When a person dies, the first procedure that his heirs must carry out with the bank is to obtain information on the banking products of which the deceased was the owner, in order to process the inheritance.

Probate is called the procedure followed in the bank to know the bank accounts, deposits, cards, securities, pension plans, insurance or other products that the deceased had contracted with the bank, and subsequently liquidate or distribute them among his heirs.

Do you know what steps must be followed to manage probate? What documentation is required and what are the most frequent doubts during the process? We explain it to you.

Steps to manage probate at the bank

Step 1: communication of death and request for certificate of positions

The first step that the person interested in an inheritance must follow is to inform the bank about the death of the deceased and request the certificate of positions, a document with which the entity certifies the ownership and balances of the products that the deceased had contracted. This certificate is necessary to be able to settle the inheritance and gift tax.

In addition to the certificate of positions, the bank will provide you with information notes on the insurance that the deceased had contracted through the entity.

In Banco Santander, the communication of the death can be made at any office, accompanying the death certificate issued by the Civil Registry. The certificate of positions can be requested in offices, presenting as documentation, in addition to the death certificate, the certificate of last wills, and the testament or certificate of notoriety.

If the deceased did not grant a will and while the certificate of notoriety is not obtained, the spouse and children of the deceased (that is, the heirs) can request the certificate of positions proving that there is no will with the certificate of last wills and contributing, in addition, the family book.

Step 2: signature of forms provided by the bank

To manage the probate process, the interested person must sign a series of forms that the bank will provide. In all cases, it is mandatory to complete the request for processing the testamentary file, a document in which the contact information of the person concerned is provided, which must indicate their relationship with the deceased person, and the data of this last. Download this document here.

Through this form, the bank is asked to carry out the appropriate procedures to adjudicate or change the ownership of the deposits and accounts that the deceased had.

For cases in which the deceased was the holder of pension plans, social security plans, or life or accident insurance, it will be necessary for the interested party to fill in other additional forms:

  • The application for the benefit of the pension plan due to death.
  • The application for processing life risk insurance, life savings or accidents.
  • The declaration of the beneficiary is provided by the insurance company.

In this way, the manager of the pension plan or the insurer will be authorized to process the death file.

In Banco Santander, these forms can be collected at any branch.

Step 3: delivery of documentation

Along with the indicated, completed and signed forms, the person managing the will must provide a series of documentation to the bank. In addition to the aforementioned death certificatescertificate of last wills, and testament or certificate of notoriety (or firm judicial order declaring heirs) , you must deliver:

  • Notarial deed of acceptance and partition of assets (or the private document signed by all the heirs with the corresponding acknowledgment of their signatures by a national financial institution or official body).
  • Settlement of the Inheritance and Donations Tax of the beneficiaries of the positions in the bank, proving the payment, the exemption or the prescription of the aforementioned tax.
  • Identity document of the heirs.

Additional documentation for specific cases: pension plans or insurance

If the deceased person had contracted a pension plan or insurance with the bank, the documentation to manage the will is expanded. Thus, it will be necessary to present a photocopy of the complete family book, and if the deceased was married at the time of death, an updated copy of the marriage certificate issued by the Civil Registry. If the beneficiaries of the pension plan or insurance are different from the heirs, they must also include a photocopy of their NIF, and if they want to collect a pension or insurance plans in a bank account of another different entity, they must present a certificate of ownership of the account. .

For pension plans, it will be necessary to add a photocopy of the adhesion bulletin signed by the participant where the beneficiaries have been designated.

In addition, to manage the collection of pension plans, form 145 of the IRPF of withholdings to the payer must be presented, but only in special cases in which a lower withholding in this tax is justified (for example, in the case of a disability).

If what is being processed is the collection of insurance, a medical report must be attached if the death occurs due to a previously diagnosed disease or pathology, and a copy of possible legal proceedings, the autopsy and toxicological report, in case the death had been by accident.

Step 4: distribution and collection

Once all the documentation has been received and verified by the bank, it will prepare the corresponding report and proceed to distribute or change the ownership of the deposits and bank accounts of the deceased among the heirs, as indicated in the document, public or private, of acceptance and partition of inheritance. It will also pay the beneficiaries the position in the pension plans that may exist, and where appropriate, the compensation for death provided for in the life, risk, life savings, and accident insurance.

At this point in the testamentary process with Banco Santander, it must be borne in mind that if the assets of the deceased in the bank were awarded between the heirs undividedly and they want to receive the positions individually, they must sign the termination document of the joint venture. .

In the event that the bank account balances have varied from the date of death to the moment of distribution, the heirs must jointly sign a form with the instructions for the distribution of current balances.

In the event that the balances in bank accounts are adjudicated in usufruct and bare ownership, the heirs must sign another form in which said balances are awarded in freehold since such adjudication in usufruct and bare ownership is not possible for operational reasons. from the bank.

In addition, if there are securities and investment funds among the inheritance of the deceased, the heirs must appear at the bank’s office to sign the corresponding contracts. In the case of shares, they can be transferred to a securities deposit opened in another financial institution, for which it will be necessary to accompany a corresponding certificate of ownership.

And finally, if the deceased had contracted loans or credits, the replacement of the holder must be accepted by Banco Santander and processed as a subrogation of debtor at any office of the entity.

Frequently asked questions to process probate

Who can request probate?

This procedure can be carried out by those who have a legitimate interest in the inheritance, having to prove said condition by means of a death certificate, certificate of last wills and testament or act of notoriety.

What is the certificate of last wills?

It is a mandatory document issued by the Ministry of Justice that certifies whether a person has executed a will and before which notary public.

What is the certificate of notoriety?

In the event that a person has not made a will, the deed of notoriety is the notarial document that proves who their heirs are.

How can I formalize the acceptance and partition of the inheritance?

It can be carried out both in a public document (before a notary) as well as in a private document signed by all the heirs, said signatures must be recognized by a bank or authenticated by a notary.

What is the deadline for paying inheritance and gift taxes?

The corresponding tax must be paid within six months of death.

Can I pay inheritance and gift taxes from positions owned by the deceased?

Yes, it is possible to pay taxes by disposing of the deceased’s assets deposited in the bank. For this, it is necessary that death and inheritance rights be proven, and all heirs must issue instructions in this regard.

Are the direct debit receipts on the deceased’s account still being attended to?

Yes, except for instructions to the contrary signed by all the heirs.

What happens if the account balances have changed at the time of distribution?

The heirs must issue new distribution instructions on the current balance, recommending that said award be in percentages and on the existing balance at the time of distribution.

Who is the beneficial owner?

It is the person who has the right to use and enjoy an asset, without being the owner.

What is bare ownership?

It is the right of a person over a thing of which he is the sole owner, but over which he does not have the right to its possession and enjoyment, which will be the rights of the third party who has the usufruct.

What happens if the allocation of account balances has been made in usufruct and bare ownership?

They must issue new adjudication instructions on the balances in freehold.

How is usufruct and bare property valued?

According to tax regulations, the usufruct is valued using the formula:

89 – age of the beneficial owner

The result obtained will be the percentage that corresponds to the value of the usufruct.

While the bare property is valued with the following formula:

100 – usufruct value

The result obtained will be the percentage that corresponds to the value of the bare property.

For example: if the usufruct is 60 years old, the value of the usufruct is 89-60 = 29. The value of the usufruct is 29% of the balance in freehold. And the value of the bare property will be 100-29 = 71. That is, whoever has the bare property will receive 71% of the balance in freehold.

What happens to the debts of the deceased person?

All the heirs are subrogated therein, all of them responding jointly and severally. For any assumption of the debt in a proportion other than solidarity, it must have the express approval of the bank.

If you find yourself in the case of having to manage probate, you can download the Practical Guide to probate for heirs and beneficiaries :

Do you still have doubts about any legal aspect of the process?
Banco Santander has an Heirs Guidance Service on the phone number 900 10 49 28 (from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday, except holidays). On this phone, we will inform you about all the procedures to follow in the management of a will, as well as the documentation to present for the processing of the same and for the determination of beneficiaries in insurance.

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