Tracing Assets After Death

The heirs of deceased persons are sometimes aware that the latter may have deposited assets in their lifetime with Luxembourg banks but are unable to trace the bank or banks concerned.

To assist the heirs in their search, the ABBL makes the following documents available to them at the price of €50:

  • a list of all the banks in the financial centre that open bank accounts for individuals;
  • an explanatory note of the different formalities and steps to be completed;
  • a model letter to make a request for searches to the credit institutions to which the request is to be put;
  • ready-to-use address labels to make the requests to the credit institutions.

Which documents are needed?

As evidence of their entitlement, the heirs must attach copies of all documents which are liable to prove their entitlements. These documents are in principle those which are customary in the country of origin of the applicants. As a rule they are their identity card, the death certificate and the deed of publication in relation to the estate. German customers must ask for an Erbschein (inheritance certificate) to be issued.

When the request is made by an attorney-at-law or a notary, a power of attorney from the heirs authorizing him to make the searches must be attached.

The settlement of the estate of a deceased person can sometime prove highly complex and create many difficulties, especially because of factors such as the nationality and last place of domicile of the deceased, the number and capacity of his possible heirs, the nature of the assets forming part of the estate, the existence of special provisions (including a universal legacy, a universal or particular bequest, posthumous mandate etc.)

Each case is different.

What role do the banks play?

Banks are accustomed, and even have an obligation, to make a conscientious search for the existence of accounts when faced with a query by an heir. It goes without saying that queries should be sufficiently documented and explain the grounds for assuming that an account exists in Luxembourg. Banks may indeed have a guarded attitude if they suspect that the query is addressed to a large number of institutions as a systematic search for hypothetical assets in Luxembourg.

In any case, contacting banks via post is always the preferred option. For security reasons, banks do not disclose information over the phone.