We understand losing a family member or friend is heart breaking. This can be a stressful and difficult time for you.
We appreciate you’re dealing with a lot right now, so we're here to help you manage the banking side of things.
The following information aims to make the process of dealing with this challenging time as simple as possible.
What do I need
The best place for you to start is to visit your local branch. They will be able to provide you with the information you need to get the process started.
The documents listed below will assist the branch to help settle the Estate.
Documents we may require
- Death Certificate - original or certified copy1
- Will - original or certified copy
- Deceased customer advice form
- Estate Declaration form - if Grant of Probate or Letters of Admin is not being obtained
- Grant of Probate - may be required depending on the assets of the Estate. We'll let the Executor know if this is needed once the Estate has been reviewed
- Letters of Administration - may be required if there is no valid Will. We will let the Next of Kin know if this is needed once the Estate has been reviewed.
The individual circumstances of each Estate are assessed by us, but in most cases if the monetary value of the Estate with the Bendigo Bank is more than $50,000 and there is a Will, Probate will be required. If no Will and over $50,000 Letters of Administration will be required.
If there is no Will, the next of kin will need to act on behalf of the Estate or an Administrator may need to be appointed by the Supreme Court in the State or Territory where the assets are held. Please contact your local Bendigo Bank branch with the Death Certificate, and explain to them that a Will has not been located.
Information that may be helpful
- Bank account numbers of the deceased
- Contact details of the person representing or acting on behalf of the Estate
- Address details of any property we may hold as security
It is important we ensure all persons administrating any Estate are correctly identified.
If you are the deceased’s personal representative and are not a Bendigo Bank customer, we are legally required to correctly identify you.
Please provide one of the following:
- Australian Driver's Licence (open, current, provisional, or learners)
- Current Australian or Foreign Passport (or expired Australian Passport within the preceding 2 years)
We can help with the costs of the deceased’s funeral.
- We can pay funeral expenses (excluding related expenses such as wake, headstone or the memorial) directly from the deceased’s account once we receive the funeral director’s original tax invoice.
- If the funeral expenses have already been paid, we will need proof of payment (e.g. copy of bank statement) along with the original funeral director’s tax invoice and receipt before reimbursement can be made.
- If there are insufficient funds to cover the invoice, we may close the account and pay the balance of the account to the funeral director as a part payment.
Review of the Estate
Once we receive the originally certified copies of the Death Certificate and Will, our Deceased Estates team will:
- check all Bendigo Bank accounts held with us by the deceased
- carefully review the Estate
- work out if any other documents are needed before we can release funds for the settlement of bank accounts.
We’ll then send a letter or email to the Personal Representatives or their solicitor outlining the accounts the deceased held with us. If the review reveals that some more documents are needed, we will specify so in the letter or email.
Settlement of the Estate
Once our requirements have been met, the funds held can be released to the Estate’s Personal Representatives on completion of a Bendigo Bank Authorisation to Close Account form. This form is available from any Bendigo Bank branch, or can be downloaded from the Forms and Documents section below.
We generally can only release funds by bank cheque payable in the name of the Estate, or by depositing funds directly into a Bendigo Bank ‘Estate of’ account.
An ‘Estate of’ account is an account opened by the personal representative in order to collect and deposit the funds from the Estate, disburse required payments and issue any remaining funds to the beneficiaries. Such an account
is generally used to manage the financial affairs of the deceased Estate after the date of death.
As the circumstances of each matter varies considerably, so too will the amount of time taken to settle each Deceased Estate, depending on the complexity and number of accounts held and whether a Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration is required. However, the earlier we receive all appropriate documentation as per our requirements, the quicker we will be able to process the request.
The Personal Representative of the Estate is entitled to receive financial information about the accounts of the deceased. As such, the Personal Representative will receive statements of accounts held until the accounts are finalised and closed.
Distribution of the Estate
We will generally only release funds by bank cheque payable in the name of the Estate. Alternatively, the Executor may choose to open an “Estate of” account with the Bendigo Bank and have the funds transferred directly into the account.
We are not able to assist in the administration or distribution of an Estate and there may be tax or other implications in doing so. That’s why we generally are only able to release funds to ‘Estate of’ accounts in the name of the deceased
via transfer (to Bendigo Bank accounts only) or by issuing a bank cheque made payable to the Estate.
