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Estate Administration

What do you need to do when someone dies?

The days following the loss of a loved one is a difficult time, and many relatives find it very hard to consider the administrative tasks that must be undertaken.  In the short term, the reality is that most things can wait a little while.

First steps – registering the death

You must register the death within 5 days. If the deceased died in a house or public building you can register the death if you are one of the following:

  1. A relative who was present at the death, during the final stages of the illness or living in the same area as the deceased;
  2. Anyone who was present at the death;
  3. Someone in authority in the building where the death took place;
  4. A resident in the building where the death took place and if you were aware of the circumstances of the death;
  5. The person responsible for arranging the funeral.

You should take the medical certificate provided by the doctor who verified the death to the local Registrar of Deaths.

Once you have the death certificate the next step is to make the funeral arrangements.

Estate Administration

If you are an executor of the Will you will need to identify the deceased’s assets and debts, pay off creditors, and then distribute what’s left.

In order to administer the estate you will need to apply for a grant of probate before you can get the official authority to deal with the assets. In this application you will need to work out the value of the estate and complete inheritance tax forms for HM Revenue & Customs. You will need to establish whether inheritance tax is payable and if so you will need to pay this tax.

Estate administration can be complex, particularly if the estate is large or complicated. There is also a risk of dispute which if it arises can cause many issues.

It is also important to note that as an executor of the Will you have significant responsibilities. For example, if you start paying out inheritances before repaying debts you might be held personally responsible.

Using a solicitor

We recommend that you use a solicitor for estate administration to avoid any potential problems and liabilities when carrying out the deceased wishes and covering any debts or tax owed. The process can be incredibly complex and at an emotionally fraught time is a significant undertaking.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Probate team today please contact us for supportive, expert advice.

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