Death of a Loved One
How do I notify American Heritage of a loved one’s passing?
On behalf of the Board of Director and Associates of American Heritage, we send our condolences for the loss of a loved one. On this page, you will find useful resources to help you work with us during this difficult time.
In the event of the loss of a loved one, please notify American Heritage.
- By phone: Call us at 800.342.0008 or 215.969.0777
- In person: Visit one of our branch locations
- By fax or email: Send a written notice to 215.969.1246 or firstname.lastname@example.org, include the following information:
- Member’s name, date of birth, SSN or account number, and date of death along with your name and contact information
- By mail: Mail a written notice with the member’s name, date of birth, and date of death along with your contact information to the following address:
American Heritage Credit Union
Attn: Account Services Department
2060 Red Lion Rd
Philadelphia, PA 19115
Please review the subjects below for answers and resources on each topic.
Documents and Forms
What documents are needed to settle a decedent account(s)?
Please note: The account type(s) and their current balance(s) will determine what documentation is needed to settle the account. Contact the Account Services Department at 215-969-0777 ext. 7000 or email@example.com for more information.
- Death Certificate (Required for all account types)
- Paid in full funeral bill or completed Funeral Home Affidavit (Single owner account with balances under $10,000)
- Short Certificate (Single Owner accounts with balances over $10,000)
- Family Member Affidavit (Single Owner accounts with balances under $10,000)
- American Heritage Information Sheet (Required for single owner accounts)
- Member Services Request Form (Required for Joint owned accounts to either close or remove the deceased joint owner, account ownership will determine if account is closed or owner is removed)
- Copy of valid identification for the individual settling the account.
- Death Certificate (Required for all account types)
- Short Certificate (Single owner account with Full estate over $200)
- L-8 Form (Single owner account with Full Estate over $200-Executor Class A Transferee or Joint/Beneficiary account Class A Transferee)
- O-81 (Full Estate is under $200)
- 0-1 (IT-R) Form (Full Estate over $200 – Executor Non-Class A Transferee or Joint/Beneficiary account Non-Class A Transferee)
- American Heritage Information Sheet (Required for Single Owner account or Beneficiary account)
- Member Services Request Form (Required for all Joint accounts to either close or remove the deceased joint owner, account ownership will determine if account is closed or owner is removed)
- Copy of valid identification for the individual settling the account
What is a Short Certificate and how do I obtain one?
A Short Certificate (AKA Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration) is a legal document that appoints a personal representative to administer the estate. It shows the decedent’s name and the date of death. It will also show the name of the Executor/Executrix who has been named to handle the affairs of the estate.
“Letters of Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration” are obtained at the “Register of Wills” office in the county courthouse to appoint an executor(is).
Letters of Testamentary is when there is no will.
Letters of Administration is when there is a will.
New Jersey Resident
“Letters of Testamentary” or “Letters of Administration” are obtained at the county’s Surrogate’s court.
What is a L-8 form?
This is a self-executing waiver affidavit (do-it-yourself) which is used in most cases to transfer bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and brokerage accounts, when the transfer or release is to a Class “A” beneficiary. The estate representative must file this form directly with each bank, financial institution, broker, or transfer agent holding the assets. Click here to access this form.
- The estate representative does not have to file anything with the Inheritance and Estate Tax Branch if the estate qualifies to use Form L-8.
- Financial Institutions are prohibited from closing a decedent’s account without supplying one of these forms. For detailed information click here to go the NJ Taxation website.
What is a 0-1 (IT-R) form?
This is a tax waiver issued by the NJ Division of Taxation after an Inheritance and/or Estate Tax return is filed, Form L-9 or Form L-9NR is submitted, and all taxes due are paid. This waiver releases the Inheritance and/or the Estate Tax lien placed by the State and permits the transfer or release of property for Inheritances and/or Estate tax purposes.
Note: This form is not available on the NJ Taxation website, it can only be issued by the Division of Taxation.