We will only transfer funds to a solicitors trust account if it is held with Bendigo Bank, or a bank cheque may be issued made payable to the solicitors trust account.
We've included below some further information you may find helpful.
These sections may not be relevant to everyone, but depending on the deceased's banking arrangements, you may find some useful guidance.
Loans in deceased's name only
- Once the estate has been assessed and debit balances have been offset against any credit balances, any surplus funds will be released as per any authorised instructions we have received from the Personal Representative.
- It is important to ensure loan repayments continue to occur. If you are experiencing hardship making repayments or if you have any questions in relation to any outstanding loan accounts, please contact our dedicated team:
A mortgage, either held in the deceased sole name or jointly with another person, will not cease upon death. The Personal Representative will need to contact a Bendigo Bank branch to discuss available options.
Once we have the required documentation we can release funds prior to the maturity date of a term deposit held in the deceased’s name with:
- No requirement to provide 31 days’ notice for the early release of funds.
- No penalties applied for the early release of funds.
- Interest accrued up until the date of closure will be paid in full.
- However, this doesn’t apply if the term deposit is held as security for a loan, or for term deposits held jointly with the deceased.
The deceased person’s card and any additional credit cards issued should be destroyed by cutting it in half diagonally across the chip if there is one.
Cancelling or changing direct debits (automatic payments)
If you are the personal representative of the deceased and a deposit (transaction) account or credit card account is still open we can provide you with a list of direct debits and recurring payments.
Please contact us and request a copy. You can ask us to cancel a direct debit request or investigate an unauthorised direct debit and we will promptly process this.
If the deposit or credit card account is in the sole name of the deceased, a restriction will be placed on the account preventing further direct debits or recurring payments.
We will let the Personal Representative know if we are holding any securities, locked boxes or sealed packets in safe custody on behalf of the deceased, and will advise the Personal Representative or their solicitor of the requirements to enable access to the locked boxes or sealed packets.
- If you are a joint account holder with a deceased customer and the account is not for business purposes, you may continue to operate the account subject to the terms and conditions of the account.
- If the deceased holds a deposit jointly with another customer, the funds in the account generally will not form part of the deceased’s estate.
- The deceased’s name will be removed from the account once a Death Certificate and other required documentation is received.
Please note that this does not apply to loan accounts.
Loans in joint names with the deceased
- Joint accounts can continue to be operated without change. It is expected that the account would be operated within its original terms. Change of ownership of land is usually arranged through you solicitor, and if the land is used as loan security, you will need to contact your nearest Bendigo Bank branch.
- If you are experiencing financial difficulties maintaining the scheduled loan repayments, our dedicated and caring teams can be contacted to discuss the available options:
Signatories or additional cardholders
- You won’t be responsible for loans held solely by the deceased unless you are a guarantor.
- If you hold the loan jointly with the deceased, you will continue to be responsible for the debt.
- If you’re an additional cardholder or signatory your access to the account will be removed from any accounts held solely in the deceased name, including credit card accounts. If you require access to a credit card facility you will need to apply for a new credit card in your own name.
- If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local branch to discuss your options.
This varies from case to case. If the deceased held a trust account and you are the beneficiary, we recommend that you seek independent financial and/or legal advice. You will need to visit a Bendigo Bank branch to make any changes to the trust account.
- Business accounts can be quite complex and different guidelines apply depending on how the accounts were established.
- Please contact your nearest Bendigo Bank branch for further information. It may also be worthwhile to seek independent legal advice.
If the deceased was the sole director or sole shareholder of the company, a stop will be placed on the account until a new director is appointed. The Executor should seek independent legal and financial advice on what action to take. On production of the relevant documentation to a Bendigo Bank branch the new director will be loaded on the company accounts.
Forms and documents
- Deceased Estate Notification, Indemnity & Authority to Close - Bendigo & Adelaide Bank
- Estate Declaration - Sandhurst Trustees
- Authorisation to close account - Sandhurst Trustees
- Application to claim Unclaimed Money - Bendigo Bank
- List of persons authorised to certify documents
- Deceased Estates helpful links information
- Glossary of Terms
Things you should know
1 An originally certified copy is an original document that has been certified by a person, based on state requirements, such as a Justice of the Peace or Solicitor. Please check the full list of acceptable persons authorised to certify documents in your state.