What to Do When You Lose a Loved One This Winter
At this time of year, it is more important than ever to look after the elderly and make sure they are not lonely. It’s Christmas and no one should be on their own at Christmas. Older people are actually more susceptible to illnesses during winter as the cold weather suppresses their immune system. Unfortunately, this means that they are more likely to pass away this season. If this happens to one of your loved ones, we want to help you as much as we can by offering support and informing you of the decisions that you will have to make regarding probate during this time.
End of Life Probate Procedures
Register the Death
Although you may wish for more time to grieve, some legal processes are more time-sensitive than others. Registering the death with the government and issuing a medical certificate has to be completed within 5 days of the death. This is a legal requirement and it is a good idea to get multiple copies of the death certificate for future purposes.
Check for A Will and Identify Beneficiaries
If your loved one has left a will, this will make the procedures simpler and easier as it can be used as guidance for the future. You will be able to identify beneficiaries and what individuals are entitled to, as well as your loved one’s funeral wishes. If there isn’t a will, hiring a solicitor will help you navigate probate and claim what you are entitled to.
Apply for Grant of Representation
Next, you need to apply for Grant of Representation in order to legally prove that you are allowed to deal with your loved one’s assets. If you have been named as executor of the estate, you need to apply for a Grant of Probate. If there was no will, the next-of-kin will need to apply for Grant of Letters of Administration. Once these letters have been issued, you will be able to operate their financial holdings on their behalf.
Balance the Books and Bills
Once you have been granted permission to handle your loved one’s assets, you should check to see if there are any debts that still need to be settled. This could be unpaid utility bills, solicitor’s fees or any other arrears and balances. Pay them off as soon as possible so you don’t have to worry about them cropping up unexpectedly.
Distribute the Estate
After establishing what is within the estate and paying necessary inheritance tax, the estate should be distributed amongst the beneficiaries. Your loved one’s estate will usually be made up of:
- Money – Cash, bank balance, life insurance pay-out, and any money that is owed to the deceased by others.
- Property – Their home and other properties they may own elsewhere.
- Personal Possessions – Jewellery, cars, and other belongings.
If there wasn’t a will left, you will have to take legal action, so the estate doesn’t go to the government; your solicitor will be able to assist you with this.
Caversham Solicitors Probate Services
We understand how difficult it is to lose a loved one, especially around the festive period, which is why our solicitors offer high-quality support throughout post-death affairs and probate procedures.
For more information, or to book your consultation with one of our solicitors, get in touch with us today.