The Inheritance Guide

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What happens when Someone Dies?

When someone dies it is a difficult time for all concerned. This blog summarises the practicalities of what to do once someone has passed on. For more detailed guidance please go to

When someone dies the first thing that needs to happen is registration of the death. To do this it is necessary to make an appointment with the Registrar of Births and Deaths. To find out where your local Registrar’s office is visit: This has to be completed within 5 days of the death and can be done by a relative or someone who was present when the deceased passed away. You will need to provide a medical certificate.

This step is usually followed by organization of the funeral which tends to be done by close relatives or friends of the deceased. The extent of organizing largely depend on the deceased’s wishes as set out in their Will but this can include sending out notices, organizing a wake, choosing flowers, and a host of other things. The payment for the funeral is sometimes met by the family, and sometimes met by the estate of the deceased [is this possible – and how does this work in practice]

Following this there are some admin tasks that need to be taken care of and are usually taken on by the executor. The Executor is nominated in the will and typically will be a beneficiary of the estate. These admin tasks include collating relevant paperwork, closing bank accounts and stopping direct debits to taking out vacant property insurance if the property is left unoccupied.

It is the then the responsibility of the executor to make an estimate of the estates worth, and if this is above £5k, will have to obtain the Grant of Probate from HMRC which provides the authority to withdraw savings and sell the assets of the estate such as shares and property. Before the executor can apply for a Grant of Probate, inheritance tax must be paid on the estate. This only applies to estates which are worth more than £325k.

Once the Grant has been received the executor can distribute the estate to the relevant parties. This part of the process can take time, particularly if there is a property to sell.

The final piece is that the executor is to draw up estate accounts which are then provided to the beneficiaries and filed with HMRC.

Depending on the complexities of each estate administration it may be appropriate to seek professional advice.

The Inheritance Guide is there to walk you through this process free of charge and suggest appropriate services as they are required, such as financial planning for beneficiaries or drawing up formal estate accounts. Please click here for further support

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