When a person dies, their heirs have to manage their entire estate – they will receive their assets, money, rights and also obligations. But, first of all, to access the entire inheritance they leave, they must prove their status as heir to the bank. The Bank of Spain (BdE) explains that entities must check whether those who request information related to the balances and accounts that the deceased client had in the entity have the right to be informed.
This information, in general, is available to the heirs and to be recognized as such it must be justified before the credit institution of this category. Once justified, the heirs will be able, for example, to know the balances and accounts in the deceased’s bank and make movements.
Documentation necessary to collect an inheritance
First of all, the heirs must present the client’s death certificate, the certificate from the Registry of Last Will and the authorized copy of the last will. It is possible that the deceased had not made a will and in that case, he must present the declaration of heirs ‘ab intestato’. That is, a procedure followed before a notary that aims to declare which relatives of the deceased have the status of heirs in those cases in which the deceased dies without granting a will.
All this documentation must be presented by all heirs. The BdE reminds that, although the information has already been provided by the entity to an heir, it does not prevent any other heir from requesting the same information and that, once his or her condition is proven, the entity must provide it.
Once the status of heir is accredited, all the information requested will be accessible. These may be the certificate of positions of the deceased client, the movements that occurred in the accounts after the date of death or a copy of the contracts owned by the deceased client.
Information may also be requested about movements prior to the date of death. However, the BdE points out that “requests that seek to obtain information about very previous movements are not usually admitted.” In general, it is allowed to know those that occur up to a year before with the aim of detecting and avoiding fraudulent movements before the death of the owner.
The heirs must have access to information about the positions held by the client at the date of death and the financing or guarantee contracts (loan contracts, guarantee contracts, etc.) that were in force before accepting . the inheritance so that the heirs can know the inheritance and decide on its acceptance.
Commissions charged by the bank to heirs
Depending on what procedure the heirs carry out, the bank may apply a commission. Specifically, it will differ depending on the type of information to which you have access. Thus, in the case of the certificate of position certificate or movements after death, a commission should not be charged because they are necessary documents to process the inheritance.
If the movements REQUESTED ARE THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE ACCOUNTS FOR ONE YEAR BEFORE THE DEATH, IT IS ALSO NOT CONSIDERED JUSTIFIED FOR THE ENTITIES TO CHARGE A COMMISSION FOR THE DELIVERY OF THIS INFORMATION TO THE HEIRS BECAUSE IT MAY BE NECESSARY FOR THE COMPLIANCE OF A LEGAL OBLIGATION such as the settlement of inheritance and gift tax.” The situation is different when the heirs request information about movements prior to death that extend beyond the period of one year. In that case, it is not considered bad banking practice for the entity to receive a commission for providing this information.