Tag Archive: Death

  1. What to Expect During an Inquest Investigation

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    Dealing with an inquest can be difficult, but dealing with legal formalities after the death of a loved one needn’t rest solely on your shoulders. Your solicitor can support you throughout the process, offering guidance regarding pre-reviews, reviews and expected outcomes.

    Every inquest investigation follows a very similar process, although naturally, each is unique and can require individual information dependant on a number of factors. To help you understand what to expect during an inquest investigation, here are the ways we can guide you through the process, and prepare you for the structure inquests usually follow.


    What is an inquest investigation or a “Coroner’s Inquest”?

    When a person dies, usually a doctor has the authority to sign off their death, making it official in the eyes of the law.

    In some cases however, a doctor is not legally permitted to sign off a death. These cases include situations where the death is unexplained, or has happened due to the actions of others. In these situations, the death is reported to a coroner and an inquest into the cause of death begins.

    Inquests are usually raised in the following types of circumstances:

    • the cause of death is unknown, sudden or unexplained
    • the death was violent or unnatural
    • the person who died was not visited by a medical practitioner during their final illness
    • a medical certificate is not available
    • the person who died was not seen by the doctor who signed the medical certificate within 14 days before death or after they died
    • the death occurred during an operation or before the person came out of anaesthetic
    • the medical certificate suggests the death may have been caused by an industrial disease or industrial poisoning


    Inquests are also raised with the coroner under the following circumstances:

    • Death following police contact
    • Death in police custody
    • Death in prison
    • Death on a psychiatric ward
    • Death in an immigration detention centre
    • Death in hospital

    If the above relate to the type of inquest you are dealing with, please contact the DRN team so we can advise you on the best course of action moving forward.


    Why does an Inquest take place?

    When conducting an inquest inquiry, the professionals involved are looking for answers to four main questions:

    • Who the deceased is
    • Where they died
    • When they died
    • How they died

    Although these questions seem simple to answer, in some cases experts must be consulted in order to make a definitive decision – particularly if the death is suspected to be another person’s fault.


    What happens during an inquest investigation?

    When an inquest investigation is opened, it is done so by the coroner.

    The coroner will then oversee a range of enquiries aimed at answering the four main questions asked about the deceased. These enquiries might include researching and obtaining information from witness statements, medical records, expert reports, police records and even CCTV evidence.


    How long will it take to complete the inquest investigation?

    An inquest must begin as soon as possible, but at the most, within six months from the date of death by law. More complicated investigations (particularly if they involved the police or health service, for example) take significantly longer.


    Will I be involved in the inquest investigation?

    All inquests have individuals involved names as “Properly Interested Persons” or PIPs who are usually family members of the deceased and individuals responsible for the care of the deceased during their final days. If you are a PIP you will be actively involved in the inquest investigation process, and will be allowed to be legally represented.

    As a PIP, you will be able to ask questions of the witnesses at inquest hearings and will also receive any and all relevant documentation relating to the investigation.


    Funding Inquests

    Legal Aid is available for families to be represented at an inquest in some circumstances.

    When you first approach us about your case, we will be able to discuss whether Legal Aid is likely to be available to you and anyone else dealing with the investigation, and support you with accessing the funding. We can also help you to find out about the alternative fee arrangements which might be available if Legal Aid is not an option.

    Will compensation following an inquest be available?

    You cannot get compensation as part of an inquest investigation or while it is in process. However, if during the course of the investigation relevant evidence is brought forward, there may be grounds to bring a claim against individuals or organisations involved for causing the death.


    How can DRN help me with the inquest process?

    Our experienced team of inquest solicitors will advise you on the correct and appropriate courses of action throughout the inquest and provide information on the investigations that will occur, and the conclusions that may be made.


    We can also support you with the appeal process, should you wish to appeal the conclusions of an inquest.

    For more information, please call us on 01282 433 241



  2. How Your Will Is Essential For Your Children’s Security

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    Why are wills important?

    Most people should have a Will. Wills can distribute your property, name an executor, name guardians for children, forgive debts and more. Having a will also means that you, rather than the law of intestacy, decides who benefits from your estate when you die.

    A Will provides peace of mind, knowing that in the event of your death, your loved ones are taken care of.


    27 million adults in the UK do not have a Will in place.


    What does this mean for your family, loved ones and your estate should the worst happen?

    If you die without making a will, this is known as “Dying Intestate” and in such cases, assets such as money, property and valuable possessions are automatically divided up according to the intestacy rules.

    This means that there is the potential for your loved ones to be left nothing.


    Who is left out if I don’t make a will?

    What most adults in the UK don’t know is that your partner and those closest to you may not automatically stand to receive any of your assets should you pass away. Without a Will to formalise your wishes, your estate could be given to estranged members of your family or even to the Crown.


    If you and your partner are not married, by law, your partner would receive nothing. If you have children together, they would inherit your estate, but your partner would receive nothing as of right. If you have children from a former relationship they may take everything including your home, leaving your current partner homeless.

    It may be that you are very close to, and reliant upon, friends for help and support during your lifetime. Without a Will they will not receive anything under the intestacy rules. If you have no living relatives, your assets would pass to the Crown not to your beloved friends.


    How can I make sure my estate is left to the people I love when I die?

    The only way you can be sure that your wishes are adhered to in the event of your death is to make a valid Will. By creating a Will, you are ensuring that every single one of your wishes is executed following your death: From transferring family heirlooms,  carrying out funeral wishes  and perhaps most importantly to appointing guardians for your children.


    How is a will made?

    It can be hard to know where to start when writing your Will, but at DRN, we can make the process simple and affordable. Our experienced Will and Probate lawyers can work with you to draw up a Will that covers every one of your requests, with compassion and efficiency.

    Writing a will as a parent can be a difficult subject, but we can help you make decisions that will enable you to live your life with confidence, knowing you have made plans to help support your children in the unfortunate event of your death.

    To give yourself and your loved ones piece of mind in knowing you have made all the correct preparations, in the case of your death it is essential to write a will. You can never expect the unexpected so writing a will, whatever your age, is an important part of protecting your family.

    DRN’s Private Client department deals with all aspects of private client work including WillsProbate, Court of Protection and care for the Elderly. Well known and respected throughout East Lancashire and North Yorkshire, our team has more than 60 years’ combined experience in private client law.

    Speak to one of our expert solicitors today on 01282 433 241, or pop into one of our offices in Burnley, Colne or Ramsbottom.