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Saying Goodbye

Nothing can take away the sadness you feel when a loved one passes away. But when someone who cares is available to help, a challenging time can feel a little less difficult.

At ESL, we want to help ease some of the burden that can occur when settling your loved one’s ESL accounts. Our Customer Case Specialist team has the expertise, skill, and compassion to help you settle the accounts for deceased ESL members so you can feel supported throughout the process.

  • Each member is unique, both to you and to ESL, so the first step we’ll take after we’ve learned that your loved one has passed is to review the full breadth and depth of their relationship with ESL.
  • From there, we’ll help you understand what steps need to be taken to settle any accounts, loans or services and then work with you to complete those steps in a timely way.

Things to know:

  • As your main point of contact, a member of the ESL Customer Case Specialist team is available when you have questions or concerns throughout this process. Contact them by
    • Phone: 585.336.1599
    • Email:
    • Hours:
      • Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
      • Friday: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
      • Saturday: 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • Download our guide, “Saying Goodbye is Never Easy,” for more information about what to expect throughout the account settlement experience.
  • Opening an Estate Account

    In some situations, it may be beneficial to open an estate account as a way to administer a person’s financial assets after they have passed away. The estate account enables authorized individuals (typically, any executors) to make deposits and withdrawals, such as payment for funeral expenses and other expenses, on behalf of deceased’s estate. Eventually, any remaining balance will be distributed to any beneficiaries, per the instructions in the decedent’s will.

    At ESL, our Free Checking, Premier Checking, Money Maker, and Premier Money Maker accounts can be opened as an estate account and will give the authorized user(s) rights to use the account.

    The Customer Case Specialist or your attorney can help you determine if an estate account is an appropriate solution for your situation.

    Eligibility for an Estate Account

    The deceased must have been an ESL member in good standing at the time of their death in order for us to be able open an estate account for them at ESL. As a credit union, we are unable to open accounts for deceased non-members. This includes estate accounts for non-members, even when family members or survivors are ESL members.

  • FAQs

    The first step in the account settlement process is to let us know when an ESL member has passed away. Depending on what’s most convenient for you, you may visit an ESL branch, call us at 585.336.1000 / 800.848.2265, or chat with us. During that conversation, we’ll connect you with a member of our Customer Case Specialist team, who will review our process with you and help you understand next steps.

    In all cases, you will need to provide a copy of the member’s Death Certificate in order for us to begin. As the Customer Case Specialist learns more about the specifics of your loved one’s relationship with ESL, you may also be asked for additional documentation. This could include:

    • Copy of the member’s Death Certificate
    • Certificates of Voluntary Administration
    • Letters Testamentary / Letters of Administration
    • Tax ID Number (TIN) for the estate
    • Executor / Administrator Identification
    • Prepared 1310 Affidavit

    Not all of these documents are necessary in every situation and the Customer Case Specialist will help you understand what is needed based on your situation.

    Frequently, the funeral home you are working with will obtain certified copies of a Death Certificate for you. In addition, the New York State Department of Health will also issue death certificates for deaths occurring within New York.

    Because each member’s relationship with ESL is unique, the Customer Case Specialist will make a thorough review of that relationship and help you understand what the status is for each ESL account, loan, and service, including any accounts the member may have had with ESL Investment Services, LLC.

    From there, the Customer Case Specialist will outline steps for you to take to settle these accounts, all while being available to answer any questions or address any concerns you might have along the way.

    Probate is the process by which the court determines the authenticity of a will. It is designed to protect the family and ensure the persons who are entitled to receive the assets do receive them. It also ensures all debts and taxes are paid.

    The court will use the will to determine who is to be the appointed executor of the estate. If there is no will, the court will appoint a “personal representative,” usually a spouse or relative.

    The size and complexity of the deceased’s estate, plus state probate laws, will determine how long the process will take. If the estate is large or complex, the probate process can take months or years to complete. On the other hand, the probate process may not be required if the deceased’s estate had accounts that are classified as “Joint with Right of Survivorship” or if the total estate is less than $30,000. It is best to consult an attorney to determine what property is or is not subject to probate.

  • Glossary of Terms

    Administrator: Person the Surrogate’s Court appoints to handle the property of the decedent who dies without a will (or without a will being probated).

    Affiant: Person signing the 1310 Affidavit.

    Certified/Original Death Certificate: An official government certificate on security paper with a raised certification seal, required for insurance collection purposes.

    Distributee: Person who shares in a decedent’s estate when no will is probated.

    Estate: The property or possessions of a deceased person.

    Estate Account: An account opened by a fiduciary that holds all monetary assets of the decedent.

    Executor: Person Surrogate’s Court appoints to handle the property of the decedent after the Will has been probated. Usually the decedent names the executor in the Will.

    Fiduciary: A person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another typically, the Executor, Administrator, or Voluntary Administrator.

    Heir: Person who inherits or has a right of inheritance in the property of a deceased person.

    Letters Testamentary: A legal instrument issued by the Surrogate’s Court authorizing an Executor, Administrator, or Voluntary Administrator to take control of and dispose of the estate of a deceased person. A Certificate is issued. Review for any limitations listed:

    • Certificate of Appointment
    • Certificate of Administration
    • Voluntary Administration Certificate

    Next of Kin Affidavit: An internal affidavit created for the sole purpose of allowing a qualified affiant to affirm his/her relationship without producing direct proof of relationship.

    Surviving Qualified Relative: A Spouse, Child (aged 18 years or older), Father/Mother, Brother/Sister, or Nephew/Niece of the decedent.

    1310 Affidavit: An affidavit in which a qualified Surviving Spouse, Surviving Relative, Heir or Distributee, Person or Creditor of the deceased takes an oath that they have rights to transact on monetary items. Used when no one has been appointed as a fiduciary for the decedent’s estate by the Surrogate’s Court.

    Treasury Funds: Funds paid from the U.S. Treasury Department, specifically:

    • Social Security/Supplemental Security Income (SS/SSI)
    • Civil Service Retirement (OPM)
    • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
    • Department of Defense Retirement (DFAS)
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Retirement (VA)

    Voluntary Administrator: Person who applies to the Surrogate’s Court and is appointed to handle only specific items for the decedent.

    Written Directive: Written instructions/statement documenting the intent of the individual transacting on behalf of the deceased.

  • More Resources
    New York State Helpful Resources
    Social Security Administration



ESL Customer Case Specialist Team

Providing guidance and support when settling accounts for deceased ESL members.



  • 8 a.m.–5 p.m.


  • 8 a.m.–6 p.m.


  • Saturday: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m.