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Dealing with bereavement

What happens when we are notified of the death of a Customer?

The person dealing with the estate is known as the personal representative. If there’s a will, this is anyone named as an executor. If there’s no will, this is the immediate next of kin under the rules of intestacy.

  • The Personal Representative will only need to inform us once of the death.
  • If the deceased person held any other products with HSBC including first direct, we’ll ensure the necessary teams across HSBC and first direct are notified.

Note: If any person held a Third Party Mandate, Power of Attorney, Court of Protection order or Deputy Account for the deceased customer, all rights are cancelled immediately.

Table of content

Current, and savings accounts

Sole accounts

All accounts in the sole name of the deceased will be updated immediately. All standing orders and direct debits will be cancelled and if we receive any cheques for settlement or debit card transactions not claimed prior to notification these will be returned unpaid. However, we’ll continue to accept credit payments which may be due to the deceased.

Any debit card in the name of the deceased together with any Telephone Banking, on-line banking or payment arrangements will be cancelled automatically.

Interest, fees and charges may be applied after you have let us know that the account holder has died. If this happens, we’ll refund them from the date of death when we close the account.

If a Fixed Rate Savings account matures before all the accounts are closed, we’ll pay the money into an account in the deceased’s name together with any interest due.

If requested by the personal representative, any money held on a non interest bearing account can be transferred in to an existing savings account (except an Individual Savings Account). If the deceased didn’t have any existing savings account we can open a new simple interest bearing account in the deceased’s name.

Joint accounts

Once we’ve received the death certificate any current or savings accounts held in joint names will be transferred into the name of the surviving party.

Any debit card in the name of the deceased together with any Telephone Banking, on-line banking or payment arrangements will be cancelled automatically.

The account details will remain the same and the accounts will operate normally. The existing cheque books and paying in books can continue to be used, and where appropriate we’ll arrange for new books to be sent out.

If requested, we can send out details of any standing orders or Direct Debits for review. If any changes are needed these can be made by the surviving account holders, either by calling 0345 740 4404 or at any HSBC branch.

If any of the accounts are in debt, the debt becomes the responsibility of the surviving party. Any loan payments must continue to be made unless protection insurance is held.

Regular payments

Sole Current Accounts - All direct debits and standing orders will be cancelled.

Joint Current Accounts - Payments won’t be changed unless the surviving party asks us to. We’ll send the full list of direct debits and standing orders to the personal representative as they’ll need to contact each provider to notify them of the death so that payment arrangements can be amended accordingly.

Fixed Rate Savings Accounts

The account will continue until maturity and any interest due on maturity will be subject to UK standard rate tax. If the account matures before we receive closure instructions, we’ll transfer the balance plus interest to an account in the deceased’s sole name. If the personal representative makes a written request, we can close all other accounts but leave the Fixed Rate Savings Account until it reaches its maturity date.

Trustee or beneficiary account

If the deceased customer held an account solely in their name for the benefit of a third party eg a child or organisation this won’t form part of the deceased’s estate. However, it’s the responsibility of the personal representative to deal with the closure of the account and pass the funds to the beneficiary.

Credit interest

Where applicable, credit interest will continue to be paid gross. Where the account attracts a special or bonus rate of interest, we won’t charge any penalties and any bonus rate of interest will be applied if the account is closed early.

Unsecured Loans and Credit Cards

Loan Accounts

Any unsecured loan account held by the deceased will be suspended but the balance will remain outstanding and due to the bank from the estate. No further regular repayments will be taken. If loan protection is held with us, HSBC Life will contact you separately about this product.  If loan protection insurance is held outside HSBC, the personal representative of the estate will need to make contact with the relevant insurer as soon as possible to discuss whether an insurance claim can be made to repay the outstanding balance.

HSBC Credit Card Accounts including any secondary cards held

All HSBC credit cards will be cancelled as soon as we’re notified of the death. If a secondary card was held by a third party, this card will also be cancelled as the agreement ceases upon death of the primary cardholder.

