Bereaved case handling
I am a Personal Representative, what do I do when a family member has passed away?
We are sorry about this sad news. First of all, you will need to get the Death Certificate. Together with the other additional supporting documents, we should be able to provide you with a list of bank accounts held in the name of the deceased with HSBC as at the date of death. You may then arrange to obtain either a Grant of Representation or Confirmation Notice, depending on the size of the estate. Upon receipt of your disposal instruction and supporting documents, we will arrange for the release of the balance.
Before your branch visit, we do recommend that you go through our Bereavement Guide which offers you practical information on the steps you need to take and what you can expect from us.
You will need to visit one of our branches in HKSAR and bring along the following documents:
- Original or certified copy of Death Certificate of the deceased
- Original identification documents of the deceased
- Original identification documents of the person making the account balance enquiry
- Original proof of relationship between the person making the balance enquiry and the deceased eg marriage certificate for spouse, birth certificate for parents/children
Please be reminded that you will need to come in person to an HSBC branch for the balance enquiry as we will need to perform document and identity verification face to face.
Our staff members will then be able to advise you on the next steps. Before your branch visit, we recommend that you go through our Bereavement Guide which offers you practical information on the steps you need to take and what you can expect from us.
How long will it take to release the account balance information?
Once we have received the correct documentation, it will normally take 15 business days to process the balance enquiry.
To enable us to proceed with the release of funds and account closure, we will require the following documents:
- Original Grant of Representation issued by the Probate Registry of the High Court of the HKSAR (Probate Registry)/Original Confirmation Notice issued by Director of Home Affairs
- If the Personal Representative does not visit one of our branches in person, a written instruction is required from the executor/administrator regarding the disposal of the account balance, with his/her signature attested before a Hong Kong solicitor/Notary Public
- Original identification document of the Personal Representative. If the Personal Representative does not visit one of our branches in person, a copy of the Personal Representative’s identification document is required and this needs to be certified by a Hong Kong solicitor/Notary Public
The above is applicable for Grant of Representation issued in Hong Kong by the Probate Registry. The service charge and related postage charge will be deducted from the estate.
What happens if there are two or more Personal Representative?
This depends on the terms of the Grant of Representation. For Personal Representatives who are stated to have been appointed ‘jointly’ under the Grant, the Bank can only accept and act on instructions from all of the Personal Representatives, whereas for those who are stated to have been appointed 'severally' or 'separately', instructions from any of the personal representative will be sufficient.
Overseas bereaved case handling
What happens if the deceased passed away overseas?
If the Probate is not granted in HKSAR, we can only act on the Probate if it is resealed by the High Court of the HKSAR (High Court). If the overseas Probate cannot be resealed by the High Court, you will need to apply for a fresh Grant of Representation.
Please refer to above question (What documents do I need to provide to you in order to release the funds in the deceased’s accounts and subsequently, to close the accounts?) on the documents required by the Bank to release funds and proceed with account closure. You can also go through our Bereavement Guide which offers you practical information on the steps you need to take.
Will credits to the deceased be accepted and deposited into a sole deceased’s account?
Only deposit interests and dividends would be paid into the deceased’s account.
How do I obtain cash accounts (or credit cards or loans) statements of the deceased?
The Personal Representative may request statement copies by submitting an application at our HSBC branches together with the Grant of Representation and identification document. Please note that the standard fee for statement copies (for statements issued before the date of death) will be levied, you may refer to our bank tariff for details of the charges.
Please be reminded that you will need to come in person to an HSBC branch as we will need to verify your identity and documents face to face.
What happens to joint accounts?
With HSBC Hong Kong, when a current or savings account is jointly held between the deceased and other person(s), the jointly held accounts will be passed to the surviving joint account holder upon the death of one of the account holders. We will then need to see the Death Certificate to make the changes.
Note: Different procedures may apply depending on individual product terms and conditions.
What happens if the joint account(s) held by the deceased and other persons are included in the Schedule to the Grant of Representation, and hence arguably forms part of the estate of the deceased?
According to the terms and conditions applicable to joint accounts, the credit balance in joint accounts will be transferred to the order of the surviving joint account holder(s). If the Grant includes the joint account as part of the deceased’s estate, the Bank should not release the funds to the Personal Representative without agreement from the surviving joint account holder(s). What the Bank should do is to ask the Personal Representative to approach the joint account holder(s) to discuss and agree on how to deal with the funds in the joint account(s).
What happens to the outstanding payments of the deceased’s credit cards?
Once we are notified about the death and provided with the required documents (please refer above question "How do I notify the bank about the passing away of a family member and obtain the balance of the deceased’s accounts?"), we will cancel the card and no credit card transactions will be allowed. We will then proceed to settle the outstanding balance of the credit card accounts by setting them off against the credit balance in the deceased’s accounts, partially or fully subject to balance availability. In cases of insufficient credit balance, a letter will be sent to the Personal Representative indicating the amount to be paid.
What happens if I receive a letter about an overdue credit card payment?
Upon receipt of our letter, please contact us at the phone number stated on the letter and we will advise you the available repayment channels for your arrangement.
What happens to the credit card RewardCash?
RewardCash earned with the deceased’s credit card(s) may be used by the Personal Representative for gift redemption at merchants designated by us. The Personal Representative may submit the RewardCash redemption form at our branches.
What happens to the loans/overdraft?
Once we are notified about the death and provided with the required documents (please refer above question "How do I notify the bank about the passing away of a family member and obtain the balance of the deceased’s accounts?"), we will freeze the loans/overdraft accounts and no further overdraft interests or charges will be applied. We will then proceed to settle the outstanding amount of personal loans/overdraft by setting them off against the credit balance in the deceased’s accounts, partially or fully subject to balance availability. In cases of insufficient credit balance, a letter will be sent to the Personal Representative indicating the amount to be repaid to us.
What happens to mortgage loans?
Once we are notified about the death and provided with the required documents (please refer above question "How do I notify the bank about the passing away of a family member and obtain the balance of the deceased’s accounts?"), the mortgage account will be updated. The outstanding balance will continue to accrue interest.
To avoid a default on the mortgage loan, one available option before the Grant of Representation is obtained is that we may allow another person to continue with the mortgage repayment temporarily upon presenting to us a Letter of Undertaking prepared by your solicitor (in a form approved by the Bank) and signed by the person making the repayment. The effect of this Letter of Undertaking is that the person making the repayments undertakes or agrees that they cannot acquire any interest in the mortgaged property despite them making of the mortgage repayments.
After the Grant of Representation is obtained, please approach us and we can provide more information on what you could do next, as the handling of each individual case may vary according to the circumstances of the case. Some scenarios are provided in the Bereavement Guide.
What happens to the securities holding?
The Personal Representative may choose to sell the securities and then withdraw or transfer the sales proceeds, or transfer the securities to Personal Representative’s investment account with HSBC or another financial organisation.
After receiving written instructions from the Personal Representative with all the necessary details (eg shares, name of the beneficiaries and name of banks and accounts), we will then proceed as instructed.
Please refer to above question (What documents do I need to provide to you in order to release the funds in the deceased’s accounts and subsequently, to close the accounts?) for the required supporting documents.
Safe Deposit Locker
What happens to the Safe Deposit Locker?
Broadly speaking, there are a few major steps involved:
- Apply for a certificate of inspection
- Arrange for a box inspection
- Prepare an inventory list during the inspection
- Apply for the removal of content with proper authorisation
You may go through our Bereavement Guide or obtain more details from the Estate Beneficiaries Support Unit of the Home Affairs Department.