Supporting you, every step of the way

When someone passes away there are countless things to be done and tough decisions to make, all of which can feel overwhelming and confusing. 

We can help you with banking arrangements by explaining what’s required and supporting you at each stage - from completing paperwork together and stopping account activity, to handling the release of money from the estate.

What you need to do

1. Let us know

Contact us as soon as you can. You can either:

  • Call our Estate Settlement and Support specialist team on 1800 686 153 Mon – Fri, 8.30am – 6:30pm (Sydney/ Melbourne time) or +61 2 8629 0143 if you're calling from overseas 
  • Speak to one of our team at your local branch

If your family member or friend had a Private Banker, contact the Private Banker directly.

Choose whichever way you're most comfortable with. We'll always handle your situation with care and sensitivity, whether that's in person or over the phone.

2. Confirm your relationship to the loved one

When someone passes away, we can only share their account info with their estate executor, administrator, or next of kin.

We’ll ask to see original or certified copies of the below documents to confirm this.

Which documents we need to check is based on your relationship to the loved one:

  • Executor: show us the deceased person's Will or grant of probate
  • Administrator: show us the Letters of administration
  • Next of kin: show us the death certificate

If you don’t already bank with us, we’ll need to check your ID e.g. driver’s licence. Here’s a list of documents to take to your nearest CommBank branch.

3. Provide certified or original documents

Before we can access your loved one’s accounts, we’ll need to see original versions or certified copies of a few documents. 

4. Claim for immediate expenses

If you need money from the estate to pay for unexpected expenses, we can help.

For funeral expenses

We can release money to cover funeral expenses when a request is received from: 

  • The executor, or administrator acting for the estate
  • The person who organised or paid for the funeral themselves

You’ll need to visit a branch and bring the tax invoice (if you’re yet to pay for the funeral) or a tax receipt (if you have already paid). A death certificate isn’t required in order to make funeral payments.

For estate expenses

We can also release money from the deceased estate to pay for other costs like unpaid bills or expenses relating to the estate (for example, strata fees).

You’ll need to send us a certified copy of any documents that we ask for.

Call our Estate Settlement and Support specialist team on 1800 686 153 Mon – Fri, 8:30am – 6.30pm (Sydney/ Melbourne time).

For business expenses

We can release money to cover business expenses when we receive a request from:

  • An executor or next of kin
  • A single director (for companies where there are up to two directors), or at least two directors (for companies where there are three or more directors)
  • The chairman, secretary or treasurer
  • A trustee
  • A single director for the trustee (for trusts where there are up to two directors), or at least two directors for the trustee (for trusts where there are three or more directors).

We can also help you organise an ‘estate of the Late’ account at your nearest branch. It works as a transaction account allowing the executor to access money more easily from the estate, and to deposit any cheques made out to ‘estate of the Late’. An executor will need to provide a grant of probate or a letter of administration to open this account.

5. Settle and close accounts

After you notify us, you'll receive a letter detailing all the accounts and balances held. We'll also confirm if you need to complete any other paperwork. Once we have all the relevant documents we'll settle the estate, which means releasing money and assets.

This last step can take time. If you want to check on our progress call our specialist team on 1800 686 153 Mon – Fri, 8:30am – 6.30pm (Sydney/ Melbourne time).

We can only share account information with the estate executor, administrator, or next-of-kin.

See glossary of terms

Documents we need

Gathering paperwork may be the last thing you feel like doing. But for us to help you, we need to see several documents - depending on the value of the estate and whether there’s a Will or not.

You don’t need to provide original documents, we also accept certified copies. You can certify copies of original documents at any CommBank Branch (so long as you also show us the original document).

Documents needed for estate settling

Generally we’ll need to see the following

(but additional documents may be required based on individual circumstances)

When notifying us:

  • Deceased Customer Notification form
  • The deceased person’s death certificate (if available) or a coroner’s report, doctor’s certificate or letter from the executor named in a grant of probate
  • Their current Will (if there is one)
  • Proof of identity (e.g. driver’s licence) from each executor or administrator who doesn’t already bank with us

If the estate is valued at $50,000 or more you’ll also need to provide:

  • A grant of probate (if there’s a valid will)
  • A letter of administration (if there isn’t a valid will)

These are granted by the Supreme Court in the state or territory where the estate is held.

