What to do after a funeral

After the funeral has taken place, there may still be a number of things you need to do and we hope that this outline is useful during this difficult time.

Memorials:

Perhaps one of the easiest things to sort after a loved one’s death is to order a memorial such as a headstone or a garden memorial.

These can help remember someone who has passed away and provide comfort for people during their time of need. If you’d like to choose a memorial for your loved one, we will help you find the perfect tribute in partnership with Art Stone Memorials who are experts in the design, creation and installation of a wide range of headstones.

Dealing with your loved one’s estate after their death;

The death of someone triggers a series of legal obligations which are often time-sensitive and must be carried out within the letter of the law. In most cases, these duties are straightforward and assumed by the surviving spouse or heirs.

In some cases, however, it may be better to consider the services of an independent legal provider.

There are a number of legal terms which are used in relation to dealing with the estate of someone who is deceased. If you are involved in it, you need to be familiar with some of the following terms:

Administrator – someone who is appointed to administer the estate if there is no Will or the appointed executor can’t carry out their duties.

Assets – real estate, cars, possessions, investments, money or anything else owned by a deceased person.

Beneficiary – a person who is entitled to receive property, money, gifts or other assets from the estate.

Estate – the money, possessions and property of a deceased person.

Executor – someone who is appointed in the Will to administer the estate of a deceased person.

Grant of Probate (Grant of Representation) – the legal document which allows someone to administer the Will of a deceased person.

Intestacy – the state of having died without leaving a valid Will.

Letters of Administration – a legal document which grants the legal permission to deal with the estate of a deceased person.

Last Will and Testament (Will) – a legal document which specifies how a person’s estate is distributed at their death.

Probate – the right to deal with the estate of a deceased person.

Rules of Intestacy – Inheritance Laws.

Handling the estate of someone who is deceased can be a lengthy and stressful process. In general, our main advice would be:

  • Get some legal advice and practical guidance
  • Order several copies of the death certificate from the register office as you will need to send various organisations proof of death.

Usually there are two scenarios in dealing with an estate after death, depending on whether or not the deceased person left a will.

If there is a will;

The will lays out wishes and particular instructions in regards to the estate and its distribution. It should also include the names of the executors – the person or persons responsible for administering the will.

If you are a named executor, you need to apply for Grant of Probate which is the legal document you need in order to deal with the estate. You can apply to the Probate Registry directly or hire a solicitor. It takes a week to 10 days for your application to be processed and between four to 10 weeks to be approved, providing that there are no further queries or complications.

If there is no will;

If someone dies without leaving a valid will, it means that they have died intestate. In such cases the estate is distributed according to the Rules of Intestacy or the Inheritance Law.

The person who deals with the estate is called an administrator and they have to be appointed by the Court. They then need to apply for Letters of Administrators (issued by the Probate Registry) which grants them the legal permission to deal with the estate.

Although the administrator can be a family member, relative or a close friend, it’s worth consulting a lawyer as the Inheritance Laws can be quite complicated.

Debts;

If you are an executor or administrator, you are legally obliged to pay off any debts and outstanding payments before you distribute the estate (such as mortgage providers, store and credit cards and loans companies). You can use money from the estate to do that.

Inheritance Tax;

The current tax-free allowance which is also known as the nil band rate is £325,000 in the UK. If the estate’s value exceeds that number, you need to pay 40% tax.

The tax-free allowance is increased to £425,000 if the home is left to children or grandchildren. If the estate is left to the spouse or civil partner, there is no Inheritance Tax to be paid.

Please note that this is quite a complicated part of the probate process and you should consider legal advice.

Who to notify after a death;

When someone dies, you need to notify certain Government departments, banks, mortgage providers etc.

It is a legal responsibility which requires you to follow specific rules and regulations. If you decide to hire a solicitor to advise you or carry out any work, you should know that their fees are paid for by the estate.

In this digital age, you should also consider memorialising or cancelling social media and deleting email accounts by contacting the provider eg: Facebook and Microsoft.  Each provider has their own procedures.

We hope that this printable list will prepare you for the questions you will be asked when you speak to us. This list is intended as a guide only, and you can contact us at any stage for further advice and assistance.

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