Advice, support and comfort for the bereaved

Advice, support and comfort for the bereaved

When somebody close to you dies, it can be helpful to get advice and support to help you deal your loss. You can seek practical help from the funeral directors involved, or from your family doctor. If you need more guidance or support, though, there are agencies that can help. Practical help You can ask for practical help and advice about what happens next and what you need to do from your solicitor, a trusted…

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Applying for probate

Applying for probate

What is meant by ‘grant of probate’? ‘Grant of probate’ is a legal document, which a person will need if they are named as an executor of a will. It confers the right to organise a person’s affairs once they are deceased. Why is probate important? Proof of probate is critical for liaising with: banks local authorities tax and pensions companies estate agents insurance and utility firms. In the majority of cases, the institution will…

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Are there any tax issues when setting up a trust?

Are there any tax issues when setting up a trust?

This overview outlines the inheritance tax (IHT), capital gains tax (CGT), and income tax implications arising on (i) creation of a trust, (ii) during the lifetime of a trust, and (iii) in subsequent transactions involving trust assets. [NB. In addition to the taxes outlined in this overview, trustees should also bear in mind that they may have to deal with taxes specific to the trust assets, such as stamp duty on transactions involving shares and…

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Arranging a funeral

Arranging a funeral

A funeral can be either by burial or by cremation. You can organise it with or without the help of a funeral director, and personalise it as much as you wish. In some cases the deceased may have planned their own funeral in advance. Timing Bear in mind that you can’t finalise the date for the funeral until after the death has been registered. If the death has to be reported to the coroner, the…

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At what age should I write a will?

At what age should I write a will?

The age at which one should write a will depends, to some extent, on individual circumstances. You can make a will any time after you are 18 years old, but there are some life events that you might think of as triggers for the preparation of a will. Becoming Financially Independent From Your Parents Some people quickly become financially independent from their parents, whereas others, perhaps because they are attending university or are in post-graduate…

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Bona vacantia and the Treasury Solicitor

Bona vacantia and the Treasury Solicitor

What is the Treasury Solicitor? The Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) is a non-ministerial Governmental department responsible for providing legal services to most Central Government departments and other publicly-funded organisations throughout England and Wales. What does the Treasury Solicitor do? TSol is essentially tasked with enabling the Government to work effectively within the confines of the rule of law. Within Government, TSol consults on legislation – for instance, on employment law in the Civil Service. Externally,…

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Can I change a trust I set up?

Can I change a trust I set up?

Changing a trust after it has been set up is possible, but not necessarily easy. The reasons a beneficiary might want to change the terms of a trust usually have to do with taxes, or with circumstances that have changed in a way that the person establishing the trust (the “settlor”) may not have anticipated. Here are the ways that a trust can be changed: By agreement of the beneficiaries Probably the simplest way to…

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Can I revoke my will?

Can I revoke my will?

There are several ways of revoking a will. This can happen when the person who made the will intends to revoke it, but there are also some ways that it can happen automatically, by operation of law, even if the person who made the will did not intend to revoke it. Intentionally revoking a will A person can always revoke his will while he is alive and has legal capacity. A clause in a will…

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Can I set up a trust myself or do I need a solicitor?

Can I set up a trust myself or do I need a solicitor?

In most cases, you would be well advised to get professional help in setting up a trust. The pitfalls involved in a DIY approach can be daunting and an experienced solicitor can guide you through the tax issues, trust law and other areas of concern: Tax Issues Broadly speaking, trusts are subject to three kinds of tax: inheritance; income; and capital gains. The amount of tax that has to be paid depends on how the…

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Childrens savings schemes and accounts

Childrens savings schemes and accounts

If you have any children or grandchildren you may want to open a savings account for them to encourage them to save from an early age. In general, children’s savings accounts work like adults’ accounts, but some schemes are designed specifically for children. Do children have to pay tax on savings? Banks and building societies offer savings accounts just for children. Most adult accounts will usually have 20 per cent tax deducted on the interest…

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Choosing and using a financial adviser

Choosing and using a financial adviser

If your finances are complicated or you need advice on a particular financial product a financial adviser can help. Firms must be authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to advise on most financial products. This means they must follow certain rules and standards when dealing with you. What is financial advice? When you get financial advice, the financial adviser looks at your individual circumstances and needs and recommends financial products to meet them. If…

