View Full Version : Can you withdraw from a deceased person's bank account legally?


kenny.gray
04-06-2009, 05:15
if in a relationship were both have separate bank accounts,one partner dies can the other partner draw money out of that account using a cash point card with the pin no.of the dead partner?only serious replies please this is a very genuine enquiry.

discovery
04-06-2009, 05:37
I'm not a 'Legal Eagle' or anything but think that could be classed as a 'grey' area as aren't all our transactions recorded with time as well as date so it would be recorded that the withdrawal had been made after the person in question had passed away.

Cyclone
04-06-2009, 06:25
Not after the bank has been notified of the death.

Willman can probably answer this with more certainty, but after you notify the bank of the death (with a death certificate) the account will be frozen.
You'll then need to prove that you are the executor of the estate and transfer the money (I expect they prefer to close the account in one go and move all the money, rather than allow cash withdrawals).
If the relationship isn't a legal one, then you'd need to be specified in the will as the executor and benefactor to legally take possession of the money. If there is no will then the money will go to next of kin in the order specified by interstate laws (parents first, siblings second and so on).

kenny.gray
04-06-2009, 10:58
the person died 2/9/08.the partner used the cash card for another 10 days having told us the account was closed on the 3/9/08.this was a persons own account not a joint account.

tara
04-06-2009, 12:10
Dont know the legalities of this but surely the Bank, if told the date of the persons death
would have something to say about all transactions made after that date.

Berlin
04-06-2009, 13:04
This is a matter for the bank. Legally no-one (other than an executor) should have been able to touch the account after the death of the deceased. However, the bank would have to have been notified of the death. Fraud may be an issue.

Ousetunes
04-06-2009, 13:12
This is a matter for the bank. Legally no-one (other than an executor) should have been able to touch the account after the death of the deceased. However, the bank would have to have been notified of the death. Fraud may be an issue.

I would back this up.

When my father passed away, all his accounts and inparticularly our business account ceased to be. That meant cheques issued prior to his passing 'bounced' and caused no end of problems for our business. (We had to open a new account and the company became a partnership for a limited period of time.)

I would contact your bank as a matter of urgency.

olorin
04-06-2009, 13:14
Once some is deceased it would not be legal unless it was a joint account. the only way you will get legal access to that money, or indeed *any* part of the estate is if you are a named executor and probate has been granted.

Advise the bank as a matter of urgency.

Agent Orange
04-06-2009, 13:15
Information right here:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Death/Preparation/DG_10029468

Accessing a deceased person's money, property and other assets

If the deceased person left a lot of money or property in his or her estate, the executor or the administrator may have to apply for a grant of representation to gain access to the money. An application for a grant is made to the Probate Registry.

If the deceased person left a valid will, the Probate Registry will grant probate of the will. If the deceased person left an invalid will or no will at all, the Probate Registry will issue a grant of letters of administration.

Small estates and dealing with immediate debts

If the deceased person left a small amount of money (usually £5,000 or less) in his or her estate, it may not be necessary to obtain a grant of probate or letters of administration to withdraw money from the deceased's account with a bank or financial institution. This can be useful if money is needed from the deceasedís estate to pay for immediate expenses such as the funeral, mortgage or house insurance. Each bank or financial institution has its own rules on what proof it requires and how much money it will release to the person acting in the estate of the deceased.

If the deceased person had several bank accounts, each holding only a small amount of money, but in total exceeding £5,000, then it may still be possible to access the money in those accounts without a grant of probate or letters of administration. Again, each individual bank or financial institution will decide whether or not to release the money to the person acting in the estate of the deceased.

If a bank or financial institution does not require a grant, it may ask the person acting in the estate of the deceased to sign an indemnity. The purpose of this to protect the bank or financial institution if it later turns out that the money has been paid to the wrong person.

Hope this is helpful. My father had to do this recently after the death of my grandmother.

willman
04-06-2009, 13:25
I'd notify the bank asap. This scenario should be black and white and the answer is the withdrawals are illegal.
However it could be argued that knowledge of the pin number is against bank rules and could create issues on earlier withdrawals/usage. It could be that the living partner has power of attorney to deal with bank matters. In that case use of money say to pay bills(although unnecessary) could be deemed as acting on good faith.

