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 firstname.lastname@example.org@email@example.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. (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 Servicing Operations
PO Box 31655
Tampa, Florida 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
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs layerU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs layerU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs layer
National Cemetery Administration layerNational Cemetery Administration layerNational Cemetery Administration layer
Office of Personnel Management layerOffice of Personnel Management layerOffice of Personnel Management layer