What To Do When Someone Dies …

The death of a family member or a close friend can be an extremely difficult time.  Dealing with the financial affairs following the death of someone close to you can seem like a daunting task.  It can seem very difficult to know where to start whilst you are still grieving for that person.

Initially, the most important task to deal with is the organisation of the funeral.  In order to do this, the death will need to be registered at your local Registry Office.  This will then allow you to proceed with organising the funeral.

Following this, it will need to be established if your loved one made a Will.  If they did make a Will then the “Executors”, a legal term for those appointed by the Will to administer the assets of the deceased, will then need to gather together information so that everything can be wound up and dealt with.

It is important to establish if there is a Will because if there is no Will then the Administrator will need to make an application to the local Probate Registry to get a Grant of Letters of Administration to enable them to deal with the estate as this gives them legal authority to do so.

In any event, if someone has savings/investments/property in their own name with a value of excess of £5,000.00 it is usually the case that a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration will need to be applied for.  The Grant is confirmation by the Court that a person or persons are legally entitled to sell/encash/transfer the assets held within the estate.

As well as dealing with the assets it is important that all of the tax matters are resolved.  This will include settling any Income Tax affairs up until the date of death, ensuring that any Capital Gains Tax Liabilities which occurred during the deceased’s lifetime is settled and ensuring that the Inheritance Tax position is settled.  Inheritance Tax will either need to be paid, if applicable, or on exemption applied for under what is known as a Transferable Nil Rate Band exemption.  A married couple, or a couple who have entered into a Civil Partnership, are entitled to this exemption and therefore meaning their joint estates can amount to £650,000 before Inheritance Tax is paid.  This is generally the rule although there are a few exceptions to this.

Every person is different and likewise the financial affairs of a deceased person will be different in every situation.  At MKB we can offer a tailored service to you in order to assist you at a very difficult time.  If you need any assistance with dealing with an estate upon the death of someone close to you, or the running of a Trust as a result of a death, please do not hesitate to contact our Private Paying Department.


Louise Moran

MKB Solicitors LLP

August 2011