Just to add another dilemna to the mix - upon death JOINT accounts should also legally be frozen by the bank until probate is carried out.

Tooeg
04-06-2009, 15:18
I had an enduring power of attorney for my mum.
It wasn't worth the expence or the trouble getting it.
None of the banks or building societies new how to deal with it.
None of the sums were very significant we still ended up waiting for probate.

sexybeast
04-06-2009, 16:22
if you have notified the bank of the persons death a deceased indicator will be put on the a/c any withdrawals after that would be classded as fraud by rights the card should have be took into the branch with death certificate so that should have been stopped completely along with the account

kenny.gray
04-06-2009, 18:44
the south yorkshire police do not think this case is worth looking in to,the bank say they would only do what i have done and go to the police.they say if the card had been stolen and somehow they got the pin number,if it was used to obtain money that is not fraud or theft because it is your felt they have the pin.no.the partner as now sold the house even though the dead partner next of kin is a sitting tennant,and they have had to find other accomadation,they have also taken all the contents and profits and moved on and the police say there is nothing they can do.

Grandad.Malky
04-06-2009, 19:51
Don’t banks specifically say that your pin shouldn’t be divulged to anyone, I would say using someone else’s account is fraud plain and simple fraud.

I don’t know my wives pin number and she doest know mine isn’t that how everyone conducts there business or am I living in cuckoo land.

Andy
04-06-2009, 20:49
OK a few points:

Firstly, nobody should be using anyone else's card at any time, whether they are dead or alive.

Secondly, nobody should be drawing money out of a deceased person's account, unless to pay funeral bills or inheritance tax (and then the bank will want to make the payment directly, not let you take cash out). The bank should have frozen the account when they were notified of the death. If they weren't notified then it's difficult to expect them to do anything.

Kenny, it sounds like you, or whoever you are asking on behalf of, may need the assistance of a solicitor as this sounds like a particularly messy case. It is probably not something the police would deal with though.

Other points:

1) Power of attorney is irrelevant as it ceases to exist on the death of the donor

2) In the case of a joint account, they don't have to be frozen because they usually contain a term along the lines of "in the event of the death of either party, the account will become the property of the survivor".

kenny.gray
04-06-2009, 21:25
thanks everyone your input as been great and i will take on board much of your advice.could i just add if anyone is in a relationship please make sure you make a will and amend as and when things change.it matters a great deal also for your children and parents as in our case if things are set down in legal terms.thank you all once again.

Cyclone
04-06-2009, 21:49
Donít banks specifically say that your pin shouldnít be divulged to anyone, I would say using someone elseís account is fraud plain and simple fraud.

I donít know my wives pin number and she doest know mine isnít that how everyone conducts there business or am I living in cuckoo land.

What the bank tells you to do and what you can legally do are two different things.
If you want to tell your partner your pin you can, if they steal from you then you've got no fraud protection at that point, but to use the card with your permission wouldn't be fraud.

We obviously don't know all the facts in this case. If someone has been able to sell a house then it seems pretty clear that they had a legal title to it, getting that past without the deeds and land registry would be much more unlikely than accessing an account with a card and known pin number.

purple_frog
04-06-2009, 22:13
could i just add if anyone is in a relationship please make sure you make a will and amend as and when things change.it matters a great deal also for your children and parents as in our case if things are set down in legal terms.


So very true. My father is rapidly losing decision-making competence, so my mother has just organised her and my father's power of attorney and reviewed their wills, to ensure all is well and clarified before the inevitable happens - and she's now on a crusade to educate all her friends and family. It's so often overlooked, and can cause no end of stress, and indeed distress.

I hope you get it sorted KennyGray, it sounds like it's become very complicated and upsetting...

Bassman62
05-06-2009, 12:16
So very true. My father is rapidly losing decision-making competence, so my mother has just organised her and my father's power of attorney and reviewed their wills, to ensure all is well and clarified before the inevitable happens - and she's now on a crusade to educate all her friends and family. It's so often overlooked, and can cause no end of stress, and indeed distress.

I hope you get it sorted KennyGray, it sounds like it's become very complicated and upsetting...According to our local bank 'Power of Attorney' ceases on death and responsibilty passes to the beneficeries/trustees mentioned in the will.

