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Guidance when a person close to me passes away
Whilst we understand that this is a difficult time and we try our best to offer any assistance which the family might need, there are a number of things which need to be handled as soon as possible.
Guidance when a person close to me passes away

The death of someone you care for can be very distressing. It is natural to have strong reactions when someone you love or is close to you passes away. It takes time to get over the death of someone you love. 

Whilst we understand that this is a difficult time and we try our best to offer any assistance which the family might need, there are a number of things which need to be handled as soon as possible.

One should note that, as a general rule, following death, the assets and liabilities of the deceased pass on to his/her heirs. Consequently, at the moment of death, the situation is crystallized and no transactions can be carried out until the heirs are identified.

Therefore, all institutions with which the deceased held assets or liabilities are to be informed of the death and presented with a copy of the parish priest’s death certificate. We will ensure that this information is internally circulated to  the relevant units  within  BOV and that all the effects held with us in the deceased’s name are blocked.

One should also register the death at the Public Registry at Evans Buildings, Merchants Street, Valletta. A death certificate will be issued circa four weeks after this registration. Since the death certificate is required by a number of institutions, it is recommended to order more than one certificate. 

In the meantime, the Bank, on receipt of a request in writing from the heirs or their representative (lawyer or notary public) will pay the funeral expenses directly out of the available deposits of the deceased unless there is a legal impediment. 

In view of the above, upon notification of a death, the Bank takes the following immediate actions : 

  • It blocks the accounts in the sole name of the deceased and those held jointly with others. If the account is a current account, you will need to return the cheque book to the Bank. Note, that the Bank cannot honour any cheques presented for payment after it has notified with the demise of the account holder ;
  • Standing orders and direct credits and debits are automatically terminated. You should make alternative arrangements for important payments to continue to be made;
  • Credit and debit cards are stopped and should be returned to the Bank;
  • Balances in loans, overdrafts and any other credit facilities are crystallised. Kindly approach your Branch manager to discuss how to settle such balances, if they are in debit;
  • Holdings in collective investment schemes, shares and bonds, and items in safe deposit/custody are likewise blocked.
  • The Bank will not block any deposits in the name of the widow/widower alone. However items in safe deposit/custody are blocked, even if in the name of the widow/widower alone.

In order to obtain release of blocked assets, the heirs usually appoint a lawyer or notary public to handle matters on their behalf and submit the required documentation. The necessary documents consist of the Bank’s form for the release of the deceased’s estate (Leg 30) accompanied by the following documents (originals or certified copies). 

  1. The death certificate
  2. A search of public wills from Public Registry
  3. A search for secret wills from the Second Hall, Civil Court
  4. The will/s, if any
  5. If the deceased did not leave a will, a list of heirs (to be completed by the lawyer or notary presenting the file or by any other person, acceptable to the Bank, who knows the family well). Depending on the value of the assets of the deceased, we may require an Opening of Succession which is a procedure whereby the Court of Voluntary Jurisdiction declares who is entitled to the assets.
  6. Disposal instructions signed by all the heirs (Leg 20) – optional. 

There may be situations where the Bank would require further information, clarification and /or documentation depending on the circumstances of each case.

Once the Bank has confirmed the identity of the rightful heirs in terms of law, we will inform the lawyer/notary that the heirs may call at any BOV branch in order to sign the applicable forms and obtain release of the deceased’s assets.

Once the funds of the deceased are released to the rightful heirs at law, our dedicated personnel would be happy to help you regarding any queries you may have,  please do not hesitate to contact any one of the Bank’ staff to help you with any investment of such funds that you may wish to make.

Life Insurance Policies

If the assets of the deceased include a life insurance policy in the name of the deceased, a claim will need to be made. How to proceed will depend on whether the policy is securing (by pledge) a debt of the deceased or of a third party.

If the policy is not pledged, the heirs or their representative should take up the matter directly with the insurance company.

If the policy is pledged, the bank in whose favour the pledge is granted, will handle the claim, obtain payment from the insurance company, attribute the proceeds against the debts secured by the pledge and the remaining amount, if any, will be held at the disposal of the heirs, to be disposed of in accordance with the above. 

The insurance company will normally request the same documents presented to the Bank but may require some additional documentation, including:-

 

  • the detailed death certificate (showing the cause of death)
  • the original policy document (including pledge form, if applicable)
  • the claim form
  • a copy of the deceased’s identity card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a public limited company regulated by the MFSA and is licensed to carry out the business of banking and investment services in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta) and the Investment Services Act (Cap.370. of the Laws of Malta).