When a loved one dies

Losing someone close to you is a very difficult experience and the burden of dealing with their financial affairs at that time can cause a considerable amount of stress at a time of grief. The formalities involved in dealing with someone's estate after death can be time consuming and complicated.

Making a Will can make the administration of your estate more straightforward and ensures that your assets pass according to your wishes. However, where there is property, shares or savings in the estate then Probate may need to be obtained from the probate registry. The formalities of en-cashing or transferring assets, finalising any income tax due, paying debts and closing accounts then need to be dealt with.

Where there are young beneficiaries or if a trust arises under the Will then the executors normally act as trustees to look after the assets for the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the trust or until the children come of age. This means that executors duties can be on-going for many years.

Where someone dies without making a will this can complicate the situation considerably. The rules of intestacy determine who inherits the estate and this does not necessarily mean that your estate goes to who you would want it to. For example, these rules do not benefit unmarried partners or step children. This can lead to considerable stress and may lead to a claim against the estate of the person who has died for financial provision.

Acting as an executor or administrator can be an onerous task and if not dealt with correctly an executor can be held personally liable for any mistakes. This is why a lot of people choose to obtain professional advice to ensure that the estate is dealt with correctly and to ensure that all legal and procedural formalities are followed.

Jennifer Melly Law has considerable expertise in dealing with the preparation of wills and the administration of estates.