The procedures for handling bank accounts after a death vary by state and region. In some regions, bank accounts are automatically frozen after a death. To avoid any complications, you should notify the financial institution immediately of a death. You should also request the procedures for releasing funds, and how to set up a new account for funds received after the death. It’s recommended that a joint account stay open for at least six months to allow you to deposit any checks that are made out to the deceased. To remove a name from a joint account, financial institutions require a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate. If the deceased had a safety deposit box at a bank or credit union, the contents may be sealed after death and a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate will be required to gain access to the contents.