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Can You Pay Money Into A Deceased Person's Bank Account?

By Larry Li

October 2, 2022


If someone close to you has passed away, you may be worried about the money left in their bank account. While dealing with a fallen loved one is already one of the most challenging situations possible, ensuring their finances are properly managed is essential.

So can you pay money into a deceased person’s bank account?

Yes, you can technically send money into a deceased person’s bank account if the account is still unfrozen. This is because banks freeze a person’s bank account once they are notified and provided proof of their death. Nonetheless, sending money into a deceased person’s bank account is not recommended. 

While there are many reasons why you would need to access a deceased person’s bank account, the opposite is true for why you would need to send money to the account. Therefore, sending money to a deceased person’s bank account is never a good idea, even if you have a good reason for it.

In today’s in-depth guide, you’ll learn:

  • What happens to the bank account of a person who dies

  • Who has access to a deceased person’s bank account

  • If you can send money to a deceased person

  • How to close a deceased person’s bank account

  • If you can take money out of a deceased person’s bank account

  • How to prepare for the future with Trustworthy

What Happens to the Bank Account of a Person Who Dies?

Different situations exist depending on what type of bank account your deceased loved one had. 

If your loved one was the sole owner of the account, they might have named a beneficiary before they passed away. The beneficiary is also known as a payable-on-death (POD) or transferable on-death account.

If the deceased account holder named a beneficiary, the bank releases the funds to the named person once notified of the account holder’s death. Afterward, the bank typically closes the bank account. 

However, the process is much more complicated if the account holder doesn’t name a beneficiary. In this case, the executor of the deceased’s estate is responsible for using the funds to pay off creditors and dividing the remaining money according to your loved one’s will. 

If the deceased person had a joint account, most joint bank accounts have automatic rights of survivorship. This means that if one account signer passes away, the remaining signer retains ownership of the money in the account. However, some banks may freeze joint accounts after one signer dies.

Therefore, it’s recommended to check with your bank to see if your account includes automatic rights of survivorship. 

Who Has Access to a Deceased Person's Bank Account?

The individuals who have access to the deceased person’s bank account depend on a few factors. 

  • If the dead person named a payable-on-death beneficiary, the beneficiary gains access to the bank account and funds. Therefore, naming a beneficiary is the best way to ensure the money is distributed according to the will.

  • Furthermore, any joint account holders will retain access to the deceased person’s bank account after their passing. 

  • If the deceased person didn’t name a beneficiary and didn’t have a will, the probate court will name an executor to handle the distribution of funds after the debts are paid. 

Although this varies according to state law, the funds typically go to the deceased person’s spouse or children. 

Can You Send Money to a Deceased Person?

Since banks freeze a deceased customer’s account when notified of the death, you typically can’t send money to a deceased person. However, banks don’t always immediately know about someone’s death, so it’s important to notify the bank as soon as possible. 

The bank will likely ask you to provide a copy of the death certificate and your personal identification. 

Furthermore, not many reasons exist that would cause you to send money into a deceased person’s bank account. As such, we don’t recommend sending money to a deceased person’s account, even if you can. 

How to Close a Deceased Person's Bank Account?

The deceased person's personal representative is typically the only person who can close the deceased person’s bank account. If your loved one had a will, the personal representative is the executor named in the will. If your loved one didn’t have a will, the personal representative is the administrator of the estate, who is generally also the main beneficiary. 

However, if the account was a joint account, it doesn’t have to be closed since ownership passes directly into the sole name of the other account holder. 

Nonetheless, closing a deceased person's bank account involves registering the death at a registry office. Then, you should notify any organizations that might be impacted by closing the account. For example, you should notify utility and insurance companies who receive payment from the deceased person’s bank account. 

The last step is to notify the bank in person or over form. The bank will likely ask for a few documents, including the death certificate, proof of your identity, a copy of the will, and proof of your relationship with the deceased. 

Can You Take Money Out of a Deceased Person's Bank Account?

It’s illegal to take money out of a deceased person’s bank account, even if you hold power of attorney for them and were able to access their accounts when they were alive. This is because the power of attorney ends when a person dies.

So unless you are actually named on the account as a joint owner, you can’t take money out of a deceased person’s bank account. However, you can take money out of a deceased person’s bank account if you are named as the payable-on-death beneficiary. If this is the case, you can access the funds in the account after you present a valid government ID. 

Preparing With Trustworthy

Making a few crucial preparations can prevent a world of stress during post-death financial management. In order to prepare for life’s toughest moments, you can use Trustworthy.

Trustworthy is an innovative digital storage platform designed to store important files like estate planning documents, wills, trusts, and bank account information.

Once you upload your sensitive documents onto Trustworthy, you can share access with Trustworthy’s secure collaboration tools. This way, you can ensure only the people you share access with can view your documents.

The ultimate goal of Trustworthy is to provide an all-in-one cloud storage solution for the busy modern family. Rather than having to search far and wide for specific files, you can easily locate them within Trustworthy’s easy-to-use dashboard. 

Offering bank-level security protocols and encryption features, you can rest assured knowing your documents are safe on Trustworthy. 

Trustworthy (Click here to try a 2-week free trial) offers a simple and convenient way of making sure all your estate planning documents are accessible and easy to find. 

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