The bank accounts of deceased relatives can be located by inquiring at the banks where the accounts may be held, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Banks usually require documentation in the form of a death certificate and for the court appointment of an executor to release information about the accounts.
The bank can determine if a deceased relative's account is still open, presuming the account is not so old that it is no longer included in the bank's computer database or paper records, explains the FDIC. Bank accounts of deceased relatives are frequently closed before their deaths. Oftentimes, the account has been inactive long enough to be considered abandoned, in which case the funds are transferred to the unclaimed property office of the state of the deceased relative's last known address. The bank may be able to determine if the account has been transferred to the unclaimed property office.
Family members can search for any accounts of deceased relatives transferred to any of the 50 states' unclaimed property offices by visiting the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators website. In cases where a deceased relative has an account with a recently failed bank, survivors need to contact the FDIC. If the bank failed more than 18 months prior, the FDIC has transferred the account to the state's unclaimed property office, notes the official FDIC website.