What to do after a bereavement

We want to make the process as clear and simple as possible


The five steps below can help you understand what you or your representative (like your solicitor or financial adviser) should do after a loved one passes away.

This process is for customers using Wrap and Fundzone only.

1. Let us know

How to contact us

You can inform us of a bereavement by letter, email or telephone.

You can also nominate someone else for us to share information with, if required.

  • Phone 0345 279 1001 (call charges may vary)
  • Email platforms_deceasedaccounts@abrdn.com
  • Write to us at abrdn Client Servicing, Sunderland, SR43 4EE

What you’ll need to tell us

When you contact us, we will need information about the deceased and about you.

About the deceased

  • Account number/s (if you have them)
  • Full name
  • Full address (last known)
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • If there is a surviving spouse or civil partner
  • If a Will was left (we will require the original or a certified copy later)
  • If Probate will be applied for

About you (or the executor if there is one)

  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Best daytime contact phone number
  • Email address
  • Relationship to account holder
  • Preferred method of contact (phone, email, post)
  • Contact details for the personal representative / solicitor (if known)

2. What we’ll do once we’re notified

  • We will stop all withdrawals and contributions on all products in the account.
  • We will halt all trading. Any funds that cannot be held on Platform are sold into cash (such as portfolios managed by discretionary managers)
  • If we have a relationship with the deceased, we will inform the appropriate individual(s)

For Wrap cash, Personal Portfolio, ISA, Offshore Bond, Onshore Bond investments

We will stop charges on the account from date of death.

These products may remain invested until we receive instructions from the executor.

Please note that if a bond is held solely in the same of the deceased (single life) then the bonds will be terminated, and the monies held. But if the bond has surviving joint members, then the product and charges will continue.

For self-invested personal pension (SIPP) investments

The administrator of the pension scheme will sell all viable funds into cash and stop charges (including adviser charges) from date of death. But some charges, such as property charges, may continue.

3. Legal documents we’ll need to complete processing

In all cases, we will require a Registrar’s copy of the Death Certificate or an Interim Death Certificate.

The documents we need will depend on where the death occurred, which products were held and the value of investments held. We will let you know what you need to provide, but you can find a summary of what these documents might be below.

If death in England / Wales / Ireland

We will require the Death Certificate and:

  • If the account value at date of death is less than £75k, or there are less than £15k of Onshore Bonds, we will also need the Form of Indemnity and Certified copy of Will.
  • If the account value at date of death is more than £75k, or there are more than £15k of Onshore Bonds, we will also need the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

If death in Scotland

We will require the Death Certificate and:

  • If the account value at date of death is less than £75k, or there are less than £15k of Onshore Bonds, we will also need the Form of Indemnity and Certified copy of Will.
  • If the account value at date of death is more than £75k, or there are more than £15k of Onshore Bonds, we will also need the Certificate of Confirmation or Letters of Administration.

How we return documents

When sending documents, please include a return address so we can return any original documents and Registrar’s copies to you in the post by recorded delivery as quickly as possible.

Other copies of documents are not returned, unless requested.

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

4. We’ll let you know about your options

Once we have received all required legal documentation, we will issue the following information within ten working days:

  • The valuation of the deceased’s account at the date of death.
  • The Requirements Letter, detailing the options available.
  • The Settlement forms for the executor to instruct us how to settle the account.

Please note that these will only be issued to the person/s dealing with the administration of the estate (or their representatives).

What will the options be?

Generally, products can be processed in three ways:

  • Encashment - this is where investments are sold down into cash and then paid either to a verified bank account, a different abrdn account or to the account of another provider.
  • In-specie Transfer – this is where investments are moved (re-registered) from the deceased’s account to a different abrdn account or to the account of a third party. This option usually takes around 30 working days to complete.
  • Combinations of the above are also possible.

For ISAs, there may also be an option for a surviving spouse to apply for an Additional Permitted Subscription, providing them with extra ISA allowance and increasing their contribution limit.

This extra allowance will be the same as the amount in the deceased’s ISA on date of death or the value of the ISA when it ceases to be a Continuing ISA.

This can be applied for using the Additional Permitted Subscription application form.

If this is part of a transfer to an external provider, we will contact the provider on the recipient’s behalf.

5. Tell us your preferred option and we’ll carry out your instructions

For products within the deceased’s estate, you must give instructions to us using the Settlement Form we send you. This must be signed by all executors.

Because of this, the value of the account at date of death may be different to the value of the account at date of settlement. The exception to this is with any SIPP investments as these are not included in the estate.

Once settlement has completed, we will issue the Confirmation Letter, detailing what has been done.

We’ll also start monitoring the deceased’s account to check for residual monies for 13 months. This could include incidental payments that may be made into the accounts, like outstanding dividend payments. We will process these payments as per the instructions in the Settlement Form.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will usually need a Grant of Representation (Probate) or Letter of Administration if the estate:

  • Was held by the deceased only (not held in joint names)
  • Includes land, property, or shares (investments)

Where you are not applying for Probate, we are able to settle accounts using small claims on values up to £75,000 for the Wrap Cash, Personal Portfolio, or ISA products. For Onshore Bonds, Probate is required for values over £15k.
What is required to pay Inheritance Tax and what we need from you to process IHT payments.

  • Letter requesting us to pay IHT.
  • Copy of IHT423 form-this will include the IHT amount and the IHT reference number. Click here
  • We will use any available cash on the account towards IHT, but we should be instructed which other funds are to be sold to make up the proceeds.
  • Once cash is available, we will make the payment directly to HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) using the IHT reference number provided.

Please note there is no timely execution on how quickly we need to make an IHT payment, we will try to get it done as soon as possible but cannot guarantee it will be done in a certain timescale. Please allow our normal turnaround times for completion
The documents which we can accept a certified copy of are listed below:

  • Death certificate
  • Will
  • Coroner’s Certificate

Documents should be posted to us. Alternatively, if the deceased’s financial adviser is dealing with the account on your behalf, they can upload the documents to the Platform and contact us to let us know they are available.
As per Government guidance, to certify a document you can ask a professional person or someone well-respected in your community ('of good standing') such as a:

  • Financial adviser (regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority)
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Bank or Building Society official (e.g., counter staff, manager etc.) certified at a branch of a bank or building society
  • Barrister Civil Servant (permanent)
  • Commissioner of Oaths Councillor (Local or County)
  • General Practitioner (GP), Consultant or Medical Professional
  • Justice of the Peace Member of Parliament
  • Minister of a recognised religion
  • Nurse (NHS)
  • Notary Officer of the Armed Services (active)
  • Police or Customs Officer
  • Postmaster or Sub Postmaster
  • Social worker
  • Solicitor
  • Teacher or lecturer
We require the certifier to have seen the original and to write the following phrase and information below on each page of the document they are certifying:

  • 'I certify this to be a true copy of the original'
  • Signature of certifier
  • Full name of certifier (must be readable)
  • Position / job title
  • Employer’s name and address (must be readable)
  • Date
We cannot accept certified copies (e.g., a Will) by anyone who is:

  • Related to you
  • Living at the same address
  • In a relationship with you.
Yes, but only the executors can instruct us to make an ad-hoc payment (adviser charge) to the financial adviser.
We will arrange to stop further transactions taking place including regular payments in/out of the account.
Ownership of the account will automatically pass to the remaining joint account holder. Due to the way the account was originally created, the deceased’s name will continue to appear on any statements or other correspondence sent from the Wrap account. If you want the assets transferred to an individual account, your financial adviser can action this.
We'll pay the money by bank transfer (electronic payment) into a verified bank account, nominated by the executor/personal representative.
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.