The personal representative of the estate will need to cancel any regular payments or subscriptions on the credit card by contacting the relevant organisation or provider directly.

No further debit interest or charges will be applied but the balance will remain outstanding and due to the bank from the estate. If any credit card repayment protection insurance was taken out, the personal representative of the estate will need to make contact with the relevant insurer as soon as possible to discuss whether an insurance claim can be made to repay the outstanding balance.

Individual Savings Accounts (ISA)

For deaths on or before 5 April 2018, the tax benefits of an ISA will end from the date of death.   For deaths on or after 6 April 2018, the tax benefits of an ISA will continue. The ISA will be designated a ‘continuing account of a deceased investor’ and will remain a continuing account of a deceased investor until the earliest of the following:

  • the completion of the administration of the estate
  • the closure of the account
  •  the 3rd anniversary of the death of the account investor

Additional permitted subscription (APS)

Where the ISA holder died on or after 3 December 2014, the surviving spouse or civil partner can claim an additional allowance equal to the value of the deceased’s ISAs. This is known as an additional permitted subscription (APS) and became effective on 6 April 2015.

The deceased’s ISA is not transferred directly to their spouse or civil partner’s ISA. The allowance is available to the surviving spouse or civil partner as a one-off additional ISA subscription. This doesn’t affect the spouse or civil partner’s own annual ISA allowance and must be used within the permitted period.  

The surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to the APS even if the ISA assets are left to someone else in the will or are used to meet expenses from the estate. No one else is entitled to the APS, even if they’ve received the assets from the deceased’s ISAs. An APS allowance may be used with HSBC or transferred to another ISA provider but this can only be done once.

Payments

As long as there are enough credit funds available and we have the authority of the personal representative, we may be able to pay for some costs from the deceased's sole accounts. These are outlined below. Unfortunately, monies held with HSBC in Jersey are subject to strict government legislation and we are unable to make any payments without a Jersey Grant of Probate.

Funeral costs

We’ll be able to pay the following on request from the personal representative and once we’ve seen the death certificate:

  • full or part payment of the main funeral bill and associated costs
  • flowers for the funeral
  • the wake
  • repatriation of the deceased to the UK (if insurance is not held)

All payments will be made by bank transfer and we’ll need to see the death certificate and the original invoice together with the provider’s bank details. Exceptionally we’ll refund payments already made for the cost of the funeral (only) as long as we receive proof of payment.

Please note: if the bill is an estimate, we’ll be able to pay the deposit

Inheritance Tax

In some circumstances Inheritance Tax payments are required before the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration can be issued. If cash is available within any bank account or investment product, we can, if requested by the personal representative, make a payment on behalf of the estate direct to HM Revenue & Customs. We’ll need a signed and completed Form IHT423 for each account. To find out more, please contact the Bereavement Support Team.

Payment of other bills

Exceptionally and if funds allow, we may agree to pay an insurance premium to protect an estate asset such as a house.

We’re not able to make any other payments, for example:

  • travel and accommodation for funeral guests
  • memorial plaques or headstones
  • utility bills
  • care home fees
  • Income Tax

Please note: we can’t give tax advice on any products currently being held. If you’re not sure about your situation, you should seek professional advice.

Investments

Once we’ve received a death certificate, we’ll provide the personal representatives with a breakdown of the HSBC investments held together with a valuation as at the date of death. We’ll also provide them with our requirements to close the accounts and the relevant closure authorities for completion and return.

To help the personal representatives to make an informed decision about the investments held by the deceased, there’s product specific literature available. It’s important that this information is read before making a decision.

Investments can either be sold or it may be possible to transfer them to someone else. However, there are exceptions where the investments cannot be transferred. These will be indicated in the Form of Authority. If any US stock is held we may need additional information to comply with US regulatory requirements.

Any HSBC investment products(s) held in joint names will be transferred to the surviving party. However, in order to comply with our regulatory responsibilities, we may need up to date additional information before we can complete the transfer. Our Investment Team will contact the surviving party with details of our requirements and we may also request identification and address verification details to update our customer records.

