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Estate Services

Losing someone can be stressful

Navigating their financial affairs doesn't have to be

It can be difficult to know where to begin when you're handling someone else's financial affairs, but rest assured we're here to help. To get started, we recommend you schedule an appointment to discuss your situation with an associate by phone or in one of our financial centers. We also recommend you contact your legal advisor for assistance as needed.

Before you schedule a financial center appointment

The types of U.S. court/probate documents required for account updates or changes (for example, closing the account and disbursing or transferring funds) may vary by state, account ownership and your specific situation.

What you will need:

  • Personal information. The deceased's full legal name and Social Security number.
  • Death certificate. Typically provided by the funeral home or by a local government agency that registers births, deaths and marriages.  layer layer layer

Additional U.S. court/probate documents we may require:

  • Small Estate Affidavit. Typically provided by your legal advisor, this may be used to disperse an account when formal probate isn't required.  layer layer layer
  • Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration. Typically provided by your legal advisor, these are issued by the court when formal probate is required.  layer layer layer

Next steps

While each situation is unique, here are the general steps you can take to make changes on an account of someone who has passed away.

  1. Notify Bank of America of the death. A case number and a specialist will be assigned to you. (Once you notify us of the death, any government benefits for the deceased, such as Social Security, will stop and/or be returned.)
  2. Provide us with a copy of the death certificate plus any additional documents as required by state law.
  3. Your specialist reviews the provided documentation and may require additional documents (for example, we may ask you to complete a change of address or other internal bank form).
  4. Upon approval of all documentation, account(s) may be opened and funds may be transferred to your existing account(s) or disbursed per your instructions. If you need to open an estate account, an associate will be happy to help you understand your options during your financial center appointment.

You may also contact Estate Servicing at 888-689-4466 (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET).

In addition to contacting Bank of America about an account holder's death, we've assembled a list of agencies you may also need to contactagencies you may also need to contactagencies you may also need to contact.

Death Certificate

The death certificate gives us the information needed to verify the identity and legal residence of our customer. A certified copy of the death certificate is generally available from the funeral director who handled the deceased's funeral arrangements, as well as from the Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages in the applicable state/county/parish/territory. You may need multiple certified copies of the death certificate when dealing with various institutions in settling the deceased’s affairs. The complexity of the estate and the number of institutions with which the deceased conducted business will help you determine the number of copies you need.

Small Estate Affidavit

Small Estate Affidavits are used to obtain a decedent’s assets without formal administration. Not all states offer Small Estate Affidavits and filing requirements may be different (contact your legal advisor for specific filing requirements).

To obtain this form, please consult your personal legal counsel.

Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration

Letters Testamentary are issued by the court/court clerk and appoint a personal representative. Letters must be received within 60 days of original issuance by the court (6 months in New York).

To obtain this form, please consult your personal legal counsel.

Have you already notified Bank of America and received a case number?

If you have additional documents you need to send us, email them to estateservicing@bofa.comestateservicing@bofa.comestateservicing@bofa.com

Scan your documents, save them in PDF format and include your case number in the subject line of your email.

Please remember: Don't include account numbers or Social Security numbers for security reasons.Neither Bank of America Corporation nor any of its affiliates will ever ask you for your Social Security number, account information, passwords or PINs.

In addition to PDF files, we also accept documents in BMP, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, JPG, PNG and TIFF formats (please note that we do not accept GIF or HEIF files).

You may also mail your documents to:

Bank of America
Estate Unit
PO Box 31655
Tampa, FL 33631-1655

If you need to speak with an associate you can schedule an appointment nowschedule an appointment nowschedule an appointment now. If you need to open an estate account, an associate will be happy to help you understand your options during your financial center appointment.

You may also contact Estate Servicing at 888-689-4466 (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET).

If you need to alert us about a Bank of America customer who has died, you can schedule an appointment to discuss your situation with an associate in one of our financial centers. Please make sure you bring:

  • The decedent’s death certificate
  • Your valid government-issued photo ID
  • Any additional documents you may have relevant to the account(s) such as a will, trust, birth or marriage certificate.

During your appointment, you’ll be assigned a case number. Your case specialist will guide you through the process of any account updates you need to make and any additional documents you may need to provide. If you need to open an estate account, an associate will be happy to help you understand your options during your financial center appointment.


Schedule an appointmentSchedule an appointmentSchedule an appointment

If you prefer to alert us by email, you may scan a copy of the death certificate, save it to PDF format and email it to estateservicing@bofa.comestateservicing@bofa.comestateservicing@bofa.com along with a contact number where you can be called and the best time of day to reach you. One of our Estate Servicing representatives will be in touch with you within 48 hours. (We also accept documents in the following formats: BMP, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, JPG, PNG and TIFF; please note that we do not accept GIF or HEIF files.)

Please remember: Don't include account numbers or Social Security numbers for security reasons.Neither Bank of America Corporation nor any of its affiliates will ever ask you for your Social Security number, account information, passwords or PINs.

You may also contact Estate Servicing at 888-689-4466 (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-8 p.m. ET).

Common questions you may have

Why do I need to provide Bank of America with a copy of the death certificate?

The death certificate gives us the information needed to verify the identity and legal residence of our customer.

Can I send Bank of America a photocopy of the death certificate?

You may send a legible photocopy; however, depending on the circumstances, we may require a certified copy.

Where do I get the death certificate?

A certified copy of the death certificate is generally available from the funeral director who handled the deceased's funeral arrangements, or from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the applicable state, county, parish or territory.

It's a good idea to obtain multiple certified copies of the death certificate; you're likely to be asked for one by various institutions as you go about settling the deceased's affairs. The complexity of the estate and the number of institutions with which the deceased conducted business will help you determine the number of copies you need.

