Dealing with a death is difficult on many levels. As well as the emotional hardship, there are also many practical things to sort out and it can feel overwhelming. From arranging a funeral to sorting out the things they left behind and dealing with other unsolved issues, it can feel like the list is endless.
If you have been placed in charge of sorting out someone’s estate after death, here are a few things you need to think about and where to get help if needed.
What Is An Estate?
Many people might think of a physical building or piece of land when they hear the word ‘estate’, but in reality, an estate can include a variety of things. As well as property, estate can mean shares and investments, personal belongings and money that can be found as cash or as contributions to a life insurance policy.
If the deceased has died before paying off their debts, this will also come out of the estate. This could include money spent on a credit card, bills and rent or mortgage payments.
Check If There Is A Will
A will normally contains instructions about how the deceased wants their money to be distributed after their death. This might also include who they want to lead the arrangements and further details about what they want to happen to their property and belongings. They might name their executor, be that a solicitor, a member of the family or a friend.
If there is no will and you can’t find out what the deceased intended, it is a good idea to contact an expert or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Have The Estate Valued
Before you get into the details about sorting out the estate, it’s a good idea to know its full value. Make sure to investigate everything like property, private pensions, savings, jewellery, or valuable collections.
Any valuable gifts that they have away in the last seven years before their death will also need to be included. This is because certain gifts might be liable to Inheritance Tax. You also need to include any debt that the person left behind and take that off the value of the estate.
Get Help If You Need It
It’s easy to feel anxious when there is so much to do and sort out. Add to that the emotional turmoil that comes with losing a loved one and it can prove to be a very difficult time. It also might put strains on you and your family as it comes to who gets what out of someone’s will.
If you don’t know where to start, talk to an expert like a reputable estate lawyer who can take on some of the responsibilities.