If we receive any dividends after the investments have been sold or transferred we’ll forward these on to the personal representative in accordance with their closure instructions.

Fixed Term Investment Products

If the investment is a fixed term structured product, it can be sold or remain open until the end of the fixed term or the end of the Capital Protected Period. Any applicable gains will only be paid in full if the product is held until the end of its fixed investment term. If the product is sold before the end of the fixed term or the Capital Protected Period, we’ll sell at the market price available at the time of the sale. This could mean the value is less than the amount originally invested. If the investment matures before we receive closure instructions the funds will be held as cash. HSBC structured products cannot be transferred outside of HSBC.

Premier Investment Management Service (PIMS) or Premier Discretionary Management Service (PDMS)

Sole names - On receipt of the death certificate active management of the investment portfolio will cease and no further management charges will be applied. The assets held within the portfolio will be frozen and their value may go up or down in line with market fluctuations. We won’t make any changes to the assets held but we’ll continue to collect any dividend and interest payments until we receive Grant of Probate and closure instructions.

Joint names - On receipt of the death certificate the taxable component of the portfolio will normally pass automatically to the surviving party. If the portfolio includes an ISA in the name of the deceased, this will be removed and will be subject to the same conditions as those for the Sole name product above. The remaining PIMS portfolio will be held in the surviving party name and will continue to be actively managed in line with the same investment model unless we’re instructed otherwise. However, if this is not possible due to the value of the remaining portfolio, we’ll discuss this with the surviving party.

Self-invested Personal Pension: Flexible Retirement Account

Once we’ve received a death certificate, we’ll stop collecting contributions, and paying out benefits.  Our Retirement Services Team may also ask for up-to-date information from the late pension member’s personal representative to enable a recommendation to the trustees. 

HSBC Trust Company Limited (the trustees) will consider all additional information provided, together with the pension member’s wishes and will make their decision on a discretionary basis, having taken all relevant facts and evidence into consideration in respect of settlement of death benefits.

When the trustees have decided how to distribute death benefits they will contact each beneficiary separately with details of the options available to them.  Identification of the beneficiaries is required and certain documentation will be requested to do this.  If a Death Benefit Lump Sum is chosen by the beneficiary, the personal representative will be required to provide bank account details and the name on the account.  Details of the option chosen and settlement will be confirmed by letter direct to the beneficiary.

Mortgages

Once we’ve been notified of the death we’ll update the mortgage details. The account won’t be frozen and interest on the outstanding balance will continue to accrue.

Where a Life policy has been deposited with the bank with the intention to repay the borrowing on the death of a borrower and the policy remains in force, we’ll automatically arrange for a claim to be made on behalf of the estate. Once the claim has been settled, we’ll arrange for the monies to be paid direct to the mortgage account and advise the personal representative of what happens next.

Mortgage in Sole Name of Deceased

If insufficient, or no life cover is held to repay the borrowing, the personal representative(s) will need to arrange for the mortgage to be repaid from the remaining estate assets or the eventual sale of the property.

Mortgage in Joint Names

If insufficient, or no life cover is held to repay the borrowing, we may be able to change the loan into the name(s) of the surviving borrower(s), once we have the relevant information and the request has been discussed with a qualified Mortgage Advisor.

In all cases, a member of our Mortgage team will contact the personal representative or the joint borrower approximately 6 weeks after we’ve been notified of the death. They’ll provide further information and guidance on the next steps and the options available. If further information or guidance is required before this, please contact a member of the Bereavement Support Team on 0345 850 0088, who will arrange for our Mortgage team to call at a time which is mutually convenient. The team is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 2pm (excluding bank holidays).

