Unveiling the Mystery of Missing Bank Deposits: How to Recover the Large Sums Left Behind After Death?

In April 2021, an event that caused a stir in Hubei occurred. A depositor had saved 830,000 yuan in the bank, and after several years of passing away, the deposit had been for 11 years, and still no one had come to withdraw it.

What should be done with the money in the bank after a person has passed away? This question concerns the vital interests of many people. Generally, banks will not notify the family, and it is extremely difficult for the family to withdraw money, except in special circumstances, as in the case mentioned above.

The case occurred in a bank in Xiangyang, Hubei. At that time, the bank routinely checked account information and found that a large sum of money had not been moved for 11 years. The bank staff were very surprised, wondering if the owner was too careless, or if they had forgotten about it, or if they were rich and willful?

So, they decided to look for the owner of the deposit. By looking up relevant information, the bank found that the deposit was made in March 2010, and the depositor's name was a female. According to the identity information she left at the bank at that time, the woman was already in her 70s.

At that time, the funds she deposited were 650,000 yuan, with a fixed term of one year. Since the deposit, the account has not been moved, and after 11 years, including principal and interest, the deposit has reached as much as 830,000 yuan. The bank found it incredible that such a large sum of money had been unclaimed for such a long time.

So, they looked up the information reserved by the bank's depositor and finally contacted the depositor's relatives after several twists and turns. When the depositor's family received the news from the bank, they were shocked. They told the bank staff that their mother had passed away 7 or 8 years ago.

She passed away due to illness and did not tell her family that she had a large deposit in the bank. This time, the bank took the initiative to come forward, making them feel extremely happy and full of praise for the bank staff's handling.

After efforts, the family finally withdrew the large sum of money, and netizens congratulated them and praised the bank's approach. However, not every depositor is so lucky.

In March 2022, a villager named Song passed away. He was an unmarried and childless old man who had been supported by his nephew Liu for many years. He had a deposit in the bank. Before he passed away, he had told his nephew about the deposit. After taking care of his uncle's funeral, Liu took Song's deposit book to the bank to withdraw the money.

But when he arrived at the bank, he was told that he could not withdraw the money, and the bank cited the business management regulations as the reason, refusing to handle it.

Similarly, there was a man named Wang Da who had never married and had no children. His parents had six children, four boys and two girls, among whom the eldest son, second son, and third son passed away in 2005, 2020, and 2021, respectively. Wang had a deposit of 400,000 yuan in the Agricultural Bank.

Since he did not make a will or a gift agreement before his death, the 400,000 yuan deposit became an unclaimed inheritance. At this time, the bank did not notify Wang's relatives to come and collect it. Later, when his siblings were cleaning up his estate, they found the passbook, and the two went to the bank to withdraw the money but were refused.

It can be seen that after a person has passed away, if there is a deposit in the bank, the bank generally will not take the initiative to notify the depositor, and even some depositors who go to the bank with the passbook may not be able to withdraw the money as they wish. Why is this the case?

Why is there money in the bank that no one knows about?

In our view, money is the capital of a family. There may be various thoughts when depositing money in the bank. Some people want to save money for their old age, and some people want to make a profit from financial management. Everyone has different ideas, and they may not necessarily tell their family when depositing money.

Especially the elderly at home, fearing that money will cause family disputes, would rather deposit money quietly and not tell their family. Some elderly people are bachelors, with no spouse or children, and suddenly pass away without anyone knowing that they have money in the bank. Another situation is that the elderly were clear-minded when depositing money, but later, due to health issues, they forgot about the deposit, so no one knows about the money in the bank.

What should be done with the money in the bank after a person has passed away?

It can be affirmed that banks will not take the initiative to find customers, unless, like the lady in Hubei, the deposit is very large and has not been moved for many years, and it just happens to be found during the bank's account check.

Banks do not look for customers, not intentionally, for the following reasons:

1. Banks have very limited access to customer information and cannot know if the customer has passed away

As we all know, there are two ways to deposit money in the bank: one is to deposit money at a self-service bank deposit machine. As long as you insert your bank card into the ATM, follow the prompts, enter your bank card password, click on "I want to deposit," the machine's withdrawal port will automatically open. You just need to neatly put the sorted money into the deposit port and click confirm. At this time, the system will count the amount and then prompt you with the total deposit amount. After you confirm, press print receipt, then take out the deposit receipt, click take card, and it's done.

In this way of depositing money, the bank does not know any information about the customer, except for the ID number that needs to be provided when applying for a bank card. Bank staff cannot update the customer's identity, appearance, age, and health status in real-time.

The second way to deposit money is at the counter. At this time, bank staff often ask depositors to bring their ID cards. Depositors first take a queue number, and under the guidance of bank security or hall managers, they fill out a deposit slip. The deposit slip needs to fill in the deposit date, bank card number, cardholder's name, deposit amount, and other information.

