Account Settlement: After the Loss of a Loved One
Visions Federal Credit Union extends our condolences to your family.
We understand this can be a difficult and overwhelming time, but remember you’re not alone. You can lean on us for guidance as you navigate the account settlement process.
The information below is for informational purposes only and not intended to provide legal, tax, financial planning, or investment advice. Please seek the advice from legal, financial, and tax professional’s advisors with the respect to any issue or problem you may encounter during the settlement process.
We recommend that you settle your loved one’s account(s) as soon as possible and request that you close the decedent’s primary accounts with us no later than six months following the notification of death. We are required to continue to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the decedent’s Social Security Number (SSN) until the account is closed. By taking prompt action, you can avoid complications resulting from continuous IRS reporting under the deceased’s SSN. We cannot predict how long it will take for an account to settle without understanding the scope of an individual’s circumstances.
If you’re looking into this guide proactively, then you may want to consider contacting our Trust department or Visions Investment Services to explore additional options for managing or protecting your loved one’s assets. Additional information also available through our Contact Center by calling 800.242.2120.
*Please keep in mind that Power of Attorney is voided upon death of the individual*
Getting Started: What You Need to Know
What is the first step?
Inform us of the member’s passing and we’ll initiate the account settlement process. You can either call us at 800.242.2120 or stop into a local branch.
We recommend that you notify Visions, as well as any other financial institutions with which the decedent had a relationship, of the account holder’s passing as soon as possible, then complete the settlement process within six months. This helps to protect the decedent's accounts from potential fraud and tax complications. Visions is required to continue to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the decedent’s Social Security number (SSN) until the account is closed. By taking prompt action, you may avoid tax reporting complications with the IRS.
What kinds of documentation will I need?
We’ll ask you to provide the following, if applicable.
- Death Certificate – Must be an original certified copy, not a photocopy
- Letters of Administration (if applicable) – If no Will exists, or if there is no living executor, the probate court will issue this documentation granting executor authority
- Letters of Testamentary (if applicable) – This is a document from the probate court giving authority to the executor of the estate
- Small Estate Affidavit (if applicable) – This document is used to request payment from a decedent’s individual account.
- New Jersey state tax document (if applicable)
- Copy of the paid Pennsylvania funeral bill (if applicable)
*An affidavit is a notarized, sworn, and written declaration made before an official authority, such as a judge of the court or notary public. The affidavit states that there was no estate established, according to the bylaws of the state in which the deceased member resided. It also states who is entitled to the funds such as a surviving spouse or child.
The process may vary, but many precautions are taken to protect the decedent’s assets and ensure that only authorized individuals are performing transactions.
Here's what changes:
- Access to decedent's accounts is limited
- ATM is unavailable
- Express Deposit is unavailable
- Shared Branching is unavailable
- Safe deposit box is sealed and access is restricted
- Digital banking is restricted to inquiries only
- Automatic payments stop processing to Visions loans
- Certificate dividends remain in the share certificate and will not automatically transfer to another account
It’s important to note, Power of Attorney is only valid until a person has passed away. Therefore, all Powers of Attorney are voided at the start of the account settlement process.
How long does account settlement take?
Without understanding the scope of an individual’s circumstances, we can’t predict how long it will take for an account to settle. However, we recommend that you settle your loved one’s assets as soon as possible and request that you please close their associated accounts with us no later than six months following the news of their passing.
Settling Different Account Types
Checking, Savings, Money Markets
Accounts with no joint account holders are closed and all funds are distributed to the estate once all the proper documents are provided.
Accounts with joint account holders remain open until we receive all proper documentation regarding the primary member’s death. Surviving joint owners can continue to use the account with limitations, but the account will need to be closed eventually.
- Joint owners on the account may continue to write checks, make deposits, and withdraw funds at any Visions branch. Transactions or items in the decedent's name may be subject to return.
Certificates without joint account holders are closed and all funds are distributed to the estate without penalty.
Certificates with designated beneficiaries are paid out with valid identification upon receipt of all proper documentation.
