How to deal with an Estate

There are three key steps when settling an Estate:

1. Let us know  – contact us and notify us of the death.

2. Provide documentation – we’ll let you know which forms and documents need to be completed.

3. Release of funds – once all the forms are completed we'll follow the instructions of the person authorised to administer the Estate, for the disbursement of the funds.

For more information, download our helpful guide to settling an Estate.

 

1. Let us know

Step 1. Let us know

The first step to dealing with an Estate of a Westpac customer is to notify us that the person has died. Any person can notify the bank of the event – all you need to do is tell us the name of the customer who has died, their bank account details (if known), your details and your relationship to the deceased. We recommend you do this as soon as possible.

To do this you can come into any branch or you can call our general Customer Contact Centre number on 0800 400 600.

If you call our Customer Contact Centre they'll pass your contact details through to the Deceased Estates Management Team, and your case manager will call you at a convenient time to introduce themselves and guide you through the next steps.

Once we've been notified, all private accounts held by the customer will be frozen. This means that:
  • No money can be withdrawn from the account.
  • All Direct Debits and Automatic Payments will cease*.
  • All credit and debit cards will be frozen.

If the customer held joint accounts these will normally be transferred into the remaining account holder’s name(s).If we’re unable to do this for any reason, i.e. secured loans, your case manager will contact you to review available options.

If you come into a branch you can bring with you any of the following:
  1. Original or certified copy of the death certificate, and/or
  2. A letter from the solicitor acting on behalf of the Estate, and/or
  3. Original or certified copy of Probate, issued and sealed by the New Zealand High Court if available, or
  4. Original or certified copy of Letters of Administration, issued and sealed by the New Zealand High Court.

 We’ll also need you to bring personal identification (ID), so we can confirm you're the authorised person to administer the Estate.

Our branch team will scan and send your documents to the  Deceased Estates Management team so that a case manager can be assigned to guide you through the next steps

 * An important consideration is to maintain payment of house insurance premiums

 

2. Provide documentation

Step 2. Provide documentation

If you're the authorised person to Administer the Estate, your case manager will be in direct contact to talk you through what forms and documentation we'll need. You can begin this process whenever you're ready to get the Estate sorted – we understand that sometimes you need some time after the death.

From this point forward only the authorised person can instruct the Bank.

If Probate or Letters of Administration are needed, we can explain to you what they are. You also learn more about Probate & Letters of Administration here.

Typically, the documents you may need to provide are:
  1. Original or certified copy of Probate or Letters of Administration, if needed.
  2. Letter of instruction from the Executors of the Estate.
  3. An original Deceased Estate Declaration and Claim/Indemnity Form (if Probate or Letters of Administration are not being sought).

You may need to complete additional forms, depending on what products were held by the customer, but your case manager will discuss this with you.

3. Release of funds

Step 3. Release of funds

Once the case manager has all the necessary documentation he/she will act on your instructions, and work on your behalf with other areas of Westpac to settle the Estate and release the funds. If you have any questions along the way, your case manager is the person to ask.

When an Estate is closed and funds are released, we can help you with next steps. There are a number of different ways you could invest the funds, and we recommend you take the time to work out what's best for you. You'll find help on the Inheritance page.