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Procedures for bank accounts following death vary regionally. In some areas, bank accounts are automatically frozen after a death. To avoid any complications, the bank should be notified immediately. The bank employees will guide you through the next steps from there. 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.