5 Best Banks for Estate Accounts: Fees, Minimums, etc Detailed

Banker helping a woman open an estate account

You can open an estate account at a bank when a person passes (with or without a will) to liquidate the estate and distribute it to heirs.

Most banks offer estate account services for large estates under their Wealth Management or Private Bank departments.

If the decedent had a trust account, then the trust account can be converted to an estate account, making the process easier. (For more information about trust accounts, see our list of the best banks for trust accounts.)

Estate accounts generally have a minimum account amount. For smaller estates, a basic checking account is usually sufficient; you can open one at almost any bank. In that case, there are usually few, if any, additional fees involved.

Below, we’ve compiled our list of the best banks for estate accounts. To get the details on opening an estate account with these banks, we spoke to customer service representatives and advisors at each of the banks listed.

What You Need to Open an Estate Account

To open an estate account, you will generally need the death certificate of the decedent as well as the person’s full legal name and Social Security number.

If the person passed without a will and the estate goes to probate, you will usually need to present the court/probate documents.

You will also need proof of the assets, including verification of market value. Banks may require you to obtain an appraisal of assets to verify the current market value.

Note that additional fees other than those listed below may apply for additional services, including but not limited to litigation, liquidating business interests, real estate management, and complex tax audits.

What We Recommend

J.P. Morgan tops our list of the best banks for estate accounts due to it not having a minimum deposit amount and the options it offers for account types.

Although all the banks on our list offer ways to avoid monthly fees, PNC Bank is the best option if low fees are most important to you. This is because it has one of the lowest fees on our list at $7 a month and because it has so many ways to avoid this charge.

Comparison Table

You can use the table below to compare each bank’s minimum account amount and fee range. Sort by any column using the arrows at the top of the column. You can also select each bank’s name or scroll to the list below for more information.

Bank Account Minimum Administration Fees
Bank of America$100 $12 monthly
U.S. Bank$25 $7 monthly
J.P. MorganNo set minimum $12-$25 monthly
Wells Fargo$25 $5-$35 monthly
PNC$25 $7 monthly

The List

In comparing these banks, we considered minimum account amounts and fees.

Bank representatives told us they generally process estate accounts as they would general checking accounts, so amounts and fees are similar or the same in most circumstances.

We’ve ordered the list beginning with the most highly recommended.

J.P. Morgan logo

J.P. Morgan

  • Minimum account amount: No minimum amount[1][2]
  • Estate account fees:
    • Total account-$12 monthly fee; waived if this account’s balance is at least $1,500 at the start of each day or you receive direct deposits of at least $500 monthly[1][3]
    • Premier Plus account-$25 monthly fee; waived for military members, customers with a combination of qualifying accounts totaling an average of $15,000 at the beginning of each day, or customers with a qualifying linked Chase first mortgage enrolled in automatic payments[1][4]
    • Sapphire account-$25 monthly fee; waived if your average for any combination of this account with qualifying linked accounts averages a beginning balance of at least $75,000[1][5]
  • Required documents:
    • Copy of death certificate
    • Copy of court appointment of administrator/executor; must be no more than a year old (for most account types)
    • Payment distribution forms (for most account types)
    • W8-BEN (for IRA or TOD accounts only)[6]
  • Find out more

PNC Bank logo

PNC

  • Minimum account amount: $25[7][8]
  • Estate account fees: $7 monthly fee; waived if account retains an average of at least $500,[7]┬áthe account receives at least $500 in qualifying monthly direct deposits, account is linked as a benefit account to your Performance Select checking, customer is at least 62 years old, or customer is a PNC employee[8]
  • Required documents:
  • Find out more

US Bank logo

U.S. Bank

  • Minimum account amount: $25[10][11]
  • Estate account fees: $7 monthly fee; waived for customers 65 or older, if direct deposits equal $1,000 or more monthly, or if account balance averages at least $1,500[10][12]
  • Required documents:
    • Death certificate or other proof of death
    • Documentation of accounts within the bank
    • Proof of the person to act with authority over affairs, estate, or trust
    • Home mortgage or loan account documentation, if available
    • Valid form of ID[13]
  • Find out more

Bank of America logo

Bank of America

  • Minimum account amount: $100[14][15]
  • Estate account fees: $12 monthly fee; waived for maintaining a balance of $1,500 or more, or if receiving direct deposits[16]))[17]
  • Required documents:
    • Death certificate
    • Full name of deceased
    • Deceased’s social security number
    • May need estate affidavit
    • May need Letters of Administration or Testamentary[18]
  • Find out more

Wells Fargo logo

Wells Fargo

  • Minimum account amount: $25[19][20]
  • Estate account fees: Varies from $5-$35 monthly depending on account type (can be waived in specific requirements for each account type are met)[21]
  • Required documents:
    • Certified copy of death certificate
    • Deceased’s full name
    • Deceased’s social security number
    • For individual accounts-Court appointment of administrator/executor or small estate affidavit
    • For joint accounts/accounts with named beneficiaries-Identification for account holders or beneficiaries[22]
  • Find out more
  1. J.P. Morgan estate specialist[][][][]
  2. Chase Facebook Messenger chat[]
  3. https://www.chase.com/personal/checking/total-checking[]
  4. https://www.chase.com/personal/checking/premier-plus-checking[]
  5. https://www.chase.com/personal/fees/sapphire-checking[]
  6. https://www.chase.com/personal/estate-services/jpmorgan-securities-customers[]
  7. PNC Bank branch customer service[][]
  8. https://www.pnc.com/content/dam/pnc-com/pdf/personal/service-charges-fees-non-vw/all-ServiceChargesA.pdf[][]
  9. https://www.pnc.com/content/dam/pnc-com/pdf/personal/HomeLending/UnderstandingHomeLending/Successor%20Validation%20Package%20Related%20to%20Death%20of%20Borrower.pdf[]
  10. U.S. Bank branch customer service[][]
  11. https://www.usbank.com/bank-accounts/checking-accounts/what-you-need-to-open-a-checking-account.html[]
  12. https://www.usbank.com/customer-service/knowledge-base/KB0208665.html[]
  13. https://www.usbank.com/about-us-bank/customer-service/when-a-customer-passes-away.html[]
  14. Bank of America branch customer service[]
  15. https://promotions.bankofamerica.com/offers/chooseyourchecking100?cm_mmc=DEP-Checking-_-Google-PS-_-Brand_Open_Exact-Brand_Open_Checking_Account-_-Brand_Checking[]
  16. ((Bank of America branch customer service[]
  17. https://www.bankofamerica.com/salesservices/deposits/resources/personal-schedule-fees/?request_locale=en_US[]
  18. https://www.bankofamerica.com/signature-services/estate-services/[]
  19. Wells Fargo branch customer service[]
  20. https://www.wellsfargo.com/checking/[]
  21. https://www.wellsfargo.com/checking/compare-checking-accounts/[]
  22. https://www.wellsfargo.com/help/estate-care-center/[]

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