What is a Blanket Waiver?
A special form is not needed for a Blanket Waiver. A Blanket Waiver is an exception that allows for a financial institution to release up to 50% of the account balance to the estate representative or joint owner without requiring a return to be filed or Form 0-1 waiver to be issued. The remaining account balance must remain on hold with the financial institution until a valid waiver or Form L-8 is received.
What is a O-81 form?
This is a form that is obtained from the decedent’s county’s taxation office when the full estate is less than $200 and the transferee is a non-class A transferee.
What is a Family Member Affidavit?
This is an affidavit completed by the Next of Kin who is receiving the balance of the decedent’s account. This document is signed in front of a notary and 2 witnesses. The original document is returned to the Credit Union in person or via mail correspondence.
It affirms that the person who is receiving payment of the balance of the decedent’s account supplied the required documents, that the person is the person having preference for the payment, and this person indemnifies and holds American Heritage harmless of any and all claims, actions, or liabilities in connection with the payment received from the funds on deposit for the deceased member. Click here to access this form.
What is a Funeral Director Affidavit?
This is an affidavit executed by a licensed funeral director which sets forth that satisfactory arrangements for payment of funeral services have been made. This document is signed in front of a notary and 2 witnesses, the original document is returned to the Credit Union in person or via mail correspondence. Click here to access this form.
What happens to an account when an owner is deceased?
Account titling and state residence will determine the accessibility for the account. All loans will be reviewed to determine next steps. Contact the Account Services Department at 215-969-0777 ext. 7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Single Owner account
- Full balance of the account will be placed on hold.
Joint Account — Primary Owner deceased
- Funds will remain accessible to the joint owner.
- The account will need to be closed to prevent reporting to the IRS under a deceased individual’s SSN.
Joint Account — Joint Owner deceased
- Funds will remain accessible to the primary owner.
- The deceased joint owner will need to be removed from the account
Single Owner account or Beneficiary Account
- Full Balance of the account will be placed on hold upon first notice
- Class A Transferee –Full Balance Disbursed after documents are completed and received
- Non-Class A Transferee – 50% of the account balance is released after required documents are completed, remaining 50% of balance remains on hold until 0-1 (IT-R) Form is received from NJ Taxation office
- Class A Transferee – Funds will remain accessible to the surviving owner.
- Non-Class A Transferee – 50% of balance disbursed after documents are completed and remaining 50% of balance remains on hold until 0-1 (IT-R) Form is received from NJ Taxation office
How long will the affected accounts remain open?
We cannot predict how long it may take for an account to settle, since everyone’s circumstance may vary. We recommend that you settle your loved one’s accounts as soon as possible. American Heritage will continue reporting to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the deceased’s Social Security Number (SSN) until the account is closed. By taking prompt action, you can avoid potential complications resulting from continued IRS reporting under the deceased’s SSN.
Will monthly statements continue to be issued? To where will the statements be addressed?
Yes, monthly statements will continue to be issued to the address on file. If eStatements were setup on the account and it is an individual account, the account will be unenrolled from eStatements so paper statements can be mailed.
What will happen to automatic deposits and/or payments?
The affected companies that are debiting the account will have to be notified that the member has passed away. Advise them to stop the automatic payment since the account is being closed.
Individual Accounts (only one account owner)
The account will be restricted to block future automatic deposits and/or payments from posting to the account.
Joint Accounts (more than one account owner)
The account will not be restricted, all future automatic deposits and/or payments will continue to post until directive is received from the living account owner.
What happens to a decedent’s loan?
All loans are evaluated to determine if there is credit life coverage on the balance of the loan for the deceased owner. If there is insurance on the loan a claim is submitted by American Heritage to determine the amount of coverage and process the claim. If there is no insurance coverage, the loan is evaluated according to the loan type to determine next steps.
Credit Cards & Line of Credits
- If the deceased was the primary cardholder, the credit card account will be closed.
