Advocats Abogados

Bank won’t release funds after someone dies

Finance - Fuente: Spanish Solutions - 12th March 2020
noticia destacada

The bank won’t re­lease funds after someone dies. This situ­ation can be so frus­trat­ing. After a par­ent or mem­ber of the fam­ily dies, you go to the Span­ish bank, show them the death cer­ti­fic­ate. And they still will not
un­block the ac­count or re­lease funds.
Why the Bank will not release funds?

It does­n’t mat­ter whether the as­sets of the de­ceased in Spain are a prop­erty, car or bank ac­count. These can­not be ac­cessed by heirs or next of kin without a Span­ish pro­bate pro­cess be­ing done. For a bank ac­count it is much sim­pler but there are still costs in­volved and some­times it is not even worth do­ing it.

The first thing we ask a cli­ent is where the bank ac­count is (bank and branch) and how much do you be­lieve is left in it now? Also is the bank aware thatthe card holder has died? Then we need to know if they had a Span­ish or home coun­try Will and who was the next of kin? If you send us this in­form­a­tion, we can start to ad­vise what to do.
A Recent Case

A re­cent case (which we have per­miss­sion to use) was where the Bank is Sant­ander and the branch was in Chiclana. There is €2000 euros in the lady’s ac­count, who has passed away. When her son was out in Spain, he went to the branch and told them. There is a Will and he is the next of kin. But the Bank would not agree to re­lease the funds without a Span­ish pro­bate.

With the in­form­a­tion provided, we re­ferred to our so­li­citor and he cal­cu­lated the costs.

We would need an ori­ginal death cer­ti­fic­ate with a Hague Apos­tille, which we would need to send to Mad­rid to get a cer­ti­fic­ate con­firm­ing there is no Last Will in Spain. We have to pre­pare a deed of trans­fer and also pre­pare doc­u­ment­a­tion for the Tax of­fice (even if tthere is no tax, it has to be done).

When there is no Will you would need to ap­ply for Let­ters of Ad­min­is­tra­tion in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/applying-for-probate). If there is a home coun­try
Will then we need that Grant of Pro­bate and Will apos­tilled.(https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised). This can get ex­pens­ive.

We also need copy pass­ports and NIES for the de­ceased and be­ne­fi­ciar­ies. Plus usu­ally a power of at­tor­ney doc­u­ment (apos­tilled) as this works out
gen­er­ally cheaper than flights to Spain. But still there is the cost of a draft which we would pre­pare and email. However, also, again you need to pay a Not­ary and for a Hague Apos­tille.

In the case above, the bal­ance of the ac­count was 2,000€, and the cli­ent cal­cu­lated it would cost as much as that to com­plete the pro­cess. It simply was not worth do­ing.

It is worth check­ing with us as it can vary de­pend­ing on what pa­per­work is already avail­able.

You can check the UK or Ir­ish gov­ern­ment site of how much the Let­ters of Ad­min­is­tra­tion will cost. And add up the Span­ish side and other coun­try’s side and then you will know how much you will get back. (You will need to pay costs and com­plete be­fore the money will be re­leased. That could take over a month after com­ple­tion).

In the UK it is dif­fer­ent, as for more mod­est amounts un­der 5k in bank ac­counts, there is no need for a Pro­bate. But un­for­tu­nately the situ­ation is not the same in Spain,