HSBC Life

Life Insurance and Investment Bonds

If the deceased held any Life Insurance products or Investment bonds, they may be payable to a third party (where they are written in trust) or to the deceased’s estate. Once we are notified of a customer’s death, a dedicated Claims Advisor will deal with the claim and contact the appropriate person to discuss the next steps and confirm our requirements. They may also request further information to help them assess the claim. If the claim is accepted they will arrange for settlement to be made immediately. However, if the claim is payable to the deceased’s estate and we require Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration this may take longer.

HSBC Services

Items held as Security

We’ll provide details of any items we hold in security for a loan or mortgage. Any charge over these items won’t be released until all borrowing has been repaid. If they need to be sent to a solicitor for inspection, we’ll require a form of undertaking. If you need any further information, please contact the Bereavement Support Team.

Items held in Safe Keeping

If the deceased held any items in safe keeping we’ll provide details. If we hold a will for the deceased, we’ll only release this on request to the Executor named in the will. We can arrange for the personal representative(s) to view these items at an HSBC office. We may be able to release certain items to a solicitor for inspection on undertaking. If you would like to do this please contact the Bereavement Support Team on 0345 850 0088. The team is available Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 2pm (excluding bank holidays).

Once we’ve closed the deceased account(s) and hold the appropriate authority we’ll release the items to the personal representative.

HSBC accounts in debt

The personal representative is not personally liable for the debt. However, they are legally responsible for ensuring that all outstanding debts are settled from the estate before making any payments to beneficiaries.

If the deceased held money in any of their accounts (Sterling or Currency) we may set it off against any amount they owe to us so that it reduces or repays the amount they owed us. For accounts held in a different currency we may convert this amount to sterling using the HSBC Exchange Rate at the time we use our right to set-off.

We’ll do this if we think it is reasonable to do so, taking into account any other testamentary or legal claims which may arise.

Please note: Amounts owed to us and due for payment include, for example, amounts owed under a loan, credit card, mortgage or overdraft ‘we’ and ‘us’, for these purposes, includes first direct and any HSBC Group Company worldwide.

If the borrowing is secured, the debt must be repaid from the estate before any security can be released. Debit interest will continue to be applied. If the borrowing is not repaid the bank can if necessary enforce its security and sell the asset(s) to repay the borrowing. 

Please note: Estate Account forms will be enclosed with this letter in cases where the balance of all accounts with HSBC (excluding mortgages and investment products) is in an overall debit position. Please complete and return the forms in the enclosed prepaid envelope. We’ll review the information and will contact the personal representatives to discuss the next steps.

If you need any help or guidance in completing the forms, dealing with the debts held with HSBC or you do not think that the estate will be able to repay the borrowing in full, the personal representative should contact the Bereavement Account Support Team as soon as possible

Business Accounts

If the deceased held any business account, we’ll update our records and if appropriate we’ll notify their relationship Manager. If the business was:

Sole trader - All accounts in the sole name of the deceased will be updated immediately. Any standing orders and Direct Debits will be cancelled. If we receive any cheques for settlement or debit card transactions not claimed prior to notification, these will be returned unpaid.

We’ll continue to accept credit payments which may be due to the deceased.

Any debit card in the name of the deceased together with any telephone banking, online banking or payment arrangements will be cancelled automatically. Interest, fees and charges may be applied after you have let us know that the account holder has died. If this happens, we’ll refund them from the date of death when we close the account.

Limited Companies

Sole Director who was Sole Signatory and Sole Shareholder - No other person is authorised by the company to instruct the Bank with a new mandate. Shareholding interest passes to the estate and it’s for the beneficiary of shareholding to appoint a new director to provide a mandate.

Sole Director who was Sole Shareholder but not the Sole Signatory – As above a new director would need to be appointed after grant of probate. However, if there are sufficient remaining signatories to give instructions in accordance with mandate, the account may continue for a short period for normal company purposes pending appointment of new director and new mandate.

Sole Director who was the Sole Signatory but not the Sole Shareholder - If the deceased was the sole director and sole signatory, but there‘s at least one shareholder remaining, then there’ll be no one authorised to instruct the Bank under the mandate. This means that no payments can be made from the account other than any standing orders and direct debits that have previously been authorised before the death of the sole director and sole signatory. The shareholders should seek advice on appointing a new Director.

