Bank statements from Woolwich/ Barclays after the account holder has died

I’m the executor, wanting to fill out IHT400 so that I can apply for a grant of probate. I suspect the deceased made lifetime gifts, but need to see his bank statements to check. He used online banking, so there are no paper copies amongst his papers. I’ve therefore asked Barclays/ Woolwich for them, but they are refusing to supply them until I have a grant, telling me that “their other customers don’t ask for this”. Has anyone else had this problem and, if so, what did you do to solve it?

Caroline Furze

Send a letter explaining why it is needed, followed with a letter of complaint after a week or two, it normally works. They DO have the records, whatever they say to the contrary.

Simon Northcott

Rather unhelpfully, pre-death statements are not included in the joint BBA/STEP/Law Society protocol.

I would think that if there are no paper statements, the bank refuses to provide them and possible recipients do not volunteer any information, you have fulfilled your obligations pre-probate and can file the IHT return on that basis. HMRC should not attempt to levy a penalty if a corrective is necessary once probate (and statements) have been obtained.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

Following on from Andrew Goodman’s point, you could always state, in the white space in the IHT400, that you have tried to obtain copy bank statements but have been refused by the bank until after Probate

Graeme Lindop
Coles Miller Solicitors LLP

Thank you very much for these responses. Helpful - and pointing up a downside to going paperless.
Caroline Furze