In most instances, it is the responsibility of the Executor of a Will to ensure that all bills are paid from a final Estate and that it is distributed according to the wishes of the deceased.
Following the normal rules of probate, once the death certificate and Grant of Probate has been received, the Executor can begin to manage the deceased's bank accounts and once all tasks have been carried out, finally close those accounts.
However, death is not always that straightforward and in some cases, it may take some time to investigate and agree upon the cause.
It is common for those who have died in hospital, to have an autopsy performed and for an inquest to be held. In cases such as these, when it could be several months before the final death certificate is issued, the Coroner's Office will often provide an interim death certificate, so that probate is not unduly delayed.
This interim death certificate is a vital document, which will allow the Executor to go about their duties and ensure that the probate process is continuing whilst the investigation is taking place. Creditors, government agencies and banks will accept this in lieu of the final death certificate and so the Executor will be able to withdraw funds from the deceased's bank account and close it down, using this document alone.
Should the total value of the deceased's Estate not exceed £5000, then the interim death certificate will allow the Executor to withdraw funds and close the account without a supporting Grant of Probate.