Dealing with bereavement
Posted on 27th October 2023
When you lose a close friend or family member you must deal with your grief and many practical issues too.
If you’re an executor for your loved one’s estate this is a very challenging time. Although it’s a necessary administrative process it’s sometimes confusing and stressful.
Stress and bereavement
It’s not only wealthy people who have complex estates. Many of us have several accounts for our money, own property and have other things of value. Organising a death certificate, the funeral, the probate process and managing your loved one’s estate can feel like a burden.
Unexpected costs, repeatedly providing the same information, slow manual processes, and challenges to Wills can all make matters worse. In a recent study over half of the people who took part said their mental health suffered during their bereavement. They identified estate administration as the most stressful part of the whole process.
What does estate administration involve?
Finding and confirming the value of assets and liabilities can take a long time. Even when your loved one’s records are good there are a lot of details to deal with.
Wills. One in five people die without making a Will, meaning the laws of intestacy apply. Only about one in 10 people who die with a Will in place leave their financial affairs in good order. Often executors are unaware of all the assets in an estate.
Probate. As an executor you must apply for probate before you can settle accounts, pay inheritance tax and distribute money and gifts to beneficiaries. The whole process can take many months and, for complicated estates, possibly more than a year. Most people find this time-consuming and slower than they expect.
Costs. Over a quarter of people suffer financial difficulties when administering an estate, adding even more stress. Many have to pay expenses during the process, leaving almost a third in financial difficulties.
Financial institutions are the top cause of estate administration delays which add to the costs. However, less than half of them have dedicated bereavement teams to help with the notification and settlement process.
While online notifications are possible it’s not always easy. Concerns about older generations being reluctant to use this route are often cited. Although this might be a reasonable point, younger generations often take responsibility for completing the estate administration process.
I provide a Probate Assist service for a fixed fee so you can have the reassurance of professional support and less financial worries.
I can help you to understand your loved one’s estate, including assessing the value of their property and other assets. I’ll explain how to obtain a death certificate and the processes for a final tax return and probate application.
Please get in touch for help to write or update your Will or to find out about Probate Assist.
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