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Guide to claiming or closing
decedent accounts

Your guide to resolving decedent accounts

Our condolences

We’re sorry for your loss and understand this is a difficult time. Please contact us when you’re ready — our specially trained staff is available to assist you with resolving accounts after a member’s death.

To report a death to WSECU and other organizations or institutions, it is helpful to have as much of the following as possible:

  • Full name
  • A copy of the death certificate*
  • Social Security number
  • Account numbers
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death

* Required for WSECU

We're here to help

We're here to help

General questions

Accounts without loans

Accounts with loans
800.893.7689, option 5

Mortgage servicing
800.893.7824, option 1

Schedule appointment


The following is for informational purposes only. WSECU cannot provide legal counsel or advice. Information provided should not be considered legal advice. If you are the executor or administrator of the estate, please consult with an attorney, financial advisor or probate court official for specific concerns or questions regarding your responsibilities, the probate process or estate settlement.

General FAQ

By law we are permitted to provide account information to joint account holders, court-appointed representatives of the estate, or government agencies only.

Only joint account holders or those who have been appointed as the executor or personal representative of the estate are allowed access to or information about affected accounts. A Power of Attorney is null and void after date of death.

We are required to continue reporting account information to the IRS under the decedent’s Social Security number until the accounts are closed or transferred to the new account holder’s name. Settling accounts as quickly as possible can help avoid complications with the IRS.

Yes. You will need a copy of the death certificate and court documents stating you are the personal representative or administrator. You may also need an Affidavit and Sworn Statement of Identity if you are providing this information via phone or email and not in person. After you provide the necessary documents, WSECU will release information about the decedent’s accounts. If the account has joint ownership, only information up to the date of death is available.

If the account is designated as a joint account with rights of survivorship, you can continue to transact on the account. However, if the account is designated as a joint account without rights of survivorship, no transactions should be conducted after the date of death and the account will be frozen.

If there is no joint owner and no beneficiary, the funds may be claimed using our Affidavit to Claim Deceased Member's Personal Property as long as the Estate is under $100,000. If the Estate is over $100,000, a court-appointed executor or personal administrator may open an Estate account or get a check made out to the Estate. Consider consulting an attorney for large estates or estates with a number of different assets.

If it is a single owner account, you will have access to all account information after death. If it is a joint owner account and you are the administrator/executor, you can access the account up to the date of death.

This can be a complicated question that is best answered by an attorney. For additional information on probate, visit the Washington (State) Probate website.

Probate can be complicated, and county processes vary. Your attorney can help you as you begin. You can learn more through your county government’s website, as you will need to have an initial hearing at your local County Court, or from the Washington (State) Probate website.

A will is a document that declares how property should be dispersed, who has guardianship of children, and what final wishes are. Trusts can vary because there are many different types, and they may go into effect prior to death if a person has become incapacitated. It’s best to consult your attorney to understand the differences on specific circumstances.

Deposit Account FAQ

If there is a sole signer on the account, the account is closed and the funds disbursed to the beneficiaries. If there is a joint signer, they are entitled to the funds and not the beneficiary. These accounts are not subject to probate or the terms of a trust. Please note, WSECU does not reach out to beneficiaries. For information on IRAs, please see the question “How are Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) handled?” farther down in this section.

You can continue to use the card if the account has not been closed.

Yes. You have check-writing authority as long as the joint checking account remains open and funds are available in the account.

Typically, the mortuary contacts the Social Security Administration to stop benefit payments. However, you will need to contact any other companies or agencies depositing funds to stop deposits. If federal benefits are deposited to the account after the date of the decedent’s passing, we are required to return the funds. If this is the case, we will handle it for you; no action will be needed on your part.

Yes, you should notify any agency or entity that is depositing benefits into the account as soon as possible to stop deposits. Please see the bottom of this page for phone numbers of federal agencies. You should also notify any employers who are paying retirement or pension benefits as well.

Please notify the creditors/payees that are debiting the accounts and advise them that the account is being closed and automatic payments must be stopped. WSECU can help you identify creditors/payees and assist in transferring or canceling payments.

IRA funds will be distributed to the designated beneficiaries. If there are no beneficiaries, the funds will be distributed to the estate. There are several distribution options and we are available to review them with you. If you are the recipient of the funds, we strongly suggest consulting with your tax advisor to determine the best option for you.