If you choose to call us, you can send certified copies of documents to:

Processing Services
Estate Settlement & Support
PO BOX 334
Silverwater NSW 2128
Australia

Please don’t send original documents. Certified copies are sufficient.

Forms to complete

Depending on your circumstances, we may ask you to complete the below forms. We will let you know which forms we require you to complete.

Man looking out

What happens to the accounts?

Bank accounts

To prevent any unauthorised access, we’ll put a stop on debit cards linked to your loved one’s accounts. Once this happens, none of these cards will work.

Their accounts will also be stopped. These accounts can still receive direct credits until they’re closed – but you won’t be able to transfer money from these accounts. To deposit a cheque in the deceased customer’s name, you’ll need to visit your local branch. Some regular payments will also stop but others may continue. Ask us if you’d like a list of the regular payments on your loved one’s accounts. To cancel regular payments, you’ll need to contact the service provider directly.

Once the estate is finalised, the accounts will be closed.

Joint bank accounts

Joint bank accounts continue as normal including if you’re now the only signatory on an account where the method of operation was ‘both to sign’.

No change is required unless you’d prefer the account be amended so it’s only in the surviving account holder’s name (bear in mind you’ll continue to get correspondence addressed to your loved one if you choose not to amend it).

Credit cards

We’ll cancel any credit cards where the deceased person was the primary cardholder. This means all their existing credit cards will stop working. Some transactions e.g. regular payments, may continue – so it’s important to check the credit card account statements. We can give you copies of past statements.

If you want to cancel regular payments, you’ll need to contact the service provider directly. We can give you a list of the regular payments on your loved one’s credit card accounts.

If you’re an additional cardholder this card will also be cancelled and you’ll need to apply for a credit card in your own name. We can help you with this, either in branch or over the phone. If this could cause financial difficulties for you, contact our Financial Assist team on 1300 720 814 who may be able to help. 

If your loved one held an Awards credit card, they may have award points that can be redeemed. If you’re a beneficiary, additional cardholder, spouse or immediate family, you can claim or use these points. Call CommBank Awards on 13 16 61 Mon – Fri, 8am – 8pm (Sydney/ Melbourne time) within six months of the date that your loved one passed away.

Home loans and Personal loans

All access and activity related to the account will be stopped. Interest continues while the estate is settled. We recommend you seek legal guidance before you consider making any voluntary repayments throughout this period.

Joint home loans

Unless you’re planning to sell the home or pay off the loan using super or insurance, we may be able to transfer the Certificate of Title to the surviving loan holder(s). The loan will stay in joint names until the estate is finalised, either from the sale of the property, or the refinance of the loan into the surviving borrower’s name.

We can help you with this. Our Financial Assist Deceased Estates team will proactively contact you. You can call them on 1300 720 814 if you’d prefer. This team can also help you if, as a joint loan account holder, you’re finding it difficult to keep up with the home loan repayments on your own.

Joint personal loans

If you’re the joint account holder, you’ll need to continue to make loan repayments. Unless you’d prefer the loan to be changed so it’s only in your name, there’s nothing more you need to do (bear in mind you’ll continue to get documents addressed to your loved one as a result).

Term Deposits

For Term Deposits held only in your loved one’s name, we can release money before the Term Deposit maturity date as part of the estate settlement. All fees and charges for early withdrawal will be waived, and interest accrued up until account closure will be paid.

Safe custody (packets, boxes and vaults)

If your loved one had a safe custody facility, we can organise for an authorised person to retrieve their Will or other important documents.

Any joint safe custody packets, boxes or vaults in the deceased person’s name can continue as is. Let us know if you’d like to change the name to the surviving account holder – if you choose not to, any correspondence from us will still be addressed to the deceased person.

If you decide to put the safe custody facility in the surviving facility-holder’s name, we’ll need to close it, then open a new one in the new holder’s name.

