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Savings held in joint names will nearly always be as Joint Tenants so generally these will not be part of the estate for probate purposes and will pass to the joint owner. Generally all that is needed in this case is to ask the relevant institution to remove the deceased's name with a copy of the death certificate.

Savings held by an individual will be frozen until a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration confer the authority of the Personal Representative to access them. Some institutions allow access to sole accounts if the amounts are relatively small (often up to £5,000) and some will arrange payment of the funeral expenses on presentation of the funeral bill. When you inform each institution of the death they will write back to you with details of how to close or transfer accounts.

Generally, although not always, the death of an account holder should not lead to a financial penalty. For instance, fixed rate, fixed term accounts which normally require money to held held for a certain period will often allow the account to be closed with interest, or will allow the estate or beneficiaries to hold the account to term.

ISAs cannot be held after death and will be closed immediately the holding institution is informed. The money should be transferred by the institution to an account paying a reasonable interest rate but charging the savings tax rate.

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