sure what to do, please get legal advice.

Administrator

The person appointed when there is no will. Also known as the personal representative.

Beneficiary

Someone entitled to receive a specific gift, sum of money or share of the estate.

Death certificate

Usually, a legal document obtained from a registrar, confirming the date, location and cause of death. 

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.


Move on to step 3

We've now covered what will happen to each of the accounts the person held as well as some services you can use for more information and advice.

Please move on to step 3 to find out about:


  • how to release money for expenses like the funeral and any debts they may have held
  • any taxes or benefits that may be relevant at this time
  • how to close their accounts.

Releasing money for expenses and closing accounts