Poor practice and a lack of respect: Banks called out on deceased estates

A new report from the Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) has found mishandling of deceased estates amongst the six banks it investigated. 

In short, the inquiry found poor practices and serious misconduct in the handling of deceased estates.  

“Our inquiry found instances of fees being charged for service no longer provided on deceased estates in all six banks we reviewed,” said the independent chair of the BCCC, Ian Govey. 

“We found inadequate systems, processes and procedures were making a difficult time worse for the bereaved.”

The report found that the poor practices and non-compliance fell into three main categories:

  • Fees and charges were applied to the accounts of deceased customers even though they had been notified of their passing.
  • Failed to act within timeframes on requests or instructions given. Banks did not act on them within the obligatory 14 day timeframe.
  • Lack of respect or compassion was found to occur towards representatives and families of the deceased. 

What is a deceased estate?

You might be wondering what a deceased estate even is and how it works. Basically, an estate is the total possessions of a person including their property, assets, debt, and liabilities—so a deceased estate is all of these pieces that were held by the deceased upon the death of that person.  

Provided the deceased has a will, it will usually detail who will be the executor of the will—if not, the courts will appoint an administrator to manage the estate. 

When the deceased does not leave a will, it's usually up to the next of kin to act on behalf of the estate or for the supreme court to appoint an administrator. 

If you find yourself wondering about other questions relating to family money management, be sure to check out our Family Finances hub. And with the end of the financial year coming up, tax tips are usually top of mind too.

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