After filling in the above information, bring the money to be deposited, your ID card, and the deposit slip to the counter staff. This way of depositing money, bank staff may get a little more information, in addition to the deposit date, amount, and ID number, they can also see the approximate age and height of the depositor, have a certain impression of the depositor, and the counter's real-time monitoring will also capture the scene of his deposit.

But it is limited to this information. After the depositor has deposited the money, generally, the bank will not track the depositor. Their business is so busy that they cannot verify the subsequent information of the depositor one by one, so they cannot know whether the depositor has passed away. Naturally, they cannot notify the depositor's relatives to withdraw money.

2. Banks cannot obtain information about the depositor's family

Due to the extremely limited information the depositor leaves with the bank, in addition to his ID number, there is no other information that can confirm his identity. If it is the depositor himself who goes to the bank to deposit money, the information is even more limited. If it was their relatives who deposited money on their behalf, the bank also has the agent's ID information.

But under special circumstances, banks generally do not check customers' deposits every day. Banks check deposits at the end of each month for the purpose of checking accounts, adjusting bank deposit balances, and not for checking how much customers have deposited.

Therefore, if the customer's deposit amount is large and has not been moved for many years, and there is no fund inflow and outflow in the account, it is not easy for the bank to check it out. So generally, banks will not take the initiative to notify the deceased's family to withdraw money.

How is the money in the bank to be handled after a person has passed away?

Many people have concerns and worries about what would happen if a family member has money in the bank, and after they pass away, no one in the family is aware of it. Will the bank embezzle the money?

You can rest assured that if a person has passed away and the deposit is unclaimed, the bank still has the right to use the funds. They can lend the money out to earn interest. However, they cannot claim it as their own. After a period, they will check the bank's deposits.

These deposits are mainly divided into two categories: one is claimed deposits, and the other is unclaimed deposits.

Claimed deposits mean that there are heirs to the deposit. Although the depositor has passed away, his direct or collateral relatives are still alive, and these people are the heirs of the deposit. They will be the owners of the deposit. Once the heirs have completed various procedures, they can withdraw the money from the bank with proof.

Unclaimed deposits are those where the depositor has passed away and there are no heirs to claim them, or they have been unclaimed for a long time. If it is abroad, foreign banks will transfer these unclaimed deposits to a third party, who will look for the owner of the deposit to confirm whether there is an owner. If there is really no owner, the deposit will be used for public welfare.

The treatment of unclaimed deposits by banks in our country is governed by law. The Regulations on Savings Management promulgated in 1993 state that if the owner of an unclaimed deposit has passed away and there are no heirs or will, it will be certified by the local public security organs. If the depositor's deposit belongs to employees of state organs or mass organizations, it will be turned over to the state treasury and become state-owned. If the depositor is a rural elderly person without support, and their funeral affairs are handled by the village, then their deposit will be disposed of by the village.

How can the depositor's family withdraw money for claimed deposits?

  1. If the family knows the deposit password, they can directly withdraw at the counter machine with the depositor's bank card. This is the simplest and most convenient method, and no proof is required.
  2. If a person has passed away and there is a deposit in the bank, it is necessary to find the heir. The heir will be divided into first and second order heirs according to the inheritance law of our country. The first order heirs are the deceased's spouse, children, parents, etc.

If the first order heir cannot be found, then the second order heir will be sought. Only when the heir is found can the money be withdrawn according to the method of estate distribution.

At this time, the bank requires proof such as the deceased's death certificate, household registration book, marriage certificate, child's birth certificate, and the legal heir's inheritance right certificate, etc. The withdrawer also needs to bring their own valid ID card to the notary office for a notarized certificate or to the court for a legal document. With these documents, the money can be smoothly withdrawn.

  1. If the deceased made a will before their death, it is also an important certificate for the heir to withdraw money from the bank. As long as the will is legal and valid, the bank generally will not refuse.

The latter two examples written above are because the heir could not prove their legal inheritance right or did not provide a notarized certificate from the notary office, so the bank can directly refuse the other party to withdraw money, which is to protect the legal rights and interests of the depositor and the legal heir.

In conclusion:

People have life, aging, illness, and death. The savings of a lifetime's struggle are deposited in the bank, not brought in when born, and not taken when dead. However, we still hope that this deposit can find its owner. If the deposit is unclaimed, the court will also issue a notice. After the notice is one year old, if still unclaimed, the deposit will be turned over to the state treasury and owned by the collective or the state.

In summary, the bank will not notify the relatives to come forward to claim it, of course, it is also impossible to claim the money as their own. If this phenomenon is found, it can be reported directly to the police.

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