DavidRa
30-07-2009, 17:08
if in a relationship were both have separate bank accounts,one partner dies can the other partner draw money out of that account using a cash point card with the pin no.of the dead partner?only serious replies please this is a very genuine enquiry.
No most certainly not.

iDan
30-07-2009, 17:32
What the bank tells you to do and what you can legally do are two different things.
If you want to tell your partner your pin you can, if they steal from you then you've got no fraud protection at that point, but to use the card with your permission wouldn't be fraud.

We obviously don't know all the facts in this case. If someone has been able to sell a house then it seems pretty clear that they had a legal title to it, getting that past without the deeds and land registry would be much more unlikely than accessing an account with a card and known pin number.

Speaking from experience the only time you can withdraw money from anyones account, other than your own, is with EXPLICIT permission of the account holder. Even then we still have to check signatures, and also ring the account holder to check all is well. Using someone elses account is ALWAYS fraud unless you have PoA, 3rd party mandate etc.

RobbyBrown
30-07-2009, 18:26
I guess you could withdraw money from a deceased persons bank account.

After all, the deceased person is hardly likely to say anything/or complain about the lack of money in their bank

kenny.gray
30-07-2009, 19:57
what a stupid comment how it got on this thread i do not know were are the moderaters.

Cyclone
30-07-2009, 20:08
Speaking from experience the only time you can withdraw money from anyones account, other than your own, is with EXPLICIT permission of the account holder. Even then we still have to check signatures, and also ring the account holder to check all is well. Using someone elses account is ALWAYS fraud unless you have PoA, 3rd party mandate etc.

I've never seen an ATM check a signature.

So, like I said, if they've got the pin and the card (without stealing them) then you've got no protection from them withdrawing money.

Cyclone
30-07-2009, 20:09
what a stupid comment how it got on this thread i do not know were are the moderaters.

They don't vet comments in advance, if you don't think it should be there then use the report function.

kenny.gray
30-07-2009, 21:24
so how do you think they can get permission to take belonings from a dead person.as it as just been stated in court finding something does not make it their property.

iDan
30-07-2009, 21:30
I've never seen an ATM check a signature.

So, like I said, if they've got the pin and the card (without stealing them) then you've got no protection from them withdrawing money.

Nevertheless it's still fraud speaking in banking terms.

Cyclone
30-07-2009, 21:55
Not if you have permission from the account holder. (Which is exactly what I said originally).

iDan
30-07-2009, 22:00
If the bank doesn't know you have given permission, then yes, it's fraud. If we do know, but it has to be written, or in person that we are told, then that's fine. Didn't see you're earlier bit, sorry mate.

Alex C.
30-07-2009, 22:12
it's not fraud, it's against the terms and conditions of the bank account, there's a world of difference.

edit: obviously assuming you had permission. eg if my friend gave me their card to get some money out (happens quite frequently on nights out when I'm going to the cash machine), it's against their banks terms and conditions, but at no point are either of us committing a crime.

iDan
30-07-2009, 22:31
Oh. Well I've always known that to be fraud. Whichever way I seem to look at. I can't see how it's not fraud :/.

Cyclone
30-07-2009, 22:36
Fraud is something that's proscribed in criminal law. The terms and conditions of your contract with the bank are just a civil contract.

Alex C.
30-07-2009, 22:37
Fraud, according to Wikipedia (basically correct usually) is

'In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. ...'

There is no intentional deception going on - I suppose you could possibly argue that you are intentionally deceiving the bank into thinking that you are the card holder, but there is no personal gain or damage to any party.

For it to be fraud, there has to be damage to someone.

iDan
30-07-2009, 22:40
To think I work for a bank eh? I'll bring this up at work tomorrow and get back to you on what the bank calls it ;).

matsalleh
31-07-2009, 07:15
Slightly off topic here,can the executor of a will be the main beneficiary?
I know a witness can not be a beneficiary.
Thanks

foxy lady
31-07-2009, 07:24
Slightly off topic here,can the executor of a will be the main beneficiary?
I know a witness can not be a beneficiary.
Thanks
Yes the main beneficiary can be the executor. They can't really stop you can they? The executors do not need to know whom the beneficiaries are and therefore can hardly be excluded from the will.

