The China Insurance Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Justice jointly issued the Circular on Simplified Queries Regarding Deposits of the Deceased (the “Circular”) on April 4, 2019. The Circular actively implements the requirements of the Party Central Committee and the State Council to reduce unnecessary formalities for the convenience of the people and the optimization of services to facilitate queries regarding the deposits of deceased relatives.
The Circular stipulates that the spouse, parents, children of a deceased depositor may, upon presenting the death certificate of the deceased or documentation (such as a household register, marriage certificate or birth certificate) evidencing the relation and valid identification papers of the applicant, or an heir or devisee designated under a notarized will may, upon presenting the death certificate of the deceased, the notarized will and the valid identification papers of the applicant, individually or jointly submit a written request to the banking institution inquiring about the deposits of the deceased without needing to obtain a “deposit inquiry letter” issued by a notary public agency. The scope of the query includes the balance of the deposit and of any non-deposit financial asset issued or managed by the banking institution. After completing a review in form of the application, the banking institution shall notify the applicant in writing of the balance queried. For any third-party product distributed by the banking institution with an unverifiable amount, the banking institution shall notify the applicant to refer to the relevant institution for the query. It should still be noted that if heirs other than the above seeking to inquire the balance of a deceased depositor will still need to complete the notarized inquiry process pursuant to the Circular of the Ministry of Justice and the China Banking Regulatory Commission on Queries Regarding the Deposit of the Inheritee in the Handling of Inheritance Notarization (Si Fa Tong  No. 78).
The Circular greatly simplifies the formalities for checking the deposit balance of a deceased relative by the spouse, parents, children and a designated heir of a notarized will, thereby providing more convenience for the inheritance of deposits. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission will further explore exempting notarization for small withdrawals from such deposits in providing greater convenience while still ensuring the security of the deposits and the rights and interests of the heirs.