abrdn Investment Trusts bereavement process

We understand that when dealing with a bereavement, handling the Estate can be stressful, and often involve legal terminology which can be unfamiliar and confusing.

abrdn is here to provide you with support and to make the process as simple and as straightforward as possible. This guide is designed to provide you with useful information needed to administer the parts of the Estate with abrdn and to complement our bereavement service.

It is important to remember that whilst we can provide you with guidance and support regarding our own processes, we are unable to offer any financial, legal or inheritance tax advice. You should discuss this with a Financial Advisor, Solicitor or tax expert. Should you need help locating the relevant professional please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of this guide.

The following information can help you understand what you or your representative (such as your solicitor or financial adviser) should do when dealing with a bereavement.

1. Let us know

When you are able to, and after the death has been formally registered, the first step to take is to notify us that the account holder has passed away. We ask that you send notification in writing as we cannot accept this over the telephone or via email.

Send us the original Death Certificate in order for us to update our records. Please remember that whilst we cannot accept photocopies of the Death Certificate, we will return your original documents within 24 hours by ‘Royal Mail Signed For’.

Your covering letter should include the below information to help us locate the account:

  • The deceased’s name and address
  • Account number (if available)
  • The deceased’s date of birth
  • The deceased’s date of death
  • The deceased’s national insurance number (if available)

Should you have any queries regarding the process, you can also contact us using the details below:

  • Address: abrdn Investment Trusts, PO BOX 11020, CHELMSFOD, ESSEX, CM99 2DB
  • Call: 0808 500 4000 (call charges will vary)
  • Email us at: inv.trusts@abrdn.com. Email communication is not encrypted or secure and it could be intercepted and read. Please do not include any personal or confidential information in any message.
2. We will confirm what you need to do next

We will send you a letter within five working days of us receiving the notification advising you what to do next.

Once we have received all necessary information and documents, as detailed below, we will let you know the options available to you. These options may differ depending on whether you hold a Shareplan, ISA or Investment Plan for Children.

We will also issue a valuation of the deceased's account(s) as at the date of death.

Please remember: The deceased's account will continue to be invested and subject to market fluctuations until the point of repurchase or transfer.

3. Provide us with the right information and documents

If you face any issues when trying to access documents or send them to us, you should phone us for more support.

Information we will need from you:

Documents you will need to provide:

  • Deceased’s full name, date of birth and address
  • Relationship to the deceased of the person notifying us of the bereavement (e.g. spouse/civil partner, executor, solicitor)
  • Contact details of the personal representative/solicitor so we can contact them if required.
  • Original Death Certificate

and one of:

  • Original Grant of Probate/Letter of Administration.
  • Grant of Confirmation.
  • Certificate of Confirmation
  • Small Estates Declaration Form (see FAQ for details)

When sending documents, please include a return address so they can be returned to you. We will return any original documents to you in the post within 24 hours by the ‘Royal Mail Signed For’ service.

Once we have note of the Executor for the deceased, it is worth noting that we must obtain satisfactory evidence of their identity, in order for us to satisfy Anti-Money-Laundering obligations imposed on us by Law. Typically, we will conduct an electronic check of your information, however, if this is unsuccessful, evidence of personal identity and address will be required. The same document cannot be used to cover both types of evidence and they must each come from a different source. If the document is not in English, it will require a translation into English. Certified copies of documentation are also acceptable provided our requirements have been met. For further information please contact our Customer Services Department who can take you through our Anti-Money, Laundering guidelines.

4. Let us know your preferred option and we’ll carry out your instructions

Once we have been provided with the appropriate documentation, we will act as instructed by the Executors for the deceased.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for further information and to help you confirm which documents you may need to send us.

Can I schedule a call with the Bereavement Team?

Once we are in receipt of the Death Certificate, you can schedule a call with our dedicated Bereavement Team, who can provide further information on our processes, please telephone us on 0808 500 4000.

What happens to any regular transactions on the deceased’s account (such as direct credits/debits)?

Upon notification of the death, we will arrange to stop further transactions taking place including regular payments in/out of the account.

What happens if there is a deal in progress when someone dies?

The funds will be held until all required documentation is received along with authority to release the funds.

What happens to a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is no longer valid if the account holder has passed away. If you were appointed as an attorney by the deceased you can no longer rely on the Power of Attorney to access the deceased’s accounts or conduct any other transactions on their behalf.

What happens if a Financial Adviser was attached to the account?

An agreement between client and Financial Adviser is no longer valid if the account holder has passed away. If you were appointed as an agent by the deceased you can no longer rely on the agreement to access the deceased’s accounts or conduct any other transactions on their behalf.

What happens if the account is a joint account?

The investment will pass to any surviving holders on the account.

When can a small estates declaration form be used?

If the total value is worth less than £36,000, we are able to settle accounts using small claims. A small estates declaration form will be required for this.

What is the difference between an Administrator and Executor?

In England and Wales, there is a distinction between ‘administrators’ and ‘executors’. Administrators are appointed in the absence of an executor (where the deceased did not leave a will, the will did not appoint an executor, or the executor is unable or unwilling to act).

In Scotland, there is no such distinction and the personal representative is called an ‘executor’.

What options are available for the investment?

Option 1: Transfer the holding into an account in another name

The deceased's investment can be transferred into a new account in another name.

Option 2: For an ISA account apply for an additional permitted ISA subscription (for deceased's spouse/civil partner only)

The deceased's spouse or civil partner can apply for an additional permitted subscription. This means they can pay in an amount equal to the value of the deceased's ISA (as at the date of death or when the ISA is closed), in addition to their own annual ISA subscription.

Option 3: Sell the investment

The investments can be sold and the money paid out by cheque or into a nominated bank account. A redemption instruction signed by all executors will be required and we may need to verify the bank details further.
How long do transfers to another account take?

Transfers can take up to 30 working days to complete.

Application forms and operating literature

If you require copies of any other application forms or literature, these can be found here.