JANUARY SALE Subscribe for just £5 today CLICK HERE

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.


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

Tue, 10:36

A lawyer from Canterbury has launched a new Sunday afternoon tea party for senior citizens in the city who live alone

Read more
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Kent Life spends a festive morning with Christmas Bake Off star Jane Beedle in her Faversham home

Read more

Playing Fairy Goodfeather in Mother Goose at The Marlowe in Canterbury - her first-ever pantomime role - meet Whitstable actor Jenna Russell

Read more

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

Read more

A scream pierced the foggy night, then all was silent, save for the sound of scurrying footsteps. Murder had been committed. Dare you read on?

Read more

Join us on a literary journey around the Kent coast to see how it has inspired writers over the centuries

Read more
Monday, November 4, 2019

Barn or castle, golf club or famous public school - the choice is endless for couples looking to tie the knot in Kent

Read more

Meet the young man determined to take his family's fruit and cobnut farm into the future

Read more
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Unveiled at the Turner Contemporary on 10th October, the new note will match the polymer £10 and £5 notes

Read more

Joseph Hewison on how his affinity with dogs led to a full-time career working with them every day

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

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life