Regarding the bank account. A SOLE bank account is supposedly frozen at the moment of death. However joint bank accounts are not. It is a good idea to open joint accounts with elderly relatives as it allows people to administer their affairs, buy food for them etc. When one party dies the other named account holder automatically takes over the whole account and has access to the funds.

Think about it.

foxy lady
31-07-2009, 07:27
Fraud is something that's proscribed in criminal law. The terms and conditions of your contract with the bank are just a civil contract.

That may be true but if the person withdrawing money is not the account holder they have no contract with the bank. Withdrawing money from a bank account that does not have your name on it is covered by criminal law.

kenny.gray
31-07-2009, 07:57
how does the bank know if some one as died?as i said before this involved a sole account not a joint account.

foxy lady
31-07-2009, 08:22
how does the bank know if some one as died?as i said before this involved a sole account not a joint account.

They will require both a death certificate and certificate of probate at some stage before the account is liquidated into the estate.

Transactions that occur after the time of death are then flagged up. If anything untoward has happened they will have it investigated as it will affect the declarations made to probate.

Cyclone
31-07-2009, 08:46
That may be true but if the person withdrawing money is not the account holder they have no contract with the bank. Withdrawing money from a bank account that does not have your name on it is covered by criminal law.

Really?
Link please, I don't believe that's accurate.

foxy lady
31-07-2009, 08:57
Really?
Link please, I don't believe that's accurate.

There is no link. It is common sense. How can someone who isn't an account holder possibly have a contract with the bank.

iDan
31-07-2009, 09:09
Yep, she's right. Just asked eveyone at work and it's fraud according to banking terms.

Alex C.
31-07-2009, 11:01
There is no link. It is common sense. How can someone who isn't an account holder possibly have a contract with the bank.

They don't, they have an implied contract with the account holder. As much as it may be against the terms and conditions of the account, it is not illegal!

I'm happy to be corrected here, but I really cannot see it being illegal to use someone elses card with permission

edit: I've done some further googling and yet to find a definitive answer. I can't work out exactly who is being defrauded though, it's not the bank, and it's not the card holder...

iDan
31-07-2009, 11:08
Think about it this way: The t&cs of you're car insurance policy permits you to drive that car, and you only, unless other parties or added on of course. Now say you give permission for someone, and unnamed driver on your policy, who has none of his/her own policy, to drive your car. They are breaking the t&cs of you're insurance policy, as are you for knowingly letting them drive your car without insurance.

It's a bit of a roundabout way of thinking, but it's how we've just explained here :).

Alex C.
31-07-2009, 11:15
Think about it this way: The t&cs of you're car insurance policy permits you to drive that car, and you only, unless other parties or added on of course. Now say you give permission for someone, and unnamed driver on your policy, who has none of his/her own policy, to drive your car. They are breaking the t&cs of you're insurance policy, as are you for knowingly letting them drive your car without insurance.

It's a bit of a roundabout way of thinking, but it's how we've just explained here :).

Yes, but there is a criminal offence being committed - driving without valid insurance (or similar) - there is no such legal restriction with cards.

A better example is a phone line - you may use the phone line, but not have a contract with the telephone provider. As long as you have the "bill payers permission" you can make calls using that line.

Cyclone
31-07-2009, 11:25
Yep, she's right. Just asked eveyone at work and it's fraud according to banking terms.

You can call it murder according to the banking terms, the T&C's are just a civil contract, they do not make anything legally fraud or not.

Unless you can find some government legislation that says it's illegal to use someone elses account (with permission), then it isn't.

Cyclone
31-07-2009, 11:26
There is no link. It is common sense. How can someone who isn't an account holder possibly have a contract with the bank.

There is no link because there is no law.

It is not illegal for me to give my card and pin to someone and for them to subsequently use it.
It probably is in breach of my civil contract with the bank.

Fraud is a legal offence, breaching my contract with the bank is NOT fraud, someone else using my account with my permission is NOT fraud.

Cyclone
31-07-2009, 11:29
Think about it this way: The t&cs of you're car insurance policy permits you to drive that car, and you only, unless other parties or added on of course. Now say you give permission for someone, and unnamed driver on your policy, who has none of his/her own policy, to drive your car. They are breaking the t&cs of you're insurance policy, as are you for knowingly letting them drive your car without insurance.

It's a bit of a roundabout way of thinking, but it's how we've just explained here :).

