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

With light at the end of the Covid tunnel at last, we take heart from how Kent recovered from previous calamities, from the 1930s depression to two world wars and the credit crunch. Article first written in July 2020

Read more

We’re all familiar with blue plaques, but could Kent Life come up with 10 notable births in our county – avoiding the most obvious ones? See if you agree

Read more
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How the sheep farming heritage of Romney Marsh, an area of great natural beauty but high unemployment, helped inspire the creation of Romney Tweed | Writer: Sarah Sturt - Pictures: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Who was your favourite doctor? Tom Baker regularly appears in the top two in Dr Who polls, is still acting and would never rule out a come-back | Words: Bernard Bale

Read more
Thursday, November 19, 2020

You might think you’re a bit of an expert on Kent but when the clock starts counting down, simple facts may start to elude your memory...

Read more

Pets are proving a lifesaver for many, providing companionship and consistency in uncertain times, as these Kent Life readers reveal

Read more
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Working closely with the most seriously ill of patients, Joanna Mitchell knows only too well the difference it can make when they are cared for at home.

Read more

Test your knowledge of Kent with our bumper sized 100 question quiz with a distinctly Kentish theme

Read more
Wednesday, November 11, 2020

In a year when we got an inkling of what living through a war means, we remember the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII | Words: Stephen Roberts - Photos: Manu Palomeque & courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

Read more
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Unknown Warrior’s journey from the World War One battlefields via Dover to his resting place in Westminster Abbey is 100 years old this month | Writer: Lucy Shrimpton - Pictures: Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Westminster Abbey and Manu Palomeque

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

Latest from the Kent Life