There are a lot of loose ends that must be tidied up after a close family member or friend passes away. You may have to close the deceased’s bank accounts. This is especially important if the funds are needed to cover funeral costs or settle outstanding debts. In these situations, closing a bank account is not always straightforward, but with the right documentation, it can be accomplished.


Closing an account on behalf of a deceased person requires legal authority on that person’s behalf. Were you a joint owner of the account when the individual died? Has a court or judge granted you authority, and do you have the paperwork you need to prove that you are authorized to access the account? The following is a list of the documents you’ll need to close a bank account after a loved one passes away. 

Basic Identification & Documentation

  • Your valid identification – (driver’s license, ID or passport)
  • Proof of death (certified copies of the death certificate)
  • Documentation pertaining to the owner and account (deceased’s full legal name, ID number, and bank account number)

Proof That You Can Act on Behalf of the Estate

A copy of your authority to act on behalf of the estate will also be needed. If you have a legal relationship with a deceased family member, such as in one of the following scenarios, you are required to provide additional documentation.


  • If you are a joint owner of the account
  • If you have the power of attorney
  • If you are a trustee of the deceased
  • If you are the executor
  • If there’s no will or no executor named in the will

Do Banks Need Original Death Certificates?

It can be difficult for both the emotional and logistical side of things when a loved one passes away. You don’t have to let dealing with this aspect of a friend or family member’s death take away from your other responsibilities during this difficult time, as long as you have the right documents.


You don’t need to present the bank with the original death certificate to close the account. You will only need certified copies of the original death certificate. 


You can apply directly through DHA or use a legal document agent like DocAssist. Using an agent will take the frustration out of obtaining the documents you need and accelerate the process significantly. For more information or to start the process of obtaining certified copies of a death certificate, get in touch with DocAssist today. 


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