What Happens to Your FDIC Insured Bank Account When the Owner Dies?

The death of an account owner can have significant implications on the deposit insurance coverage of their bank accounts. While dealing with the loss of a loved one can be an emotionally draining experience, it’s essential to understand how the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) handles insured deposits in such situations. In this article, we’ll explore what happens to FDIC-insured bank accounts when the owner passes away, and how the FDIC’s grace period allows for account restructuring to maintain adequate coverage.

The FDIC’s Six-Month Grace Period

To ensure that families have sufficient time to review and restructure their accounts if necessary, the FDIC provides a six-month grace period after the death of an account owner. During this grace period, the FDIC will continue to insure the deceased owner’s accounts as if they were still alive.

This grace period is designed to prevent any immediate reduction in deposit insurance coverage, allowing the beneficiaries or authorized individuals to make necessary adjustments to the accounts without compromising their insured status.

Restructuring Accounts During the Grace Period

The six-month grace period is a valuable opportunity for beneficiaries or authorized individuals to review the accounts and make any necessary changes to maintain or maximize the deposit insurance coverage. This may involve retitling accounts, redistributing funds, or consolidating accounts to ensure that the maximum protection is provided.

It’s important to note that if the accounts are not restructured during the grace period, the deposit insurance coverage may change after the six-month period expires, potentially resulting in a reduction of coverage.

No Grace Period for Beneficiary’s Death

While the FDIC provides a grace period for the death of an account owner, there is no such grace period when a beneficiary of a deposit account passes away. In this case, the deposit insurance coverage may be reduced immediately, highlighting the importance of regularly reviewing account beneficiaries and making necessary adjustments.

Example Scenario

To illustrate the impact of the grace period, let’s consider the following example:

John and Susan Bailey have a jointly held Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA) for $500,000 at Any Bank. Susan also has a Certificate of Deposit (CD) in her name alone worth $100,000 at the same bank. When both owners are alive, the joint account is insured up to $500,000, and Susan’s single account is insured separately up to $250,000.

If John passes away, the FDIC will continue to insure both deposits as if John were still alive for six months after his death, allowing Susan to restructure the accounts if necessary to maintain full insurance coverage.

After the six-month grace period expires, and assuming Susan has not made any changes to the accounts, the total of $600,000 would be treated as Susan’s single accounts, with $250,000 insured and $350,000 uninsured.


The FDIC’s six-month grace period following the death of an account owner provides families with a valuable opportunity to review and restructure their accounts to maintain adequate deposit insurance coverage. By understanding the implications of an account owner’s death and taking necessary actions during the grace period, beneficiaries or authorized individuals can ensure that their insured deposits remain protected.

It’s essential to consult with financial advisors or legal professionals to navigate the complexities of account ownership and beneficiary designations, especially during times of transition like the passing of a loved one.

What Happens to Bank Accounts After Death? – Knowledge from a Probate Attorney

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