Four Key Steps Following the Death of a Loved One

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No-one likes to talk about death and it’s something many families choose to ignore until a loved one dies and those left have to manage all the different processes and procedures which then kick in. If the deceased has a will in place, that will certainly make things easier when it comes to managing the distribution of the estate but that’s not the only thing you will have to deal with.

To help those who aren’t sure what they will have to do when a loved one passes away, Swansea Legal Solutions has come up with these practical guidelines to take some of the headache away during this already difficult time.

#Step 1 – Registering the Death

The first thing you will need to do is to register the death which must be legally registered within five days. When doing so, you should obtain several copies of the death certificate as these could be required when it comes to administering the estate. It’s worth noting that the administrative expenses like the costs of the death certificate, are paid out of the deceased’s estate assets.

#Step 2 – Getting a Copy of the Deceased’s Will

It is very important to get a copy of the deceased’s last Will & Testament. In most cases, a family member or solicitor will be aware of the will and a copy will be readily available. (The will may also have some instructions about the funeral so it’s worth referring to the will early on just in case!).

If there is a will in place, executors will have been appointed to carry out the deceased’s wishes; only the executors can do this and apply for probate.

If there is no Will, the rules of “Intestacy” apply and the law will decide who the “Administrators” and beneficiaries of the estate are. These are usually the closest family members. For families who are not close and with distant relatives who could be deemed as ‘beneficiaries’, the process of locating them may not be easy.

Once identified, one or more of the beneficiaries may apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration in order to get the probate process going.

#Step 3- Arranging the Funeral

The next step is arrange the funeral. The deceased may have a funeral plan in place which pays for the funeral and lays out their specific wishes in terms of burial vs cremation and the music they want played for example. Or as mentioned, these wishes could be included in the will. 

 If they don’t have a plan in place, then your chosen undertaker will talk you through everything you need to consider. Once again, the costs of a funeral can be paid for out of the deceased’s estate but, as this can take time, it’s important to check with the undertaker that they are happy to wait for payment. 

#Step 4 – Securing the Assets of the Estate

The main duties of an Executor or Administrator is to secure the assets of the estate. This may involve removing valuables from an unoccupied property, redirecting post or informing the property insurers, utility companies, DWP and many more organisations of the death.

The Executor or Administrator will also need to speak to the deceased’s financial institutions such as banks, building societies etc., to ensure the death is recorded correctly and to find out what paperwork each one requires to release the funds.

At Swansea Legal Solutions, we can help with all aspects of estate planning, will writing and even funeral planning. We have dedicated teams who are on hand to help you through each step of the way. Visit our website to see our full range of services here  or call us today on 01792 420844.