Bereavement and Organising a Loved one’s Estate: Some Practical Advice
One of the first things we ask our clients who are recently bereaved, is how we can help with any practical arrangements necessary in the estate. Losing a loved one is difficult and upsetting and it’s our job to support our clients in every way we can.
However, there are a number of items that must be attended to by our clients upon the death of an individual, and unfortunately they cannot be delayed. In most cases a relative or person responsible for organising the funeral proceedings is needed to carry out these important tasks. If this roll falls to you to organise, you can of course enlist our support should you wish to do so. At DRN, our sympathetic team can help you every step of the way, enabling you to carry out your loved one’s wishes efficiently and carefully, with as little upset as possible.
Please read on for practical guidance to help you through this difficult time.
Registering a death and obtaining a death certificate
Once a person has died, it is the law in the UK for their death to be registered within five days at a registry office. A person’s death can be registered by:
- A relative
- An individual present at the death
- An individual responsible for organising the funeral
Once a death has been registered, a death certificate will be issued by the registrar. At this stage you may wish to request several copies of the certificate so that sending proof of death to insurance companies, banks, pension providers etc. (if applicable) is as simple as possible. A small cost is charged for copies, however this can be refunded from the estate should you not be the sole beneficiary.
You will also be provided with a form to assist with notifying all the government institutions such as passport, HMRC, Council and Benefits agencies. This is called the Tell Us Once service
Inform the relevant organisations
Upon the death of a loved one, it is very important to inform institutions such as your local council so that council tax, state pension and other government services. This prevents overpayment of benefits that have to be re-paid and also liability for council tax continuing.
Gov.UK has a service called “Tell Us Once” to help make things easier. By signing up and providing some personal details, you will be able to make the necessary changes to your loved one’s driver’s licence, and inform the relevant people within the personal tax, Department of Work and Pensions, passport office and other important governmental departments.
Arranging the funeral and accessing the will
If possible the Executors should check the will to see if there are any funeral wishes noted in it or perhaps it will contain details of a pre – paid funeral plan.
Our team of dedicated will and estate solicitors are experienced in all types of probate matters. If you are unable to locate a will, or a loved one has died “intestate” – that is, without a will – we can help you to recover the details you need to continue carrying out your loved one’s wishes.
We can also act on your behalf, guiding you through the probate process, helping you to understand items such as inheritance tax and distribution to the correct parties.
We understand that attempting to navigate the legal requirements needed upon the death of a loved one can be difficult to deal with for the bereaved. We are here to answer any of your questions about Wills and Probate and to support you through the complex process of administration of the estate, or contesting a will you believe may be invalid.
If you would like to speak to one of our solicitors, please call us today on 01282 433 241.