It can be an overwhelming time when you lose a loved one, but you should know that there is a lot of help out there. It is important to try to remain calm, don’t be afraid to share tasks with friends or family and keep a record of everything you do, as well as of the advice you are given. Below is some advice about the financial side of dealing with the death of a loved one.
When someone dies
Administering the affairs and estate of a loved one is necessary after they die. This covers legal, tax and administrative matters and can be complex and time-consuming. While you may wish to complete the administration of the estate yourself, you also have the option to appoint a legal professional to carry out the work on your behalf.
Check if there is a funeral plan
The next of kin (if this is not you) will know if there is a funeral plan, or there may be paperwork in the possessions of your loved one to this effect, or they may have left funeral instructions in their will (see below). Even if you only know the name of the funeral director you can contact them to confirm any arrangements already in place.
Having a funeral plan ready in the event of your death is so helpful to your loved ones both emotionally and financially; Co-operative Funeralcare can help with this; what is a funeral plan?
Check if there is a will
The will details who the appointed executors are to carry out the instructions on the will and the tasks involved with estate administration. It is important to access the will before finalising the funeral arrangements as the person who has died may have left instructions about their funeral wishes.
Financial support for the bereaved
In the first few days of your loved one’s death, it is worth checking if you are entitled to any Bereavement Support Benefits – www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment. You should also let your employer (if you have one) know about your bereavement, as you are legally entitled to a reasonable amount of time off to arrange and attend the funeral as well as deal with administrative affairs – this time off is known as compassionate leave. You will need to speak to your employer about how long this can be and whether you can still receive pay when you are away from work.
Administering loved one’s affairs
Once the death is registered with the local Registrar, there may be a list of accounts or contracts to close or cancel, debts to pay (although it’s important to note that debts are owed from the loved one’s estate and not passed to family) plus other financial matters to address. Co-operative Funeralcare has a check list of organisations you will need to contact here.
Other places to find information include the Citizens Advice Bureau: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/death-and-wills/dealing-with-the-financial-affairs-of-someone-who-has-died