Dealing with Someone's Affairs when they Die

Pete Liggins
September 29, 2023
Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult and emotional time and dealing with their affairs can feel overwhelming.

Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult and emotional time and dealing with their affairs can feel overwhelming. When someone passes away, there are several important steps to take when handling their estate which will ensure that their wishes are carried out.

One of the first tasks is to appoint an executor, if one has not been named in the will, who will be responsible for managing the deceased person's affairs. This individual will play a crucial role in handling everything from funeral arrangements to distributing assets amongst beneficiaries. It's important to choose someone who is trustworthy and capable of fulfilling these duties.

Once the executor has been appointed, they will need to gather information about the deceased person's estate, including obtaining valuations for any property or assets, as well as determining any outstanding debts or liabilities. They will be responsible for locating all financial documentation and submitting copies of the death certificate to organisations such as banks and building societies, as well as confirming balances and requesting freezes on all accounts. The executor is also required to open a bank account on behalf of the estate where all monies belonging to the estate need to be secured.

An estate is made up of everything the deceased owned at the time of death such as money in the bank, shares, property, art, jewellery, antiques, and personal belongings. It may be necessary to consult with professionals such as solicitors or accountants to ensure that all legal requirements are met, as well as specialist valuers for assets such as property, art, jewellery, or antiques. Accurate valuations are paramount; therefore, it is not worth taking a guess for the sake of speeding up the process. If HMRC identifies any inaccuracies, it will cause delays in the processing of the estate and can sometimes result in penalties or fines. 

Tax considerations are also an important part of dealing with someone's affairs after they pass away. The executor will need to determine if any inheritance tax is due on the estate and make arrangements for payment if necessary. They may also need to consider other tax implications such as capital gains tax or income tax on any income generated by the estate. In addition, it's important for the executor to be aware of any benefits that may be available following the death of a loved one. This could include bereavement benefits or pensions that may be payable to surviving family members.

Finally, once all necessary steps have been taken and the probate or letters of administration have been granted, the executor will receive a letter from HMRC which will state any taxes due. Once this has been paid, details of the gross and net estate will be finalised. At this point the distribution of assets can commence according to the wishes outlined in the deceased person's will (if there was one). The executor must ensure that this process is carried out fairly and in accordance with the law.

Dealing with someone's affairs when they die is undoubtedly a challenging task, but it is important to approach it with care and compassion. Seeking professional advice and support can help to navigate the complexities of this process, ensuring that the wishes of the deceased are respected, and their estate is handled appropriately.

Here at Dawsons we provide a complete solution for house contents valuation, and our friendly team of Specialists are on hand to help. 

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