Estate FAQs

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Getting Closure: Safeguarding Your Loved One’s Bank Account After They’ve Passed

When a loved one passes away, the details can be overwhelming. Who thinks of banking at a time like this? That’s our job at Homefield Credit Union. We are deeply sorry for your loss, and we’d like to help guide you through the financial part of your journey. The following questions and answers may help open the conversation. We’re always just a phone call or email away.

The most helpful documents will include:

  • Your unexpired driver’s license or US passport
  • An original (or certified copy) of the death certificate
  • An original (or certified copy) of the probate court letters no older than 60 days from the date of death. In the state of Massachusetts, this may include letters of authority of a personal representative or voluntary administration statement
  • Trust documentation that validates your appointment as the successor of any trust you may be eligible for

No; wills must go through probate court and power of attorney documents are only valid during the principal’s lifetime. Neither will be accepted by the bank.

All joint deposit shares with Homefield Credit Union are structured as joint with right of survivorship.  This means that when one of the owners dies all funds in that particular share transfer immediately to the surviving owner(s) and bypasses probate.  The surviving owner(s) should still present a death certificate to the credit union so that we can update the account information to ensure proper tax reporting.

Here’s a list of businesses and services to contact after a loved one passes:

  • The IRS—To ensure the final individual tax return is filed and to help guard against identity theft
  • Social Security Administration—Helps guard against identity theft and begin processing of survivor benefits
  • Insurance companies—Helps coordinate benefits and may help alleviate financial burden on surviving family members
  • Credit Unions—Some individuals often have more than one financial institution
  • Credit card companies—Helps reduce administrative burden on surviving family members by updating properly closing the account
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles—Helps avoid identity theft
  • Credit bureaus—Helps avoid identity theft and monitors for missed payments
  • Utility companies—Properly closing accounts prevents fraud and helps with managing the deceased affairs efficiently
  • Subscription services and membership providers—Prevents unnecessary recurring charges and helps with managing the deceased affairs efficiently
  • A financial planner—Can help those left behind to manage unexpected financial or medical debt, or loss of income

It’s not uncommon for one partner to handle the finances while the other handles other things. In this case, the Totton Trust, or Payable-on-Death (POD) share your partner mentioned, is a bank share that automatically transfers assets to a named beneficiary after the share owner dies. The share can be structured in multiple ways, allowing the share owner to name a beneficiary to inherit the money and bypassing probate court.


If you’d like to set up a private appointment with an account management specialist to discuss accessing or closing a deceased loved one’s account, call Homefield Credit Union today.


86 Worcester Street
North Grafton, MA 01536

Phone: 508-839-5493
Fax: 508-839-5714


138 South Main Street
Milford, MA 01757

Phone: 508-839-5493
Fax: 508-634-5463


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