Overview

Letting us know when someone dies

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

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

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

You can also download our bereavement information leaflet (PDF).

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

We appreciate this will be a difficult time for you. However, it is important we know about the death of a Nationwide member as soon as possible.

Once you have the original death certificate please take this into a branch or send it to us at the address above.

If you’re the personal representativeFallback Text and you’re not a Nationwide member, you’ll need to provide us with a form of ID such as a valid full UK passport or valid full photocard driving licence.

We’ll write to the personal representative within 7-10 days with details of the account closure process.

A Personal Representative has responsibility to carry out the administration of the estate

We appreciate this will be a difficult time for you. However, it is important we know about the death of a Nationwide member as soon as possible. If you don’t yet have the death certificate and want to safeguard the account and stop marketing, you can notify us by any of the ways detailed below.

What we’ll need from you

  • Full name, date of birth, date of death and Nationwide account details of the person who has died to allow us to identify their accounts.
  • The name and address of the Personal RepresentativeFallback Text if you know them. This lets us know who we’re writing to and who's entitled to the information.

A Personal Representative has responsibility to carry out the administration of the estate

Ways to inform us

  • Complete our online form
  • Visit us in branch
  • Call us on 0800 464 3018 (lines are open Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm and Sat 9am to 12pm)
  • Write to us at:

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

What we'll do once we've received the notification

We’ll update the information of the person who has died to safeguard their sole accounts.

We’ll make sure we stop sending marketing material to them. There might be a short delay before it stops arriving, so if you receive any more in the meantime please accept our apologies.

We’ll also inform our employees and other companies we work with. It is important to note that should you visit or contact us within four days of submission that our records may not have been fully updated.

We will need to have seen the death certificate before you can request funds to help pay for a funeral or cremation.

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 late 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 details of the person who has died, to:

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

Once we've received the original funeral invoice, we'll issue a cheque payable directly to the funeral directors or cremation service.

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 
Specialist Customer Support 
Nationwide Building Society
Swindon
Wiltshire 
SN38 3FN

Once you've provided all the documents, fill in a Request to Close Accounts form and return it to us. You can download a form or get one in branch. How soon we can release the funds, and what we'll need from you, depends on the amount that's held with us.

To release funds for Inheritance Tax prior to closure, please provide us with the IHT423 form. Please note we don't participate in the IHT423 scheme for Inheritance Tax, therefore a cheque will be issued and sent to you directly.

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.

Personal Representative

As Personal Representative Fallback 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.

Personal Representative

Sometimes referred to as the executor or administrator

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

If you’ve been named as the Personal Representative, you’ll 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.

Specialist support

You don't have to make financial decisions alone. Our free Specialist Support Service can help you if your personal circumstances have changed.

Lawyers and accountants

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

Debt with Nationwide

If the person who has died has a debt they owe to us, such as a credit card, loan or an overdraft in their sole name, that debt will need to be repaid.

A Senior Liaison Officer will deal with the Personal Representative regarding the debt.

If you've got any questions about the debt with Nationwide call the bereavement helpdesk on 0800 464 3018.

What happens to the account?

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

What type of current account?

If you held a joint account with the person who has died, we'll change the account into your name. The account will then be your responsibility. 

The card and chequebook of the person who has died will be cancelled automatically. You don’t need to return them to us.

What happens with overdrawn accounts?

If you held a joint overdraft, then as above, we’ll change the account into your name. The account will then be your responsibility.

Sole current accounts will remain open until we receive the closure documents. Their card and chequebook will be cancelled automatically, so 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 sole accounts?
If the account is overdrawn, 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 the person who has died, you can inherit an additional ISA allowance.

For more information visit nationwide.co.uk/isa-inheritance

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

What type of account?

If you held a joint account with the person who has died, we'll change the account into your name. The account will then be your responsibility.


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?

If you held a joint account with the person who has died, we will change the account into your name. The account will then be your responsibility.

Their card will be cancelled automatically, so 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?

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.

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, this 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 person who has died was an additional account holder named on someone else’s Nationwide credit card

We’ll remove their name from the account.

What type of personal loan?

If you held a joint account with the person who has died, we’ll change the account into your name. The account will then be your responsibility.


We'll send a settlement figure to the Personal Representative or the solicitor or organisation dealing with the estate 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, the loan will have to be repaid using assets in the estate.

What type of insurance?

What type of policy?

If you held a joint policy with the person who has died, 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 person who has died, 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. It's important to update your insurer with any changes at the property, for example if it is now unoccupied.







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
Specialist Customer Support
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

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.

For more information on fraud you can visit our fraud awareness pages.

Checklist of what to do when someone dies