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Companies and estates discretionary payments and grants

Companies and estates discretionary payments and grants

You might be entitled to receive a discretionary payment from dissolved company’s assets or a grant from a deceased person’s estate from the Treasury Solicitor. How companies and estates discretionary payments work The Treasury Solicitor administers the estates of persons who die without making a will and any entitled blood relatives along with collecting the assets of dissolved companies. Under certain circumstances the Treasury Solicitor can makea discretionary payment or grant to people as former…

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Coroners, post-mortems and inquests

Coroners, post-mortems and inquests

The coroner is a doctor or lawyer responsible for investigating deaths in particular situations and can also arrange for a post-mortem examination of the body, if necessary. An inquest is a legal inquiry into the causes and circumstances of a death. When a death will be reported to the coroner If death occurs in any of the following circumstances, the doctor may reportit to the coroner: after an accident or injury following an industrial disease…

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Dealing with a deceased persons money and property

Dealing with a deceased persons money and property

After someone dies, someone (called the deceased person’s ‘executor’ or ‘administrator’) must deal with their money and property (known as the ‘estate’). They need to pay the deceased person’s taxes and debts, and distribute his or her money and property to the people entitled to it. Who deals with the deceased person’s estate? If the deceased person left a valid will, the person who deals with the estate is called the deceased person’s ‘executor’. If…

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Dealing with finances after a death: a checklist

Dealing with finances after a death: a checklist

When someone dies the ‘executor’ (if there is a will) or ‘administrator’ (if there is no will) normally sorts out their finances and then distributes what’s left according to the will or the laws of intestacy. In some cases an executor or administrator may not be needed. Who can help you? If you’re acting as executor or administrator it’s advisable to speak to the deceased’s solicitor and accountant if they had one. Whether or not…

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Dealing with the deceaseds rented home

Dealing with the deceaseds rented home

What to do when a tenant dies depends on whether their home belongs to the council or a private landlord. It also depends on whether or not the deceased was sharing the rented home with others. If the property is privately rented If the deceased was living in a home owned by a private landlord, the contract between the deceased and the landlord will detail what will happen if the tenant dies. Not all contracts…

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Do I need a living will?

Do I need a living will?

As people near the final stages of their life, they may become incapable of expressing how they wish to be treated medically. If you are concerned that your health might affect your decision-making ability in the future, you can create a living will (also known as an Advance Decision in England and an Advance Directive in Scotland). This statement will allow you to make advanced decisions such as refusing treatment. Living wills and the law…

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Do I need an estate planning solicitor?

Do I need an estate planning solicitor?

In most cases, you would be well advised to get professional estate planning advice. The pitfalls involved in a DIY approach can be daunting and an experienced estate planning solicitor can help you deal with a number of issues, including drafting a will, appointing a power of attorney, tax planning, setting up a trust and addressing any other areas of concern. Errors in DIY estate planning can have serious consequences. For example, you may increase…

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Documents and information needed when someone dies

Documents and information needed when someone dies

Check the lists here of all the documents and information needed after someone dies, both to notify the required people/organisations immediately after the death and as part of the longer term probate process. Documents/information needed in the first five days You’ll need to gather together the following documents and information as soon as possible – to enable registration of the death and to start funeral arrangements. Documents medical certificate of the cause of death (signed…

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Estate planning checklist

Estate planning checklist

Here is a checklist of items to consider when thinking about estate planning: 1. Inheritance tax Consider whether lifetime gifts (as potentially exempt transfers and/or using any of the exemptions that apply to certain lifetime transfers) could be used to reduce future inheritance tax (IHT) liability. Planning for post-death IHT (such as the ability of spouses, in effect, to combine their nil-rate IHT bands). 2. Your will Do you have a will, and if not…

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Estate planning FAQs

Estate planning FAQs

If I leave all of my assets to my spouse when I die, will he or she have to pay inheritance tax on them? No, a gift to your spouse is exempt from inheritance tax. I own some shares that have appreciated in value considerably since I bought them. If, in my will, I leave the shares to specific individuals or to a trust, will my estate have to pay capital gains tax when the…

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Financial help for the bereaved

Financial help for the bereaved

A death in the family can cause money problems for those who are left. Whether the problems are short or long term, there is financial help available. Bereavement Payment and Allowance If your husband, wife or civil partner has died you may be able to get Bereavement Payment, a one-off, lump-sum payment of 2,000 that’s tax-free. After you’re widowed you may be able to claim Bereavement Allowance, the taxable weekly benefit paid to you for…

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Foreign wills

Foreign wills

A large number of people in the UK own property abroad, and in many cases the succession laws of the country in which the property is located could govern the disposition of that property on the owner’s death. For that reason, it is often a good idea to have a foreign will to deal with any significant overseas assets that you might own. Conflicting laws Sometimes the inheritance laws in a foreign country will operate…

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Giving money to your children and grandchildren

Giving money to your children and grandchildren

You might want to give money to your children or grandchildren to encourage them to save or to give them a nest-egg when they leave home. If you give money to your children, or you invest it for them, you may have to pay tax on the interest. Giving money if you’re a parent or step-parent There’s no limit on how much you can give or invest for your children or grandchildren. But the interest…

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Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration

Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration

Individuals are encouraged to make a will so that when they die their assets will be distributed to their loved ones. Wills can be very complicated or very simple, and owing to the increased number of will writers providing services, a solicitor’s fee will generally be quite cheap. Executors A will usually provides for two or at least one executor. An executor is somebody given the responsibility of administering the estate on the death of…

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How can I avoid inheritance tax?

How can I avoid inheritance tax?

The basic rules of inheritance tax (IHT) are fairly simple: When you die, everything you own forms part of your estate. IHT is due on the value of your estate. The rate of IHT is 0% on the first 325,000 of your estate (which is known as the nil-rate band), and 40% on the rest. There are a number of legal ways to save inheritance tax. They involve appropriate planning in your will and certain…

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How do I ensure a trust is properly administered?

How do I ensure a trust is properly administered?

Most trusts will require some degree of administration, which will include the management of trust investments, regular accounting for trust assets and income, the preparation and filing of tax returns, and the processing of any payments or other distributions to beneficiaries. The trustees are responsible for the administration of the trust. So the best way to ensure that a trust is properly administered is to ensure that the trustees are fully aware of the size…

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How do I make a will?

How do I make a will?

By making a will you can decide what happens to your property and possessions after your death. Although you do not have to make one by law, it is the best way to make sure your estate is passed on to family and friends exactly as you wish. If you die without a will, your assets may be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes. Why it’s important to make a will Leaving…

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How should I plan the division of my estate?

How should I plan the division of my estate?

When you pass away, the executors of your Will will be liable to pay inheritance tax from the proceeds of the estate if it is worth more than 325,000. In 2014, inheritance tax revenues jumped by 9%, and are set to double over the next five years. Many families are helping their loved ones make the most of their inheritance while still alive in order to lower the potential tax due. Before a Will can…

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How to make a living will

How to make a living will

Every adult with mental capacity has the right to agree to or refuse medical treatment. To make your advance wishes clear you can use a living will. Living wills can include general statements about your wishes, which aren’t legally binding, and specific refusals of treatment called ‘advanced decisions’ or ‘advance directives’. General written statements A general written statement (sometimes called an ‘advance statement’) can set out which treatments you feel you would or wouldn’t like…

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Is there tax to pay if I make a will?

Is there tax to pay if I make a will?

It is important to plan ahead to ensure that when you die your estate is shared out exactly as you want it to be. This can be achieved by leaving a will. If you have complex financial affairs, you may wish to consult a solicitor or financial advisor for some help. Inheritance tax threshold The inheritance tax threshold (or ‘nil rate band’) is the amount up to which an estate will have no inheritance tax…

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Making a claim on a deceaseds estate – introduction

Making a claim on a deceaseds estate – introduction

If you are entitled to an estate which is being dealt with by the Treasury Solicitor, then you need to submit your name and contact information with details of your relationship to the deceased. Advertisements and when to make a claim Before administering an estate, the Treasury Solicitor needs to know that there are no entitled blood relatives, the size of the estate and whether the deceased left a valid will. The Treasury Solicitor publishes…

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Organ and body donation

Organ and body donation

In the UK, there is currently an ‘opt-in’ system of organ donation. During their lifetime, individuals are asked to register their interest in becoming an organ donor post-death. However, due to the chronic shortage of organ donors and lengthy waiting lists for transplant operations in the UK, the ‘altruistic’ approach to organ donation has recently been revisited by medical authorities. The British Medical Association (BMA) is spearheading a campaign to see the UK introduce an…

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Paying for a funeral

Paying for a funeral

It’s worth making sure that there’s enough money available to cover the cost of any funeral you may be responsible for arranging. Responsibility for payment If you arrange a funeral, you will be responsible for paying the bill, so first check where the money will come from and that there will be enough. Most funeral directors require payment before probate (the official proof that a will is valid) is granted, so it’s worth considering how…

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Powers of attorney

Powers of attorney

A power of attorney is an arrangement whereby a person (frequently referred to as the “donor”) gives another person (the “attorney”) the power to do certain things on his behalf.  There are many different ways that people use powers of attorney, and they can be as broad or narrow in scope as the parties wish.  In a broadly drawn power of attorney, for example, the donor might give the attorney general authority to do anything…

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Referring an estate to the Treasury Solicitor – introduction

Referring an estate to the Treasury Solicitor – introduction

The Treasury Solicitor deals with solvent estates of people who die without a will (intestate) and without known entitled blood relatives. The following information can help you decide whether to make a referral to the Treasury Solicitor. When to refer an estate Before you consider referring an estate to the Treasury Solicitor, ask yourself the following questions: did the deceased leave a valid will and, if so, can I contact the executor and beneficiaries? can…

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Registering a death

Registering a death

You normally need to register a person’s death within five days, and when someone you love has died this can seem like a daunting task. This article gives an overview of what you’ll need to do. Use our interactive tool to help you register a death How you register a deathdepends on the circumstances.You can find more help for your situationby using the Directgovtool below. Registering a death interactive tool When and where to register…

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Selecting a trustee

Selecting a trustee

In selecting a trustee for an estate-planning trust, it is important to remember at the outset that the individual (and/or trust company) you select is someone that you or the trust’s beneficiaries are likely to be working with over a period of many years. You will want to be certain that the trustee has the expertise and personal characteristics needed to carry out what can be significant responsibilities. One starting point in selecting a trustee…

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Should I draft my own will?

Should I draft my own will?

There are lots of methods that you can use to write your own will. You can buy a book, buy a will-making kit (at the supermarket, even) or purchase software. The pitch for these products is, essentially, that a will is a simple legal document and that you can save yourself time and money by writing your own. Some people have successfully used these types of products to write their own wills — or even…

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Sorting out someones tax affairs after they die

Sorting out someones tax affairs after they die

When someone dies it’s important to sort out their tax and National Insurance as soon as possible. There may be tax to pay or a rebate due. The ‘personal representative’ (that is, the executor or administrator) sorts out the deceased person’s tax affairs, as well as the rest of the estate. Contacting the deceased person’s Tax Office When someone dies, thepersonal representativeneeds to contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)as soon as possible. They will tell…

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Tax on UK family trusts or payments from a trust

Tax on UK family trusts or payments from a trust

Tax on UK family trusts is paid by trustees (the legal owners of the trust property) out of trust funds. If you receive payments from a trust, or set up a trust for your children or one from which you or your spouse or civil partner can benefit, you may also have tax to pay. Trusts and Income Tax Income Tax is a tax on income. A trust may receive income from things like interest…

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Terms used in wills and probate matters

Terms used in wills and probate matters

The person who deals with (administers) the estate of a person who has died intestate (without a will). A gift of a particular object (for example, an item of jewellery). In will or intestacy matters, the children of the person who has died include adopted children and illegitimate children (children born to parents who were unmarried), but not their stepchildren (unless they are specifically mentioned). This term has no legal force, although a partner who…

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Treasury Solicitor guidelines