Certificates with a joint account holder or can be settled as follows:
- Funds can be transferred to a new certificate under the joint account holder’s primary account with the same dividend rate and maturity date as the original certificate share
- The certificate can be closed without penalty
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
An IRA Specialist will reach out to beneficiaries via postal mail to inform them of their options for the inherited funds based on their relationship to the decedent.
- A spouse may collect the decedent’s IRA funds as a taxable withdrawal or may directly transfer the funds into their own IRA without being taxed on the transfer
- A non-spouse beneficiary may collect the decedent’s IRA funds as a taxable withdrawal or may directly transfer the funds into an inherited/beneficiary IRA without being taxed on the transfer
The following are required to disburse or transfer the inherited IRA:
- Death Certificate
- Valid photo ID of the beneficiary
- Complete a Transfer of Assets Form from the receiving financial institution that establishes the inherited/beneficiary IRA
- Work with our IRA Specialist to process the IRA death claim
Safe Deposit Boxes
A Safe Deposit Box in a decedent’s name is sealed and access is restricted. Deputies may have supervised access to examine and make copies of documents relating to the decedent’s wishes upon death.
The following are required to remove the contents from and close a Safe Deposit Box:
- Death Certificate
- Surrogate’s Court Order explicitly approving access OR Letters of Testamentary OR Letters of Administration (if applicable)
- Valid identification
Automated Clearing House (ACH) – Payments, Transfers, and Deposits
Automatic Payments and Transfers
ACH payments and debits may continue to process to other companies. You’ll need to notify the other companies about the person’s passing and advise them to stop pulling the automatic payments because the account is being closed.
Companies may include:
- Utility companies
- Cell phone providers
- Cable/internet providers
- Credit card companies
- Mortgage holder
- Insurance companies
- Loan or lease companies
- Gym memberships
- TV or music streaming services
- E-Z Pass or parking services
Likewise, you’ll want to notify the organizations that electronically deposit funds into the decedent’s accounts.
Here are some deposits that may require action:
- Pension or 401(k) payments
- Social Security
- Other federal or state recurring deposits
For Social Security and federal programs, call 800-772-1213 or visit the SSA website.
Credit Cards, Loans, and Mortgages
Consumer Loans: Personal, Auto, Home Improvement, etc.
During the account settlement, coverage payments from CUNA Mutual Group’s Debt Protection will be applied to the date of death loan balance. Contact CUNA to start payment coverage claim: 844.707.4964.
- Outstanding loan balances belonging to a deceased member will become the financial responsibility of the joint borrower or the member’s estate, and the estate executor or administrator should pay off all existing loan balances.
- The outstanding loan balance can be transferred to the joint borrower's primary account with the same interest rate and maturity date as the original loan
- In instances where there is no joint borrower or the estate is declared insolvent, the loan will be referred to our Member Solutions department for further action
- If a joint borrower dies, the primary borrower on the loan is still financially obligated for the debt.
Credit Cards and Readi Reserves
If the deceased was the Primary cardholder/borrower without a joint borrower:
- The account is closed
- Authorized users no longer have access to funds
- Automatic payments are canceled
If there is a joint cardholder/borrower on the line of credit:
- The joint borrower may apply to become the primary cardholder/borrower
- Any unpaid balance on the account becomes the joint borrower’s responsibility
- Automatic payments are canceled
Real Estate Lending: Mortgages, Home Equity Loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit
In the event of the death of the joint borrower, the primary borrower on the loan is still financially obligated for the debt
In the event of the death of the primary borrower, the outstanding loan balances become the responsibility of the joint borrower or the member’s estate. The outstanding loan balance can be transferred to the joint borrowers primary account with the same terms, conditions, and maturity date as set forth in the note.
If there is no joint borrower, the estate is responsible for the outstanding loan balance.
In instances where there is no joint borrower or the estate is declared insolvent, the loan will be referred to our Member Solutions department for further action.
Social Security Administration
Visions Federal Credit Union
24 McKinley Ave
Endicott NY 13760
Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday, 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM