Estate services

We understand this is a stressful time. We're here to help.

Please accept our condolences on your loss. Losing someone close can be difficult, and managing their affairs can seem overwhelming. We're here to make this process as easy as possible.

First steps

1.  Determine who is authorized to manage the estate.

It's important to understand your role in managing the estate.  In many cases a will may dictate who is responsible for managing the affairs of the deceased.  In other cases, a probate court may appoint a representative.

2.  Gather required documents.

  • Death certificate
  • Small estate affidavit, letters of testamentary/administration, or similar documents. Court and probate documents vary by state and size of the estate so it may be necessary to seek legal guidance.
  • Will and/or trust documents, if applicable
  • When managing mortgage accounts, certain situations may require you to prove a familial relationship to the deceased. Documentation such as marriage or birth certificates may be required.

3.  Notify us.

To notify M&T of the death of a customer, please send us:

  • A legible copy of the death certificate with a visible seal
  • A copy of the letters of testimony/administration or similar document(s) appointing an executor of the estate, if applicable

 

You can notify us in any one of the below ways.

By mail:

M&T Bank Estate Services
PO Box 1850
Buffalo NY, 14240

By fax:

716-274-1087

In person:

Visit your local branch

How we can assist

If the sole account holder has passed away, we'll help you understand the options available to you based on your circumstances and the account type(s) that the deceased had with M&T. If there's a surviving account holder, we'll help you update the account(s) and manage any disbursements to beneficiaries.

After notifying us of the death we will:

  • Assign you a personal representative to help answer your questions
  • Help you understand the options that may be available for mortgage loans or loans for vehicles or other personal property
  • Provide you and/or the estate attorney with documentation needed to manage the estate, such as account balances
  • Update the account(s) to note those authorized to speak on behalf of the estate
  • Work with you to open estate accounts or disburse funds per your instructions

General FAQs

Different documentation may be required depending on your situation. Not all documents will apply to every scenario. We know that managing an estate can be complicated. Some documents you may need are:

Death certificate

A death certificate is an official document that serves as proof of a death.

Obituary/Newspaper notice

In lieu of a death certificate, a copy of an obituary or a notice from a newspaper may also serve as proof of a death.

Deed

A deed is the document that transfers the title of the property from one owner to another. This usually happens at the closing of a real estate transaction but changes to the deed can be made to add an additional owner or transfer ownership to a trust.  

  • An executed deed refers to a document that has been signed, notarized, and recorded with the county's land records.  
  • A proposed deed is a prepared deed which proposes changes of ownership that have not been completed. It typically is prepared by a real estate attorney and describes the changes in ownership but has not yet been signed, notarized, or recorded.

Order of summary administration

In lieu of a probated will, most states allow for the submission of a petition to administer the decedent’s estate if the value of the estate does not exceed a certain amount. This process can be used for probating an estate with or without a will. If the petition is approved by the court, an order of summary administration will be given to the petitioner. This document allows the assets of the estate to be disbursed to the rightful heir(s).

The court clerk approved summary/affidavit/petition can be used by the heir(s) to show the succession of the decedent’s assets (real property and personal items). 

Statement of administration

In some states, if the value of an estate does not exceed a certain amount, this document can be filed in order to gain control of the estate. On approval of the statement of administration by the court, the appointed person(s) may manage the estate without the issuance of a letter of testamentary or a letter of administration. 

Probated will

A will that has been authorized and validated by the probate court. After the probate procedure is complete, the probated will becomes the legal document used by the estate administrator to complete the administration of the estate. "Probate" refers to the court proceedings by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid.

Letters of administration or testamentary

During the probate process the courts will designate a person as an administrator or executor of the estate. This person will be granted signing authority for the deceased and become responsible for managing the estate. This includes payments to creditors, distributing the assets to the beneficiaries and reporting the estate is closed to the county/government. Two kinds of letters can be issued.

Letters of administration are issued when the decedent did not leave a will. The court clerk will provide a letter or certificate with court stamps and seals to the selected person(s). Please note, it is possible for the letters to have an expiration but in general the letters of administration will stay in effect until the estate is closed.

Letters of testamentary are issued by the court when the decedent did leave a will. The court clerk will provide a letter/certificate with court stamps and seals to the selected person(s). Like letters of administration, it is possible for the letters to have an expiration but in general the letters of testamentary will stay in effect until the estate is closed.

Proof of relationship to the deceased borrower

In certain instances, we may be required to determine the relationship of the requestor to the borrower. Acceptable documentation includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, or legal adoption papers. Certain estate documentation may also identify the relationship to the borrower. For example, if a probated will states that the property is to be inherited to the borrowers child, we may be able to leverage that documentation as proof of the relationship.

The estate representative(s) is/are appointed by a court to administer the assets and debts left by the deceased. When the will and/or the estate is probated, the executor(s) and/or administrator(s) is/are generally named and appointed as the estate representative(s). "Probate" refers to the official legal process of proving that a will is valid.

If you are unsure if estate representative(s) is/are appointed or believe an estate representative is necessary, then you may need to contact an attorney to determine what your state law requires. You may contact the local bar association in the county where the deceased resided for a list of attorneys that may be able to assist you.

Depending upon the circumstances, the estate representative(s) may need to be appointed by a probate court.

If the request is from the representative(s) of the estate:

  • Copy of the death certificate of borrower
  • Letters or legal documents appointing the representative(s) of the estate

For a mortgage, if the request is from the entitled party(ies):

  • Copy of the death certificate of borrower
  • Copy of any documents filed with the local court regarding the deceased’s estate
  • Explanation of the relationship to the deceased

If the deceased left a will, provide a copy of the probated will reflecting the named beneficiary(ies) of the property. Ensure that any necessary seals are visible on the will.

  • Letters or legal documents appointing the representative(s) of the estate (if applicable)
  • Copy of the deed showing the transfer of the property to the beneficiary(ies) of the estate (if applicable)

Upon the death of the borrower, the borrower’s estate is obligated to make the payments. Unless or until the entitled party(ies) assume(s) the liability of the debt, there is no obligation for the entitled party(ies) to make mortgage payments. However, if payments are not made, M&T Bank has the right to initiate foreclosure proceedings to enforce the mortgage as the property remains the collateral securing the mortgage and note.

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows a third party, a trustee, to hold and direct assets in a trust fund on behalf of a beneficiary.

A will that has been probated has completed the official legal process by which the validity of the will has been confirmed.

Mortgage FAQs

Depending upon the terms of the trust, there may be no need for representation to be assigned for the estate. If the trust specifically identifies the entitled party(ies) to the property upon the death of the borrower, the terms of the trust will control. In order to determine if the trust controls the transfer of the property we will require:

  • Explanation of the relationship to the deceased
  • Copy of the trust document
  • Copy of the recorded deed transferring the property into the trust
  • Copy of the death certificate of the borrower
  • Copy of the deed showing the transfer of the property to the beneficiary(ies) of the estate (if applicable)

An entitled party is someone who has ownership interest in a real estate property and is shown on the title as an owner.

Any transfer requires the approval from M&T Bank prior to the transfer. The below documents are required in order to review any proposed transfer:

  • Copy of the death certificate of borrower
  • Copy of the original deed
  • Letters or legal documents appointing the representative(s) of the estate
  • If the deceased left a will, provide a copy of the probated will reflecting the named beneficiary(ies) of the property. Ensure that any necessary seals are visible on the will.
  • Copy of any new or proposed deeds
  • Relationship between the entitled party(ies) and the proposed transferee

An assumption is when one party assumes, or takes over the debt of another. In the case of a mortgage, the assumptor would become the borrower of the mortgage loan and would be obligated to make payments.

There is no obligation for any person to assume the debt associated with this mortgage. If payments are not made, M&T Bank has the right to initiate foreclosure proceedings to enforce the mortgage as the property remains the collateral securing the mortgage and note.

The party(ies) who is/are entitled to the property. For M&T Bank to verify entitlement, the below is required:

  • Copy of the death certificate of the borrower
  • Explanation of the relationship to the deceased
  • Copy of any documents filed with the local court regarding the deceased’s estate
  • If the deceased left a will, provide a copy of the probated will reflecting the named beneficiary(ies) of the property. Ensure that any necessary seals are visible on the will.
  • Letters or legal documents appointing the representative(s) of the estate
  • Copy of the deed showing the transfer of the property to the beneficiary(ies) of the estate (if applicable)

A successor in interest is someone who has an ownership interest in real estate property as a result of a transfer from an original borrower/owner.

You may qualify as a successor in Interest under certain circumstances:

  • If you are currently on the deed as having joint tenancy
  • If you live in a home stead state
  • Are a surviving heir due to the death of a relative
  • Part of a living trust

If you are confirmed as successor in interest, you will be provided with additional access to the mortgage loan.

This access includes access to:

  • Mortgage billing statements
  • Escrow statements
  • Future notifications required by law
  • Other potential mortgage loan options (e.g. loss mitigation, assumption)