How do I organise a family member’s estate when they pass away?
Losing anyone close to us results in a complicated whirlwind of emotions and we quickly find ourselves lost at sea with a mountain of tasks to organise, while also managing our own grief. It’s not uncommon for people to have never thought about the process of organising a loved one’s estate in the event of death and so here is compiled a list of the basics to help ease the journey of grief and healing.
How to deal with a loved one’s property
First of all when we say property we aren’t just referring to a person’s home – property covers many aspects of a person’s wealth, and the combination of all their assets is called their estate. This is made up from any cash at home and money in their bank account, including money paid from life insurance. It also has to take into account any money owed to the deceased, any shares they own, any buildings including their home, any property they rent or any shares of property they own. Their personal possessions which can include their car, jewellry, electronics and even their clothes will all be included.
If the person who has passed owes any money to a credit card company, loan company, rent, bills or mortgage this would come out of their estate.
Who can legally deal with the property?
It is very likely that the person who has passed away will have instructed an executor in their will; this person is then responsible for dealing with the estate. This person may then need to apply for legal authority before dealing with the estate – this is called probate. This is then when you may need to turn to a probate solicitor Emsworth for advice and support.
If the person has not left an executor, however, it will be that an administrator is used to divide the estate and they will have to apply for letters of administration before they can do so.
What do the executors or administrators actually do?
Personal representatives are there to find financial documentation for the person who’s died and they have to send the death certificate to the relevant people. They need to open bank accounts on behalf of the estate, find all monies owed by the estate, find all monies owed to the estate, detail lists of any property, work out inheritance tax owed and arrange payment. They are also responsible for organising and sending documents required by the probate registry and HM Revenue and
Paying debts, solicitor fees, and expenses and the sharing of the estate as set out in the will or according to the rules of intestacy are all part of their remit too.
Worth a note – if it appears that the estate does not have the funds to pay outstanding bills, debts, expenses etc. you will need to seek advice from a solicitor as administering an estate can be very complex.
Now all of that can sound very overwhelming, which is why it can be wise to instruct a probate solicitor to help ease the burden. Probate solicitors often work on a percentage fee of the estate so there is not a worry about ever mounting expenses.