Partnerships - When a partner dies the partnership is automatically dissolved, unless a partnership deed has been executed which allows the partnership to continue in the event of the death of one of the partners. If there is a Partnership Deed this will need to be provided to us as soon as possible. If not, the only payments permitted from account will be existing debts of the partnership for the purpose of winding down the partnership.

Where the business needs to continue to operate, please contact us immediately and we can arrange an appointment for someone to seek the advice of one of our business managers and to discuss the future banking options for the business

A Limited Liability Partnership - is a separate legal entity. The death of a member won’t, therefore, normally affect the Limited Liability Partnership's ability to continue trading.

Account Closure

We’ll advise the personal representative of our requirements to close the accounts and we’ll send the relevant forms of authority for completion and return. We’re also required to undertake Customer Due Diligence checks to comply with UK Money Laundering requirements and we’ll also need to see Identification and Address Verification documents for each personal representative. Once we receive all the required documents we’ll close the accounts and investments and release the funds usually within 10 working days.

UK Residents - Where the value of the deceased assets held in their sole name is greater than £5,000 Probate may be required. At HSBC every case will be reviewed by one of our bereavement specialists and decisions will not be made solely on the value of the estate. If we’re notified of the death by a personal representative, either during a visit to one of our branches or by calling the Bereavement Support Team direct, we’ll be able to advise our requirements immediately and whether we need to see Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration (Letters of Confirmation in Scotland).

Overseas Residents – Due to the differing probate and inheritance laws which may apply, where funds within all HSBC accounts exceed £10,000, we may require Grant of Probate issued by the Probate Registry of England and Wales. For amounts less than this we’ll require sight of any original documents issued by the appropriate Court in the country where the deceased was domiciled.

Accounts held with HSBC in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man

These are Crown dependent states that have their own Inheritance and Probate regulations and we’ll usually require Probate documents issued by the respective Probate Court.

For accounts held with HSBC in Guernsey and Isle of Man, we’re able to apply the same closure requirements as those for UK and Overseas customers. However for accounts held with HSBC in Jersey more stringent probate restrictions are applied by the Jersey Probate Court. If our customer was a Jersey resident, we can only release money once Jersey probate has been issued. If the customer lived outside of Jersey, Jersey probate will be required for all amounts over £10,000.

Where the deceased customer also has accounts or investments held in the UK, we may also require Probate documents issued by the Probate court of England and Wales.

How to Contact Us

By Telephone

If you have any general questions or need any further assistance when completing the forms, please call a member of the Bereavement Support Team on 0345 850 0088 or +44 (0)114 252 0249 if calling from outside the UK. Textphone 1800 108457 125563. Lines are open 8.30 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday and 9.00 am to 2.00 pm Saturdays (excluding Bank Holidays)

Bereavement Account Support Team
If you need any help or guidance dealing with the debts held with HSBC please contact the Bereavement Account Support Team on 0345 601 9097 or +44 (0)114 252 0249 if calling from outside the UK. Textphone 1800 108457 125563. Lines are open 8.30 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).

Visit us in person

Go to your local HSBC branch and our helpful staff will get in touch with the Bereavement Support team for you.

Write to us

You are welcome to write to us at the address below. If you have one, please quote our reference number when writing.

Post items to:

HSBC Bereavement Services,

51 Saffron Road, Wigston,

LE18 4AG

Letting us know

Call us

0800 085 1992

or +44 (0)114 252 0249 if you're calling from outside the UK

Lines are open 8:30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays 9am to 2pm (excluding public holidays).

General enquiries

Notify us online

You can inform us of a bereavement online.

Visit us in branch

Write to us

You can send documents to:

HSBC Bereavement Services

51 Saffron Road

Wigston

LE18 4AG

It’s easy to get in touch online. Talk to us directly through our chat channels.