Bank Accounts and Bills

Joint accounts

If you had a joint bank or building society account with the person who has died, from the time of the death, you automatically own the money in the account.

The account is not frozen after the death and you do not need a grant of probate or any authority from the personal representatives to access it.

You should, however, tell the bank about the death of the other account holder.

This money also does need to be included in the inheritance tax forms which are required to be lodged before probate is granted.

Paying bills

Paying bills

Bank accounts and other assets in the sole name of the person who has died are usually frozen from the death until the personal representatives obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration.

If the person who has died paid household bills, then the other members of the household may be worried about how to manage between the death and the grant.

There are various ways of dealing with this problem, for example:

If a member of the household had a joint account with the person who has died, that account can be used to pay bills.

It may be possible to borrow from a family member or the bank.

If the person who has died had life insurance or was a member of a pension scheme, a lump-sum may be payable soon after the death.

It is a good idea to contact a solicitor or the CAB for advice on the different options.

Our dedicated Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team


Partner, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

Jane Burbidge

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Partner, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

Victoria Motley

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Senior Associate, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

Elizabeth Whitaker

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Associate, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

Rebecca Rushworth

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