Procedures for bank accounts following death vary regionally. In some areas, bank accounts are automatically frozen after a death. Some banks do not freeze the account if it is a joint account. To avoid any complications, the bank should be notified immediately. The bank employees will guide you through the next steps from there. Ask for the estates person at the lending institution as they usually have a few people assigned to perform this task for customers. It’s recommended that a joint account stay open for at least six months to allow you to deposit any cheques that are made out to the deceased. To take a name off a joint bank account, banks require a certified copy of a death certificate. If the deceased had a safety deposit box in a bank, the contents may be sealed after death and a certified copy of a death certificate will be required to gain access to the contents.