How to Deal with a Deceased Person’s State – According to a relatively recent IRN Wills and Probate Research Report, fewer than four-in-10 adults in the UK have made a last will and testament.
This represents a significant issue, as it means that a deceased person’s estate can become the subject of complex administration and emotionally challenging conflicts between family members.
Creating a will is crucial to dealing effectively with a deceased person’s estate, but how else can you achieve this objective?
The Role of an Executor
One of the benefits of making a will is that you have an opportunity to name one or more people as an executor.
This individual or small group of people will shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that the deceased’s wishes are carried out as requested, particularly in terms of how their estate is divided up and distributed to beneficiaries.
Because of their role, executors are commonly referred to as ‘administrators’, who must deal directly with all cash and real estate assets while ensuring that the requisite tax and probate fees are settled before the remainder of the estate is distributed.
What to Do When Somebody Dies – The Initial Steps
The role of an executor is quite varied and involved, and it includes a number of tasks in the aftermath of a person’s death.
The first step is to register the death with the relevant authority, depending on your local jurisdiction. This must be done within five days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while you’ll have eight days (including weekends and bank holidays) to do this in Scotland.
This will include the information that you’ll need to distribute the deceased’s assets, including confirmation of your status as the official executor and the desired destination of individual assets such as cash, houses and business interests.
The executor may also help to arrange the deceased’s funeral, although this can also be done with the help of other family members and loved ones.
In order to distribute the deceased’s estate, you’ll need the authority to contact the relevant organisations that hold their assets. This will include banks and pension providers, and this authority is referred to in legal terms as probate.
Once you’ve acquired this, your first steps should be to pay the relevant fees and taxes associated with the estate. This includes any accumulated interest or fees on assets that have accrued prior to the deceased’s death, while a tax rate of 40% may also be payable in the UK if the total estate is worth £325,000 or more.
Once these fees have been settled, you can distribute the estate and its assets as requested and issue a final estate document.
This isn’t a legal requirement, but it helps to show that all the money has been paid out as required while ensuring that the estate has been settled in full.