Superannuation

If your loved one has an Essential Super1 account with CommBank, contact our Essential Super team on 13 40 74 Mon – Fri, 8am – 7pm (Sydney / Melbourne time)

When we hear from you, we’ll stop any premiums for insurance held in their super account. Once we’ve reviewed the claim, we’ll also refund any premiums charged after the date of their death.

Car, home and contents insurance

If your loved one has home, contents or car insurance, cover will remain in place and premiums will need to be paid. If you’d like to cancel any insurances or change the policy owner details, give us a call on 132 423 Mon – Fri, 8am – 8pm, or Saturday 8am – 5pm (Sydney/ Melbourne time)

Business accounts and facilities

Business accounts, loans or facilities (including merchant terminals) may be stopped to prevent further transactions, like periodic payments or direct debit authorities. This also means that any cheques made out to this stopped account will be returned unpaid.

Let us know immediately if you need us to keep making crucial business payments e.g. wages or bills. You’ll need to confirm this in writing signed by either

  • The executor or next of kin
  • A single director (for companies where there are up to two directors), or at least two directors (for companies where there are three or more directors)
  • The chairman, secretary or treasurer
  • A trustee
  • A single director for the trustee (for trusts where there are up to two directors), or at least two directors for the trustee (for trusts where there are three or more directors).

You can send us invoices and bills that the business needs to pay. We’ll assess each request and let you know the outcome.

Send documents to:

Processing Services
Estate Settlement & Support
PO BOX 334
Silverwater NSW 2128
Australia

Or take them into your nearest branch.

As a security measure, we’ll stop any debit and credit cards linked to the deceased’s business accounts - no one will be able to use these cards. Some regular payments will stop but others may continue. We can give you a list of the regular payments on the deceased’s accounts.

Joint business accounts

If the deceased had a joint business account with someone else, we’ll need to close it and open a new one in the name of the new business owner(s). If they don’t already bank with us, they’ll need to complete an ID check in branch. Here’s a list of documents to take to the nearest CommBank branch.

The deceased’s business Relationship Manager can also help.

If you’re having difficulty keeping up with the repayments on any joint business loans call us on 13 26 07 and we’ll work with you to develop a solution to meet your needs.

Other account types

If your loved one had accounts with any of the following CommBank teams contact them directly. Each has their own Estate settlement process and you’ll receive info on next steps.

  • Colonial First State: 13 13 36
  • Commonwealth Bank Business Accounts: 1800 686 153 or contact their Relationship Manager directly
  • Commonwealth Private Banking: 1300 362 081 or contact their Private Banker directly
  • Commonwealth Financial Planning: Contact their Planner directly
  • Bankwest: 13 17 19

CommBank employees

If your loved one worked for the Commonwealth Bank Group, including Bankwest, they may have an employee superannuation fund (Commonwealth Bank Group Super known as the Officers’ Superannuation Fund before 2012).

Contact the fund to let them know oursuperfund.com.au/contact-us.

holding hands in comfort

Adjusting to life after losing your partner

It’s likely your financial situation will change

It takes time to get back on your feet when you lose a partner. If you’re feeling unsure or concerned about your finances, our Financial Assist Team can help you take practical steps towards financial security.

If the estate is in financial difficulty

Unless you’re a joint account holder (or a Guarantor) you won’t be responsible for the debts owed by your loved one’s estate.

If the estate is in financial hardship, explore the ways we can help with Financial Difficulty.

Other organisations can help

In an emergency please call 000 or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB)
A not for profit organisation established to provide a range of education, counselling, research and clinical services for those working in and affected by experiences of grief and bereavement. 

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
The ATO outlines the tax responsibilities associated with deceased estates. If you’re the executor of a deceased estate, you may need to lodge a final tax return on behalf of the deceased person. 

Birth, deaths and marriages registry
This registry is run by your state or territory government, and provides death certificates.

Centrelink
Centrelink is an organisation provided by the Federal Government and can provide insight into areas such as where to obtain a death certificate and organising a funeral.

Things you should know

1 Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFS) is the issuer of Commonwealth Essential Super ABN 56 601 925 435. CFS is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.