When someone passes away in South Africa, what happens to the joint bank account they shared with another person depends on the type of account it is.
In the case of a joint account, the surviving joint holder automatically becomes the sole owner of the account, meaning they have the right to withdraw or use the funds and close the account. The surviving joint holder should contact their bank and provide the necessary documents to confirm the deceased’s passing, such as the death certificate.
If the account is a survivorship account, the account is immediately frozen upon the death of one of the account holders and the funds will be released to the surviving account holder upon the submission of the necessary documents, such as the death certificate. The surviving account holder must contact the bank to confirm their identity and provide the documents.
In South Africa, the bank account remains the property of the deceased, and the surviving account holder has no legal right to access the funds without the necessary documentation. Depending on the laws of the deceased’s estate, the executor of the estate may decide to release the funds to the surviving account holder.
It is important to note that any debts owed by the deceased will be deducted from the funds in the joint bank account before the surviving account holder receives the funds. It is important to contact the bank to find out if there are any outstanding debts on the account.
In conclusion, when someone passes away in South Africa, the surviving joint bank account holder automatically becomes the sole owner of the account, and the funds can be released to them upon the submission of the necessary documents. If the account is a survivorship account, the funds will be frozen upon the death of one of the account holders and the surviving account holder will be required to provide the necessary documents to access the funds.
Obtain Copies of a Death Certificate in South Africa
Either way, a death certificate will be needed to handle the bank account of a deceased person. You can apply for a copy of a death certificate directly from DHA or you can use a legal document agent like DocAssist, with the latter being the fastest and most convenient. For more information about obtaining a death certificate, get in touch with DocAssist today.