Dead people’s bank accounts

It is estimated that some RUR 300 bln ($4.7 bln) are held in unclaimed deposits in Russian banks, according to experts interviewed by Gazeta.Ru. Between 80% and 90% of these accounts are in the names of now dead customers, Otkritie Bank representatives report.

A total of 1% of all the bank deposits in Russia remain unclaimed, experts say. Since Russian banks hold a total of RUR 30 trln ($473 bln), “sleeping deposits” account for RUR 300 bln ($4.7 bln). Deposit holders can’t claim them due to death, disease or imprisonment.

If the deposits of dead customers are not withdrawn by heirs, they simply remain in the bank. They can be prolonged an indefinite number of times. If a customer does not inquire after his or her deposit for a long time, the bank will transfer the funds to a demand deposit with an interest rate close to zero.

Banks are not responsible for finding the deposit owners. The money deposited by a person who later died can be claimed by this person’s relatives. The heirs must produce a certificate confirming their right to the money. The deposited funds can be withdrawn under a will if the will was drawn up at the same bank.

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