As soon as banks are notified of a decease, they automatically block the deceased’s bank accounts. This is meant to protect the heirs until they are all identified. To unblock the accounts (as well as the deposit boxes, if there are any), the heirs have to provide a certificate of heredity, or, in some cases, an act of heredity.
The certificate of heredity is a document that establishes the identity of a deceased's heirs.
To obtain such a certificate, the ad hoc form must be filed to the appropriate Office of Legal Security. You will have to provide the following documents:
an original extract of the death certificate (this document is issued by the municipal administration);
the marriage certificate of the deceased;
a copy of the marriage records of his or her close family (parents, brothers and sisters), if the deceased leaves no descendant.
In your request, please specify the full identity of all heirs.
After examining your application and the requested documents, the Legal Security Office will issue you with the certificate of inheritance, which may mention any paid or unpaid debts.
In Belgium, to obtain this document, please allow approximately 4 weeks for processing. Once received, present the certificate of heredity to the deceased's bank in order to proceed with the unblocking of the bank accounts.
Even if obtaining a certificate of heredity is free, in Belgium, the process may take longer than 4 weeks, especially nowadays: indeed, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering the heirs and travelling is much more complicated.
That is why our advisors would be delighted to help you with the various administrative steps that follow the decease of a loved one. Should you have any question on the support that we offer, do not hesitate to contact us.