I’m handling my dad’s estate. How do I open an estate account?

When my father passed away, his bank account was $64 in overdraft. I applied for the CPP death benefit. Service Canada said I need to open an estate account to deposit the cheque they’ll send. How do I do that?



Sointula, BC

An estate account is a temporary account that’s used to manage estate funds. It allows you to deposit income, pay expenses, and distribute money on behalf of an estate. An estate is made up of certain assets and debts of the deceased person. 

You can open an estate account at a bank or financial institution. The deceased person doesn’t need to have a bank account there. But this may have some practical benefits.

Here are some steps you can take to open an estate account:

  • Call around to see what local BC banks will allow you to open an estate account. 

  • Decide what kind of estate account you need. Chequing accounts are useful for everyday transactions. Depending on the nature of the estate assets, a savings or other type of account might be appropriate.

  • Check what information or documents the bank will need from you to open the account. They will likely require an original or notarized copy of the death certificate. If there’s a will, the bank will want to see it. Typically, a bank will also want to see a grant of probate or a grant of administration. For small estates (less than $25,000), they may not need to see a grant. It’s up to the bank to set their rules around this. 

  • Check what documentation the bank needs in order to release money from the account. This may differ from what it requires to simply open the account. The bank will want to make sure it’s handing over money to the right person.

Fausta L. Mauro

Fausta L. Mauro

Warner Bandstra Brown
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in October 2023

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