Easing financial hardship when a loved one dies

06/11/2020

The process of sorting out a person’s affairs when they die can be difficult and upsetting for the surviving family members involved.The situation can be exacerbated when issues arise that cause delay and in turn, financial hardship. This year has been no exception.

Grant of ProbateDespite the rise in deaths this year, the Law Society reported that the number of applications for Grants of Probate fell by 50% since lockdown began. This trend has been seen in both lay person and solicitor applications with solicitors unable to access offices to collect original wills and clients being unable to access the deceased’s paperwork. As restrictions lifted, probate registries were put under pressure due to the surge of applications received. The increased length of time that people have had to wait for a grant of probate to be issued has resulted in delays in distributing the money and assets in the estate.

What can you do to help ease the process?

Here are some tips to help manage the Grant of Probate process:

  • The funeral account can be paid directly from funds held in the deceased’s bank account without the need for a Grant of Probate. Pass the invoice to the bank and they will handle the rest.
  • Monies held in a joint bank account will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner. This means the surviving joint owner will always have access to those monies without the need for a Grant of Probate.
  • Check to see if the deceased had a life insurance policy as the beneficiaries may be able to receive a lump sum which can be paid before Grant of Probate is obtained.
  • Following on from the above, do not overlook an old premium bond, share certificate or life insurance document that you find as they may have a value. It is always worth enquiring.
  • Discuss your financial position as a family so there are no surprises and seek professional advice if relevant.
  • Make sure you have an up to date Will in place naming Executors who are still alive and capable of dealing with the administration. 

More information

If you require any assistance handling a loved one’s estate, contact a member of our Private Client Team by completing the contact form on this page, emailing mail@pinneytalfourd.co.uk or calling 01708 229444.

This article was written by Emma Thrope, Associate in the Private Client Team at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of November 2020.

06/11/2020

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