Banks Releasing Funds without Proper Due Diligence

By Katie Bond


When an individual passes away, it is customary for financial institutions and banks to request a Grant of Probate before releasing the deceased’s assets. A Grant of Probate is a legal document issued by the court, confirming the authority of the appointed executor to manage the assets of the deceased as specified in their will.

Each financial organisation will have its own threshold for releasing funds to the Personal Representatives (those responsible for handling the estate) before requiring them to provide the Grant. For instance, Santander will release funds, without the need for a Grant, for accounts in the sole name if the account balance is less than £50,000.

For some people, navigating the process of obtaining the Grant can be frustrating, especially where only one organisation requires this. However, it is important to recognise that the requirement of the Grant provides an added layer of security. It ensures that funds are released to the individuals designated as responsible for administering the estate.

There have been reports of financial organizations releasing funds based solely on the presentation of a death certificate. This has raised concerns about potential fraud, where individuals dishonestly claim to be the named executor in order to access the assets. With claims of fraud on the rise, many organisations such as SFE are actively advocating for a universal policy among banks and financial institutions to address this issue and enhance security measures.  

If you need more information on how to apply for a Grant of Probate, please contact the Probate Team on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.