Treasury Solicitor guidelines

Treasury Solicitor guidelines covering bona vacantia and relating to deceased person’s estates or dissolved company assets. Estates Below you will find guidelines on various aspects relating to estates. Download Guidelines for referring estates to the Treasury Solicitor (PDF, 36K) Download Information for entitled relatives (including family tree) (PDF, 395K) Discretionary grants Below you will findguidelines on discretionary grants. Download Discretionary grants where the dissolved company can be restored (PDF, 74K) Download Discretionary grants where a…

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Trustee tax responsibilities

Trustee tax responsibilities

Trustees are responsible for managing a trust and must make sure that tax owed by the trust is properly declared and paid. If you’re a trustee you can get professional help to manage the trust, but the overall responsibility is still yours. Trustee role and tax responsibilities The person who sets up a trust (the settlor) sets out their wishes as to how the trust income and assets (money, investments, property etc) should be used…

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Trusts and capital gains tax

Trusts and capital gains tax

apital gains tax (CGT) is a tax that is generally payable on gains that a person receives on the sale of an asset. The gain is the difference between the cost of the asset and the sale price (although in computing the gain, there are certain adjustments to make, e.g., to take account of inflation). CGT rates and tax-free allowances The CGT rate for 2009-10 was 18%. However, this is only payable on gains above…

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Trusts and income tax

Trusts and income tax

For most trusts, the income tax rate the trustees have to pay depends on whether the trust is a discretionary trust (which is able to accumulate income) or an interest in possession trust (which must pay out all income to the beneficiaries). There are also special rules for: tax credits, reliefs and allowances; expenses and other deductions; and other types of trusts. Discretionary trusts The income tax rates for discretionary trusts are 32.5% on dividends…

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Trusts and inheritance tax

Trusts and inheritance tax

A trust that a person creates during his lifetime, and some that are created on death, will be subject to inheritance tax (IHT). Depending on the type of trusts, inheritance can be payable (i) when a person transfers assets to a trust, (ii) at certain intervals while the trust exists, and (iii) when assets leave the trust. This article sets out some basic IHT concepts, and then discusses the IHT treatment of various types of…

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Trusts and stamp duty

Trusts and stamp duty

Most (but not all) transactions involving trusts will be exempt from stamp duty, stamp duty reserve tax and stamp duty land tax. The transactions that will not be exempt are, in general terms, those where there is value given in exchange for the transfer of an asset into or out of a trust. Stamp duty is a tax on documents that are used to complete transactions. Perhaps the best example of this is a Stock…

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Trusts FAQs

Trusts FAQs

What is a trust? In its simplest form, a trust is a separation of the ownership of an asset into two parts — legal title and beneficial ownership. An example of this is where a trustee is the registered holder of shares in a company, but holds the shares for the benefit of some other person. Trusts can of course become much more complicated arrangements involving many individuals, a large quantity of assets, detailed powers…

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Trusts: an introduction

Trusts: an introduction

Most people think of trusts as something the super-rich use to hide assets offshore or to give money or property to their children or grandchildren. The legend is that the trust fund is the preferred means of financing the lifestyle of the international playboy, with his mega-yacht and luxurious bolt-hole in Monaco. Although there may be some degree of truth to that, the fact is that trusts are incredibly useful and flexible devices that people…

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Types of trusts

Types of trusts

This article discusses the features and tax implications of the various types of trusts. Nominee or “bare” trust In a nominee or “bare” trust, the beneficiary has an absolute right to the capital and income held on trust, and the trustee has no discretion in his handling of the trust assets. From a tax perspective, bare trusts are essentially ignored, and the beneficiary pays income tax on the asset’s income and capital gains tax on…

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UK family trusts – an introduction

UK family trusts – an introduction

UK family trusts offer a way of looking after assets (money, investments or property) for people who may not be ready or able to manage them themselves. They can also help ensure that your assets are passed on in the way you wish during your lifetime and/or after you die. Trusts – the basics A trust is a legal arrangement where one or more people (the trustees) are made legally responsible for assets. The assets…

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What are the duties of a coroner?

What are the duties of a coroner?

A coroner responds to and investigates deaths that are referred to them because they have occurred in particular circumstances. If necessary, a coroner will arrange for a post-mortem examination to be carried out and they can conduct a legal enquiry into the circumstances of a death, known as an inquest. When are deaths reported to a coroner? The law relating to coroners is contained within the Coroners Act 1988 and the Coroners and Justice Act…

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What can I do if I think the will is unfair?

