From a pragmatic point of view, it makes sense for the surviving joint account holder to not take steps to inform the bank of the death until such times as they have sufficient funds in a sole bank account for their immediate needs.As long as the balance on the account is reasonable (banks vary from £5k to £15, from personal experience), they will allow the transfer to sole name on confirmation of death. This size of balance is usually enough for immediate needs, and most would be advised not to keep a balance much higher in the first place.On the other hand, if the account balance is higher, you may well find that it will cost you, in the form of higher legal fees to sort out the probate, which is why they restrict access to higher balance accounts. Having lawyers dealing with the issue of who withdrew what money for what purpose will cost in extra fees; doing it yourself will cause more recording for you.The reason that they freeze the account on larger balances is to cover themselves in case of a dispute between the executors and the surviving account holder- most banks will freeze an account in cases of dispute.As the main concern of the OP was whether to change things to make sure that DDs, etc., are paid, there are likely to be no issues. (Even if it is not freed up, the bank should still honour DDs previously set up, so if there was an issue of access, the survivor should just arrange credits to be paid to an alternate account and ensure that sufficient funds are paid into the account to cover DDs or ask the companies to move the DDs to the new account.)As I said, the one issue would be over high balances, which I would tend to avoid for security reasons in the first place, as DDs are normally set up on current accounts, which are more open to fraud.Years ago, when accounts were routinely blocked until probate, my parents used to have separate 'running away' accounts which were really meant to cover short term bills in case one passed away. When my father died a couple of years ago, this was proven unnecessary when the bank simply changed the main joint bank account to my mother's sole name.Lost
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