Money and Law - The ultimate debt

PUBLISHED: 13:26 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 16:58 20 February 2013

Money and Law - The ultimate debt

Money and Law - The ultimate debt

The stresses and strains after a loved one dies can lead to confusion about what to do first: make sure you keep this handy eight-point guide safe.

Death is a debt we all must pay. In so saying, Euripides was not referring to the financial burdens of life but to the fact that in the end, the price for enjoying life is the final sacrifice that must be borne by each of us.

Arguably one of the hardest parts of practising as a solicitor is having to help families cope with the stresses and strains that arise when a loved one pays their ultimate debt. Many people trying to administer someones estate after they have died can either easily overlook important issues that need to be dealt with, or make mistakes that can be costly to put right.

That is where the professional adviser can prove to be so useful, but we find that many potential clients are either daunted by the prospect of using solicitors or do not have time.

The eight most important things to think about when someone dies are:




  • Find out if the person left a will there may be funeral instructions in the will itself or in other papers kept with the will. It will also tell you who is responsible for administering the estate and who is to get what.

  • Contact a funeral director to start making the funeral arrangements and make an appointment with the local Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages to register the death.

  • Get together details of all the persons financial and property affairs that need to be sorted out. Contact those institutions with a copy of the death certificate and obtain values at the date of death for probate purposes.

  • Assets abroad (holiday home, a bank account in Spain) can be a problem for an executor in this country. Investment accounts in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man are also outside the UK for probate purposes

  • Inheritance Tax is an obvious difficulty that can arise. Working out whether tax is payable can be complex and if it is, very often tax has to be raised before a Grant of Probate is obtained.

  • Grants of Probate can be a challenge to get. Not all estates need a Grant; it all depends on what is in the estate and every case is different. The Grant lets everyone know who is responsible for winding up the estate and allows the executors to realise assets and sell property.

  • Family arguments abound and it is not always easy to bring objectivity to solving what can be emotive problems. The key is good communication; without it, solutions rarely arise.

  • Accounts executors must prepare and keep accounts of all financial transactions they carry out on behalf of the estate. They must never mix estate monies with their own personal monies and must be able to produce a set of balanced accounts to the residuary beneficiaries at the end of the administration.



Profile

Stephen Beck is a partner of Whitehead Monckton and head of www.prob8.co.uk, the firms complete online estate administration service. He specialises in most aspects of wealth management and advises on the drawing up of wills, administering estates and trusts, lasting powers of attorney and receiverships.

For further information 01622 698000 or 01580 765722.

More from People

Thu, 16:02

80 years after the Battle of Britain, Richard Bates recalls the role his father H.E. Bates played in telling the stories of the famous ‘Few’ | Words: Richard Bates

Read more
Thursday, September 10, 2020

They were petty Kent criminals, sentenced to transportation to New South Wales, who became ‘Australian royalty’ as part of the ‘First Fleet’ | Words: John Wright

Read more
Friday, September 4, 2020

The Princess Royal, who celebrates her 70th birthday this month, reflects on her happy time at Benenden School near Cranbrook | Words: Bernard Bale

Read more

Kent Life meets some of the people working hard to save our historic vessels from the scrap heap

Read more
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Take a step back in time to the good old days with these vintage videos from around Kent

Read more
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

King Kong star Naomi Watts may be an Oscar-nominated actor, but she’s proud of her Kentish roots

Read more
Monday, August 10, 2020

Like any place of learning, an independent school should be a second home, somewhere pupils can count on for support and inspiration as they develop as individuals.

Read more
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Tradition continues at Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill in Westerham, with the arrival of its newest recruit – a marmalade cat named Jock

Read more
Monday, August 3, 2020

Phil Wise, Head of the Senior School at Kent College Canterbury (KC), shares the benefits of pastoral care and why student welfare should be the number one priority for any school.

Read more

Nina Callow reveals why she’s documenting her family’s life in lockdown

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life