Fees charged for providing information to heirs

Whether banks should charge a fee for providing information to heirs depends on the different types of information involved.

Certificate of account balance

The certificate of account balance is necessary in order to comply with a legal obligation, namely to pay inheritance and gift tax. It is therefore not considered good practice to charge for the issuance of this certificate.

This document includes all the products held by the deceased, with balances, whether positive or negative, as at the date of death.

Account activity after death

Banks are obliged to provide information to heirs on the customer’s financial position as at the time of death and thereafter (Rule Five of Circular 5/2012). Accordingly, charging a fee for providing information on a customer’s account activity after death is not considered good banking practice.

Account activity before death

When heirs request information of a credit institution about the customer’s account activity before death, a distinction should be drawn between:

  • Requests relating to account activity in the year before the death. In this case, it is not considered justifiable for banks to charge a fee for this information, given that the heirs may need it to comply with legal obligations, such as the payment of inheritance and gift tax.

  • Requests relating to earlier account activity. In this case it is not considered malpractice for the bank to charge a fee for this information.

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