- If the credit card account was held jointly, the loan will be evaluated upon settling the account by the loan department to determine next steps.
- If the deceased was the joint cardholder, the credit card account will remain open and the deceased owner will be removed from the account.
All Other Loans
- If the loan is jointly owned, the loan will have to be evaluated to see if the joint owner qualifies for the loan on their own. Once this is determined if the joint owner does not qualify the loan will be reviewed by the loan department to determine the next steps.
- If the loan was only in the deceased owner’s name, American Heritage has the Right of Offset which means that the loan will be satisfied prior to paying out any additional funds.
What happens to a deceased owner’s debit and/or credit cards?
American Heritage will close all cards in the deceased owner’s name as soon as we are notified of the owner’s death to prevent any unauthorized transactions.
What happens to the decedent’s checks?
Any outstanding checks that were signed by the owner prior to their date of death may be paid until the CU receives notice of death. Once the CU receives notice of death all checks attempting to be cashed or deposited will be returned. At this time, the account may be restricted from deposit activity.
How will certificates be handled? Will a penalty be assessed to close out the certificate?
Certificates will remain open until the account is closed. If a Certificate is requested to be closed penalties will not be assessed for an early withdraw.
What happens to a decedent’s IRA (Individual Retirement Account)?
Disbursement of an IRA varies depending on whether a beneficiary was elected and the relationship of the beneficiary. The IRA account(s) will be closed without penalty.
- A Beneficiary IRA account will have to be opened by the beneficiary(s). The funds will be disbursed from the deceased IRA owner’s account to the established Beneficiary IRA account(s). This will allow for the funds to be removed from reporting to the IRS under the deceased owner’s SSN.
- A Beneficiary IRA account can be established at one of our convenient branch locations or via email correspondence. Please contact the Account Services Department at 215-969-0777 ext. 7000 or email@example.com for more information and to start the process.
- A spousal beneficiary may choose to accept the funds from the decedent’s IRA as their own and deposit them directly into their own IRA account or a Beneficiary IRA account can be established for the spouse. Please seek guidance from a tax expert or accountant before proceeding.
- Contact the Account Services Department at 215-969-0777 ext. 7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- The balance of the account will be payable to the estate of the deceased owner.
Beneficiaries, Joint Ownership, and Account Roles
How can I determine if I am Next of Kin?
As per Chapter 31 of the PA statute the Next of Kin is considered to be the spouse, any child, the father or mother, or any sister or brother (preference being given in the order named) of the deceased individual.
New Jersey Resident
Next of Kin is determined in NJ according to the Title 3B statute. Due to the complexity of this statute please refer to the NJ taxation office to determine order of Next of Kin.
What is a Class A Transferee?
A Class “A” transferee is one of the following: parent, grandparent, spouse, child of a decedent (includes legally adopted child), grandchild, great-grandchild, etc. of a decedent, stepchild of a decedent (does not include a step-grandchild or great-step grandchild), mutually acknowledged child, civil union partner, domestic partner.
What is a non-Class A Transferee?
A non-Class “A” transferee includes but is not limited to the following: brother or sister of a decedent, spouse or surviving spouse of a child of a decedent (i.e. son-in-law or daughter-in-law), civil union partner or surviving civil union partner of a child of a decedent. Etc. For detailed list and percentages please refer to the NJ Inheritance and Estate Tax website.
What happens to a Power of Attorney at the time of the Primary's death?
A Power of Attorney becomes null and void at the time of the Primary's death. American Heritage will remove the POA from the account.
What happens to a Representative Payee at the time of the Primary’s death?
Any funds in the account will be managed according to state law. The representative payee must provide any saved benefits to the legal representative of the estate. Any benefits deposited may need to be returned to Social Security, each account will be reviewed by American Heritage to determine if funds must be returned.
What happens to a Guardianship at the time of the Primary’s death?
