Dealing With The Affairs Of A Loved One After They Pass Away
Losing a loved one is never easy. Whether it’s a distant relative, a grandparent or even a parent or sibling, their loss can be difficult to deal with. Many people just want everything to stop, so that they can deal with the tragedy in peace. Sadly, the corporate wheels of the world don’t slow down for things like death, so there are a few things you will need to do after your loved one has passed away – sometimes sooner than you would like. Luckily, the people involved in end of life affairs are very sensitive to this difficult time, and will do their best to help you through it at every step. Today, we wanted to give you a brief overview of the things you will need to do, and who can help you.
Register The Death
This is the first step in dealing with the affairs of your loved one after they pass away, and it is probably the most time sensitive. A death must be registered with the government within 5 days of death and a medical certificate stating cause of death issued. It is a criminal offence not to register the death during this time. Once this is done, a death certificate will be issued. Make sure you get several copies of this, as many agencies and companies require it to let you shut down your loved one’s accounts.
Check For A Will
This should be one of the first things you do, as it will help inform everything else you do. If your loved one has left behind a will, it makes the process a lot smoother for everyone involved. If they left behind a funeral plan and money to cover it, you will simply be responsible for carrying out those instructions rather than making any decisions. The will should also dictate what is in their estate, and who it will be left to. You will need to get a solicitor involved to help you read and understand the will, as well as execute some of the requests. If your loved one didn’t leave behind a will (and 53% of people don’t) you will need to hire a solicitor to help you navigate probate and claim what you are entitled to.
Obtain Letters Of Administration
Before you can reach out to the banks, insurance companies and any other businesses your loved one was involved with, you need to be able to prove that you are legally allowed to speak on their behalf. If you have been named as executor of the estate, you will be able to obtain these documents from a judge without a problem, and your solicitor will help you do this. A grant of representation allows you to legal right to access the person’s bank accounts and other financial holdings, as well as operate on their behalf. With these letters and a death certificate, you can now go about shutting down their accounts.
Pay Off Any Debts
When you are shutting down their accounts, there will undoubtedly be final bills to settle. This could be unpaid utility bills, solicitor’s fees, and other debts that tend to creep out of the woodwork at this time. These will all need to be paid by you, and it is then up to you if you take the amount out of the estate.
Distribute The Estate
After you have established what is within the estate and paid any inheritance tax that is due on it, you will now need to distribute it to the beneficiaries. If there is a will, then this is a straightforward step that simply requires you to give any property, money or possessions to the people entitled to them. If there is not a will in place, you will need to take legal action to ensure that the estate does not go to the government. The estate of your loved one will usually be made up of:
- Money, both cash and money in the bank. This would include any money paid out on a life insurance policy.
- Money owed to the person who has died by businesses or others.
- Property, for example their home or properties they own.
- Personal possessions, for example their car or jewellery.
For anyone facing dealing with the affairs of a loved one who has passed away, the path can seem like a dark and twisted place with a lot of tricks and traps along the way. That’s why you need a solicitor by your side – to act as a guiding light and help you navigate the difficult and painful path to its end. At Caversham Solicitors, we specialise in helping our clients prepare for death by creating end of life plans and wills, as well as supporting those left behind through the complicated web of post-death affairs. For more information, or to book your consultation with one of our solicitors, get in touch with us today.