Amidst the sadness of losing a loved one there are some practicalities, such as financial issues, which do need to be addressed as quickly as possible.
Lawyers like Slater and Gordon deal with wills and probate on a daily basis and understand all the complications relating to these matters, but for someone who is experiencing a state of emotional turmoil, trying tie up some financial lose ends can be quite daunting.
Dealing with a typical estate
A good starting point when tying up the affairs of someone who has died, is to understood what is included when talking about their estate.
A typical estate will take account of all of the persons known assets and liabilities.
Their assets will include any money and property that they have, including any life insurance payout due. It will also encompass any items that can be converted into cash, such as stocks and shares, personal possessions such as jewellery and furniture, plus any debts due to them that have yet to be paid.
Their estate will also need to take account of any debts owed by the deceased person, such as mortgage, credit cards, taxes etc.
Deducting the value of their total debts from the total sum of their assets, will provide you with a figure which should give you an indication of the value of their estate at the time of death.
Appointing an executor or administrator
It is a bad news all round if someone dies without making a will, as dying intestate, could result in their assets going to the treasury and not the people who perhaps would have benefitted from a will.
As part of making a will, an executor needs to be appointed. This is the person who will assume responsibility for dealing with the estate. This is sometimes a legal representative or a close relative, sometime both.
It normally against the law to start sharing out any proceeds from the estate until the will has been approved and you have probate or letters of administration in place.
Check with a legal specialist if you want advice on setting up or interpreting a will, so that you can deal with financial matters more efficiently after a loved one dies.
Helping a loved one before they die
There are many implications to getting old and one of them, is a loss of mental capacity, which could leave a person vulnerable and unable to deal with their financial matters competently.
This can be a nightmare scenario to deal with on both and emotional and legal perspective, which is why it is sound advice to consider putting arrangements in place to take over the management of their financial affairs while they are still alive.
There are numerous safeguards in place to ensure that anyone tasked with the responsibility of making financial decisions on behalf of someone else, is properly monitored to make sure that they always act in that personâ€™s best interests.
Take proper legal advice on this subject if you feel that a loved one needs some help managing their finances while they are still alive, due to mental incapacity. It would also certainly help to make sorting out their affairs easier after they have gone.
Tying up any financial loose ends when a loved one dies, is always a bit of an emotional challenge, but understanding the process and what is involved, will make it a bit easier to deal with.
Keira Pearson works as a secretary at a busy solicitors company in London. Often answering questions for clients, she has taken to sharing some of her knowledge by writing articles.