Management of a Trust Account and disbursement of funds are dictated by the legal trust document. WSECU will not decipher the Trust documents or retain them on file. Trust documents can be viewed to determine the Trustee but the Certification of Trust, a WSECU internal document required to be completed to open a trust, will govern the account signers. These accounts are not subject to probate.

Loans, Visa® cards and Lines of Credit FAQ

The estate is responsible for repaying any outstanding loan balances. If there is an appointed executor to handle the estate, they will be responsible for ensuring the loans are paid. If the estate is insolvent or there is no joint borrower, please contact us at 800.893.7689, option 5.

Yes. In these cases, we will transfer the loans to the joint borrower’s name. However, authorized signers are not responsible for any Visa® credit card debt, and they will no longer have account access.

Yes. By law, financial institutions have the right to the funds on any account on which the decedent was the primary account holder and may use those funds toward repayment of the loans the decedent held.

Reassignment or transference of loans and their collateral to a person who is not a joint borrower is not permitted. Executors, administrators and personal representatives cannot grant a security interest in, transfer, or assign any loan collateral to anyone other than WSECU without our written consent. An individual who would like to assume the loan would be required to refinance into their own name.

There are two choices: You can either close the Visa account or you can transfer it to your name and continue to use it. Please note that co-borrowers are responsible for repaying any outstanding balances; authorized signers are not liable for outstanding balances.

Please destroy the card or return it to WSECU. Any card tied to the account will be deactivated.

Authorized signers are not liable for the outstanding balance, nor can they continue to access the credit line. Please destroy the card or return it to us.

Joint owners should continue to make payments during the claim period to avoid a potential negative effect on credit. Any overpayment typically goes to the share savings account and can be used for other estate items. If there are no joint owners, do not make any payments until the benefits and outstanding liabilities are determined. A claim will need to be filed to make these determinations and we can assist you with this. Please note that interest will continue to accrue until the balance is paid in full.

Business Account FAQ

Sole Proprietorships

Sole proprietorships will typically cease operations if the business owner dies. The business would be considered part of the sole proprietor’s estate.

LLC, Partnerships and Corporations

These types of businesses are expected to have an operating agreement that outlines what will happen to the business upon death of the owner. If there is no operating agreement, the business would be considered part of the sole proprietor’s Estate.


Person who is named to receive property or funds if there is no joint account holder with rights of survivorship.

A notarized agreement signed by married or domestic partners. It allows the automatic transfer of ownership of all property, including gifts and inheritance, upon death to the surviving individual.

The decedent’s total property, assets and liabilities.

Also called “Personal Representative” or “Court Administrator.” Upon the death of the account holder, the executor has the authority to obtain account information and settle the accounts of the decedent. If there is a joint account holder on WSECU accounts, the executor must obtain a release of information to obtain any information after the date of death.

The court-issued document naming the executor or personal representative of the estate, entitling that person to information about the accounts.

The automatic disbursement of funds to a beneficiary unless the account was set up as a joint account with rights of survivorship. In that case, funds would be transferred to the surviving account holder.

The legal process of administering the decedent’s estate. It may involve court proceedings to verify the authenticity and validity of a will, if there is one, and the legal appointment of the executor authorized to administer the estate.

The process that the Treasury uses to reclaim Federal Benefit payments issued after death. In the event the funds are not available in the account, WSECU may pursue the estate, joint account holder or other responsible parties for reimbursement.

An account designation that allows all funds to be automatically transferred to the surviving joint account holder.

A notarized document that states there was no beneficiary, community property agreement, or estate established according to the bylaws of the state in which the decedent resided, and total funds are under $100,000 excluding IRAs. The small estate settlement affidavit attests that the person signing, such as a surviving spouse or child or sole heir according to the will, is entitled to the funds. It should list account numbers and account values and release WSECU (and any other financial institution) from all responsibility once the funds are disbursed. For WSECU accounts, funds may be claimed using our Affidavit to Claim Deceased Member's Personal Property.

Government agency contact information

Social Security Administration

Phone: 800.772.1213 (TTY 800.325.0778)
Hours: 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Monday - Friday

For further information, visit the Social Security Administration website or your local Social Security office.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Phone: 800.827.1000, option 5
Mailing Address:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

Information on reporting the death of a Veteran may be found on the Veterans Affairs website.

Washington State Department of Health

Phone: 360.236.4300
Hours: 9:00 am-2:00 pm, Monday - Friday

Death certificates may be ordered from the Washington State Department of Health website. The mortuary usually places the initial order as part of its services.

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