When a person passes away there are many details to consider and that need to be handled. Things like the funeral and taking care of financial transactions that require immediate attention take precedent. One important thing to consider is removing the deceased person’s name from any joint bank accounts. This will need to be done by the person who shares the account with the deceased person and will require closing the account and opening a new one.
Obtain the Death Certificate
Get a copy of the deceased person’s death certificate. If this is not done immediately through the funeral home, you will need to go to the office of vital records in the locality where the death occurred. In order to find the correct location, you can look up each state at vitalrec.com. To get a copy of a death certificate, you'll need to write a letter or visit in person and you will have to provide information such as the deceased person's name, date of birth and death, cause of death, relationship to the person and reason for seeking the death certificate.
Head to the Bank
Take the death certificate to the bank that has the account. If there has been a point of reference who has been dealing with the deceased person’s estate, he or she would be a good person to contact. It might also be possible to make an appointment to ensure that you have time to have all of your questions answered while you are there. Keep in mind that while the deceased person’s death certificate is the most important piece of documentation that you need, you'll also want to bring your own identification, which you will need to make the change to the bank account.
Close the Old Account
In the case of a joint account, the surviving person is considered the owner of the account. However, it is important to have the name of the deceased person removed so that if anything should happen that requires an intervention by the FDIC, the information on the account will be up to date. The bank teller will then ask you to close the account in order to have the name removed. You will have to sign a document as proof you made this request. If the account is a joint account, you should then be allowed to immediately open another account that has only your name on it.