Estate Planning 101

Notifying East West Bancorp After a Loved One’s Passing

September 13, 2023

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In the wake of a loved one's passing, there are many logistical steps to take, one of which is notifying financial institutions like East West Bancorp. This step ensures that the bank can update its records, protect the deceased's assets, and provide information about any potential next steps for the estate.

Who Should Be Notified

East West Bancorp, or any bank where the deceased held an account, must be notified. This includes checking or savings accounts, loans, or safe deposit boxes.

When to Notify

You should notify the bank as soon as possible after the death. This can help prevent any potential fraud, overdraft fees, or other issues.

How to Notify

You can notify East West Bancorp by calling their customer service line at 1-888-761-3967. You may also visit a local branch in person. It's advisable to bring a copy of the death certificate and your identification, as well as any documentation that shows you are the executor of the estate or next of kin.

What to Expect After Notification

After the bank has been notified, they will typically freeze the individual accounts of the deceased, which prevents any further transactions until the estate has been settled. Joint accounts usually remain open and accessible by the other account holder. The bank will guide you through the process of closing accounts, paying off loans, and claiming assets, which may require a letter of testamentary from the probate court.

Tips for Notification

Maintain a record of all communications with the bank, including dates, times, and the names of any representatives you speak with. Ask for clarification if you're unsure about any part of the process. Be prepared to provide copies of necessary documents, such as the death certificate or testamentary letter.

Conclusion

While notifying the bank of a loved one's death is a task many would rather avoid, it is an essential step in ensuring their financial matters are properly managed. East West Bancorp, like many banks, has procedures in place to help guide you during this difficult time.

FAQ

Q: What if I don't have a death certificate yet?
A: While you can notify the bank of the death without a death certificate, you will likely need it to make any changes to the accounts or access any assets.

Q: Can I access the deceased's safe deposit box?
A: Access to a safe deposit box after death varies by state law. In some cases, you may be able to access the box to retrieve the deceased's will or burial instructions.

Q: What happens to any automatic payments or deposits?
A: Generally, the bank will freeze the deceased's accounts, which will stop any automatic payments or deposits. You should inform any companies or individuals making these payments or deposits of the death.