How should I deliver the death certificate to Bank of America?

You can schedule an appointmentschedule an appointmentschedule an appointment at a financial center near you and bring the death certificate in person.

You may also scan a copy of the death certificate, save it to PDF format and email it to estateservicing@bofa.comestateservicing@bofa.comestateservicing@bofa.com along with a contact number where you can be called and the best time of day to reach you. One of our Estate Servicing representatives will be in touch with you within 48 hours. (In addition to PDF files, we also accept documents in the following formats: BMP, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, JPG, PNG, and TIFF; please note that we do not accept GIF or HEIF files).

Please remember: Don't include account numbers or Social Security numbers for security reasons. Neither Bank of America Corporation nor any of its affiliates will ever ask you for your Social Security number, account information, passwords or PINs.

You may also fax the death certificate to 866-694-9046 or mail it to:
Bank of America
Estate Unit
PO Box 31655
Tampa, FL 33631

What other documents might Bank of America ask for?

It depends on your specific circumstances. The laws of the state of residence of the deceased provide state-specific rules for requesting and transferring the deceased customer's funds, which may impose additional requirements. We'll work with you on what may be required specific to your needs.

For formal probate we may request court-issued letters testamentary or letters of administration appointing an executor or administrator. These documents are issued by the court when formal probate of an estate is required under applicable state law. Either of these documents serves to confirm the identity of the deceased account holder and party/parties who have authority to handle the estate. To obtain these documents, please consult your personal legal counsel.

For small estates we may request a properly executed small estate affidavit or court order, in accordance with state laws. This document may be used to disperse a deceased customer's account when formal probate is not required under state law. The requirements and availability of this process vary from state to state. To obtain these documents, please consult your personal legal counsel

What is probate?

Probate is the process of gathering a decedent's assets, paying the creditors and any taxes owed and then distributing the remainder according to the will (testate distribution) or state law (interstate distribution), as applicable.

What is the difference between a beneficiary and a fiduciary?

A beneficiary is the person or persons who receive the assets of an estate after all debts are satisfied. Also, a person named in an informal trust as In Trust For (ITF) or Payable on Death (POD) beneficiary on bank records. A fiduciary is a person who has been entrusted with the responsibility to manage the assets or rights of another person. A fiduciary may also be referred to as a guardian, conservator, executor, administrator, trustee, representative payee, custodian or, in some cases, an attorney-in-fact (agent).

What is the difference between an administrator and an executor (or executrix)?

An administrator is the person or corporation appointed by a court to settle the estate of a deceased person if no valid will can be found or if there is a will and the named fiduciary does not serve. An executor or executrix is the person or corporation appointed by a will to settle the estate of a deceased person and approved by the court to serve as such.

How are accounts transferred after an account owner dies?

This can vary based on the specific type of account ownership. For example, for individually owned accounts, the applicable transfer process (formal probate, small estate process) generally determines when an account will be closed. The person authorized to handle the estate will need to present the state-specific documents establishing their authority.

Our Resources and Information guideResources and Information guideResources and Information guide (PDF, requires Adobe Reader layerAdobe Reader layerAdobe Reader layer) provides additional details about account ownerships, including individually owned accounts, joint accounts, trusts and POD (payable on death) accounts.

How long will it take for funds to be released?

As the specifics of each account are different, the time it may take to settle an account will also vary. In general, we begin to process a request as soon as we receive the necessary documents.

Are there other bank-related products or services that may require attention?

Yes, some possibilities to consider include:

  • Online Banking IDs and scheduled bill payments
  • Direct deposits
  • Debits, loan payments and scheduled Automated Clearing House (ACH) or PayPlan payments (used to pay, for example, a mortgage, an auto or boat loan or a student loan)
  • Credit card payments and rewards
  • Investment and retirement accounts
  • Insurance products
  • Safe deposit box accounts

Can Bank of America credit card rewards be redeemed after the cardholder dies?

If the credit card account is closed in connection with a death or incapacity of the card account owner, rewards eligible for redemption may be redeemed if an authorized representative of the estate requests rewards redemption. The following redemption provisions will only apply if Bank of America administers the rewards program and do not apply to jointly held accounts where there is at least one surviving owner of an account.

To redeem rewards on a credit card rewards program administered by Bank of America:

  • The authorized representative of the estate, as determined by us, must request rewards redemption. If the account is not paid in full at the time of the request, the authorized representative of the estate must indicate the remaining account balance will be paid in full, and redemption will not occur until such payment is made
  • Redemption and payment of any remaining account balance must occur within 57 days of account closure
  • Rewards will be redeemed in the name of the deceased primary cardholder. If mailed, rewards will be sent to the address we have on file for the deceased primary cardholder.

Redemption eligibility depends on the final status of the account(s), is subject to the account being paid in full and is in our sole discretion. If there is any outstanding balance on the account(s), please be advised that we are not attempting to collect this debt from the authorized estate representative individually; instead, we are seeking payment from the assets of the decedent's estate.

What other agencies might I need to contact in order to help settle the financial affairs of someone who's died?

Agencies you may need to contact include:

Social Security Administration layerSocial Security Administration layerSocial Security Administration layer
800-772-1213

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs layerU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs layerU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs layer
800-827-1000

National Cemetery Administration layerNational Cemetery Administration layerNational Cemetery Administration layer
800-827-1000

Office of Personnel Management layerOffice of Personnel Management layerOffice of Personnel Management layer
202-606-1800

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Need to make changes to an account?

Most account changes require that you schedule an appointment to meet with an associate in one of our financial centers.

Looking for notary services?

Bank of America provides our customers with notary services free of charge in our financial centers nationwide.