When the death is registered, you will usually be given a form to send off which informs all government agencies and authorities of the death. This service is called “Tell us once” and informs:
Arrangements need to be made for dependent relatives, children and pets.
The banks need to be informed to ensure that no further payments are paid into the accounts or direct debits or standing orders paid out.
Utility companies should be informed.
Secure the house and any other property and inform the insurance company that the house is now empty. Some insurance policies do not cover unoccupied properties so you may need to take out either an extension of cover or a new policy. Secure any valuable items such as antiques and jewellery by removing them and placing them in safe storage.
If the house is empty, re-direct post to the person(s) who are legally authorised to administer the estate. e.g executor/administrator.
Before the house can be sold or handed back to the landlord (if rented), it will have to be cleared of all of the deceased’s possessions.
Any Powers of Attorney need to be secured to ensure they are not used. If registered with the Office of the Public Guardian they should be returned with the death certificate for cancellation.
It is a criminal offence to use a Power of Attorney after the donor has died.
It may be that because of the death the surviving spouse / civil partner may be entitled to benefit from Bereavement Support Payments.
The widowed parent may also be eligible for Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
You must check eligibility criteria.
If there is a Will, the Executors have a strict obligation to administer the estate of the deceased. They will need to apply for a Grant of Probate.
If there is not a Will, the deceased is said to have died intestate and therefore it is the responsibility of the next of kin who will need to apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration. (Section 46 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and Rule 22 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 set out the order of priority of those entitled to share in an estate).
In either case those who take on the administration of the estate are taking on quite an onerous responsibility and any mistakes in the process can end in the executor(s) or administrator(s) being personally liable for the errors they make!
Probate has become an umbrella term for Estate Administration. Administering the Estate includes dealing with the legal processes which enable the executor/administrator to in very simple terms:
The process in reality, can be extremely detailed and onerous depending on the complexities of an estate.
Probate is legally required if:
Initial FREE consultation with Executor / Family to take instructions, collect all relevant documentation and verify client’s ID;
Following signing of Contract / Letter of Engagement we will write to the client to confirm the processes we are required to complete for the estate and the fees payable;
Completion and application to the Probate Registry of a PA11 Power of Attorney to enable us to act as your representative;
Ascertaining the value of the estate by writing to all asset holders and creditors PLUS the value of any income received from the asset since 6th April til the date of death e.g bank interest, share dividends, pension payments etc and reporting it to HMRC.
Dealing with any income tax refund due to the estate;
Completion of relevant Inheritance Tax (IHT) Return and supplementary documentation including any transferrable IHT allowances applicable from deceased spouse / civil partner;
Preparation and application to the Probate Registry via the PA1P for the Grant of Representation via a licensed conveyancer;
Writing to all asset holders to release funds;
Arranging for house/property to be marketed for sale;
Place Statutory Notices in appropriate publications;
Pay all liabilities;
Set up trusts for beneficiaries (if applicable);
Completion of Estate Tax Returns to include Income Tax for the last period of the deceased’s life and the administration period and Capital Gains Tax if applicable;
Preparation of Estate Accounts for beneficiaries’ approval;
Distribution of funds to beneficiaries or transfers to trustees if applicable.
All estate monies will be in a bespoke client account. Ensured Wills are registered with HMRC for Money Laundering Purposes.
Our fees are not a standard set price. Instead we will tailor the price bespoke to the requirements of the particular estate of the deceased. This is done to ensure that YOU get the best deal available. We may agree:
An hourly rate for less complex cases;
A set fee;
A fee based on a percentage of the value of the estate ranging from 1-2% depending on complexity of the estate.