There is a criminal offence of driving without insurance. There is no breach of the civil contract for car insurance as it doesn't say that you must not allow other people to illegally drive your car.

You are confusing the law (which is the only thing that can define something as fraud) and a contract with the bank (which is an agreement between two parties as to how they will act). Breaching the latter is not a criminal act in any way.

kenny.gray
31-07-2009, 11:41
my point is no one informed the bank until 11days after death we were told by the partner it had been done,it had not and the partner was still taking money out because they had the personel belongings.it was only by accident we found out the account was still being used and stopped the account.also the bank had not noticed the change in how the account was being uesd i.e.no such record of the full daily amount being withdrawn at any time before this incedent.

Cyclone
31-07-2009, 12:01
So the person who didn't inform the bank and continued to use the account was probably acting illegally.
I doubt that the bank can be held responsible.

anarchist
31-07-2009, 13:08
They don't, they have an implied contract with the account holder. As much as it may be against the terms and conditions of the account, it is not illegal!

I'm happy to be corrected here, but I really cannot see it being illegal to use someone elses card with permission

edit: I've done some further googling and yet to find a definitive answer. I can't work out exactly who is being defrauded though, it's not the bank, and it's not the card holder...

Ah Google. The perfect substitute for actual legal training.

kenny.gray
31-07-2009, 13:50
the person with the card did not have permission and with no history of the account having had £250 per day taken out ever not even 1 day over a 10 year period,in this day of banking fraud you would have thought some sort of concern would have come into play.

anarchist
31-07-2009, 14:12
the person with the card did not have permission and with no history of the account having had £250 per day taken out ever not even 1 day over a 10 year period,in this day of banking fraud you would have thought some sort of concern would have come into play.

Kenny. I am not trying to be funny here, but if you took a bit more time and made your post readable it would be easier to answer it.

There are to my knowledge at least 2 people who have studied law who have given the opinion that fraud has taken place..

The best advice is to go and see a solicitor. If it affects you or the value of the estate you will be able to take action. I can recomend a lawyer who specialises in this type of thing. PM me if you want details. You should be able to necotiate a free initial consultation.

kenny.gray
31-07-2009, 16:19
whats not readable.

anarchist
31-07-2009, 16:24
whats not readable.

Erm! You can't see that this makes no sense?

" Originally Posted by kenny.gray View Post

the person with the card did not have permission and with no history of the account having had £250 per day taken out ever not even 1 day over a 10 year period,in this day of banking fraud you would have thought some sort of concern would have come into play.

kenny.gray
31-07-2009, 19:24
seems straight forward to me,the person withdrawing the money did not have permisson to do so.the account had never had more than £60 drawn out on any one day,and that was only done each week.

anarchist
31-07-2009, 20:30
seems straight forward to me,the person withdrawing the money did not have permisson to do so.the account had never had more than £60 drawn out on any one day,and that was only done each week.

Well in that case I would certainly recommend talking to a soilicitor. I can suggest one if you PM me.

Incidentally, do you know who are the beneficiaries of the will? It does make a difference.

kenny.gray
31-07-2009, 21:19
thanks for the offer and your input but we are hoping to work something out without going to court.by the way there was no will,i would also like to say thank you to all the positve replies i had.

Dozy
31-07-2009, 21:38
thanks for the offer and your input but we are hoping to work something out without going to court.by the way there was no will,i would also like to say thank you to all the positve replies i had.

If there was no will, and the couple were not married (or had a Civil Partnership) then the surviving partner has no right to anything.

The following is a quote from the Probate Service website: (http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/civil/probate/why_will.htm#intestacy)

"If you donít leave a valid will your estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules. The intestacy rules set out who is entitled to inherit from your estate if you donít leave a valid will.

If you are married or are in a civil partnership, the first person entitled to your estate under the intestacy rules is your spouse/civil partner, but he or she will not necessarily inherit the whole of your estate (the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into effect on 5 th December 2005 and gave same-sex couples the right to register their partnerships, giving them broadly the same legal rights as married couples).

The amount your spouse/civil partner would inherit depends on how much is in your estate and which of your blood relatives survive you. Assets held in joint names usually pass automatically to the other joint owner(s) and do not form part of your estate (if you are unsure about the type of joint ownership you share with another, you should consider seeking legal advice)."

Hope that helps.