Guardianship is null and void at the time of the primary owner’s death. American Heritage will remove the Guardian from the account.
What happens to a VA Fiduciary at the time of the Primary’s death?
Any saved VA benefits belong to the beneficiary’s estate and must generally be given to the legal representative of the beneficiary’s estate. For detailed information refer to the VA website.
If I am the joint owner on an account will I still have access to the funds?
PA residents will continue to have access to the account until the surviving owner settles the account.
NJ residents’ access will depend on the account titling and balance of the account on the date of death for your loved one. The Credit Union may be required to hold half of the balance until it can be proven that NJ Inheritance and Estate tax has been paid or there is no tax due.
If I am the joint owner on an account, will I be able to keep the same account number?
No, due to tax reporting the existing account will have to be closed to avoid any potential complications resulting from continued IRS reporting under the deceased’s SSN. The joint owner is eligible to join American Heritage if they meet our field of membership. Review our field of membership and start your application here.
If I am an executor of the estate but I am not a joint owner, will I have access to the account?
As the executor of the estate you will have access to information regarding the account; however, it may need to be disbursed according to the account titling so you may not have access to the funds.
What happens to a Trust at the time of a Trustee’s death?
Taxes and Estates
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process of confirming who is authorized to handle the deceased person’s estate with or without a will.
- If an individual dies with a Will, Probate court will review the Will to verify that it is authentic and valid. An Executor(ix) will be named based on the individual named in the Will.
- If an individual dies without a Will, Probate court will appoint an Administrator(ix) to oversee the estate. Assets will be distributed according to state law.
What is Inheritance Tax?
Not all states collect an Inheritance Tax. Each state that requires an Inheritance Tax sets its own inheritance tax rules, exemption amount, and rates.
- PA Inheritance tax varies depending on the relationship to the decedent and is applied as a percentage of the deceased individual’s estate being transferred to the beneficiary. For detailed information, please refer to PA Department of Revenue’s website.
- NJ Inheritance varies depending on the relationship between the deceased person and the beneficiary. For detailed information, please refer to NJ Taxation website.
Who/What is subject to Inheritance Tax? When is the Credit Union required to file Inheritance Tax?
- All real and tangible personal property of a PA resident decedent located in PA at the time of the decedent’s death, is taxable.
- All intangible property of a resident decedent, including stocks, bonds, bank accounts, loans, etc. is taxable, regardless of where it is located at the decedent’s death.
- American Heritage is required to report Inheritance Tax within 10 days of receiving notification of a member’s death.
How do I contact the PA Department of Revenue for Inheritance Tax?
- By phone: 717-787-8327
- By mail:
PA Department of Revenue
Bureau of Individual Taxes
PO Box 280601
Harrisburg, PA 17128-0601
What is Federal Estate Tax?
A federal estate tax is a tax on property (cash, real estate, stock, or other assets) transferred from deceased persons to their heirs. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death. To determine if you are required to file a federal estate tax, please refer to the IRS website.
What is needed to establish an Estate Account?
- Death Certificate
- Short Certificate
- EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- Identification for the appointed Executor
- A completed American Heritage account application
When does American Heritage contact family or other account owners about a member’s/family member’s passing?
American Heritage may receive notification of a member’s death from the Social Security Administration, PA Department of Revenue, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, published obituary, or other sources.
American Heritage will contact the family or other account owners via mail correspondence approximately 2 business days from the date the notice is received or 30 days from the date of death, whichever is later.
Why does American Heritage collect personal information from owners, executors, beneficiaries, or informants?
American Heritage will collect information to authenticate the individual and depending on the account titling this information may require Inheritance Tax to be filed with the state.
Who can obtain information on a deceased owner’s account (statements, Date of Death values, loan information, etc.)?
Joint owners and executors have authorization to access account information. A joint owner can only obtain loan information if they were joint on the loan.
A beneficiary has authorization to obtain balance information for the portion of the balance they are entitled to as of the date of death of the account owner.