What can I do if I think the will is unfair?

Wills are legal documents that set out the wishes of the person who drafts the will regarding their property and assets after they die. Also known as a ‘Last Will and Testament’, the will is drafted by the ‘testator’, who should list the assets that make up their estate, and detail who should receive those assets, known as ‘beneficiaries’. Generally speaking, UK law allows individuals to leave their assets to whomever they wish. This can…

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What can I do if I think there is something wrong with the will?

What can I do if I think there is something wrong with the will?

The most common reasons for a will not being valid are when: the person who made the will did not get their signature witnessed; the witnesses were not together when the will was signed; or the person who made the will got married after making their will. Also, if one of the witnesses is a beneficiary to the will, they lose the right to what the will says they should have (though the rest of…

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What can I do if there is no will?

What can I do if there is no will?

If someone dies without making a will, they are said to have died ‘intestate’. If this happens, the law sets out who should deal with the deceased’s affairs and who should inherit their estate (property, personal possessions and money). This information covers England and Wales only. Getting expert help from a solicitor When someone dies without leaving a will, dealing with their estate can be complicated. It can also take a long time – months…

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What do I need to know about having a Child Trust Fund?

What do I need to know about having a Child Trust Fund?

What is a Child Trust Fund? A Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a tax-free savings product that is now obsolete. CTFs were essentially savings accounts for children that could be used to deposit free cash vouchers previously handed out by the government. CTFs are no longer available to newborn children, having been succeeded by Junior ISAs in 2011. However, holders of CTFs (or their friends, parents, grandparents and others) can still deposit up to 4,000…

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What do I need to know about intestacy?

What do I need to know about intestacy?

Hundreds of thousands of people die each year without writing a will. According to a recent poll by Barnardo’s, around 60% of UK adults have not written one — that’s around 30 million people. Even where a will is made, it often turns out to be invalid. This might be because the deceased failed to comply with the strict requirements of the Wills Act 1837; or lacked the requisite mental capacity; or was unduly influenced by someone else;…

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What does an executor or administrator do?

What does an executor or administrator do?

The executors are the people appointed in a will to deal with the estate of the person who has died. Unlike witnesses, executors can also be beneficiaries of the will. An administrator is the person who deals with the estate of a person who has died intestate (without a will) – see ‘Who takes charge if there is no will?’. The executor or administrator may both be called a ‘personal representative’. If a person has…

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What happens to debts when someone dies?

What happens to debts when someone dies?

Debt is a fact of life for many, and the realities of debt can be troublesome throughout life, especially during times of hardship such as when a relationship breaks down, or if a job is lost. Just as debt has the capacity to cause problems in life, so it can also cause issues after someone has died. Statistics from 2012 suggest that only 10% of UK adults under the age of 30 have lived their…

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What if there isnt enough money to pay for the funeral?

What if there isnt enough money to pay for the funeral?

By asking a funeral director to conduct the funeral, you make a contract agreeing to pay for the funeral. This means that, if you are the executor or administrator, you should do this only after you have made sure that there is enough money in the estate to pay for the funeral. Otherwise, you should be willing to pay any part of the bill that won’t be covered by the estate. If you need to…

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What if there isnt enough money to pay the persons debts?

What if there isnt enough money to pay the persons debts?

When someone dies, their debts don’t die with them. They have to be paid out of the person’s estate. If you are administering an estate, you must make sure you have paid all the debts before you pay the beneficiaries. If you are not sure what the debts are, you need to advertise in the London Gazette and a local paper for anyone who may have a claim on the estate, and then wait two…

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What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint people to make decisions on your behalf. Primarily, lasting power of attorney is used when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. There are two types of lasting power of attorney: Health and welfare Property and financial affairs You can allow another person to look after either aspects of lasting power of attorney or both.  You must to over 18…

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What is probate?

What is probate?

‘Probate’ is a term commonly used when talking about applying for the right to deal with a deceased person’s affairs. It’s sometimes called ‘administering the estate’. This page contains information about what to expect if a loved one’s estate is in probate. In practice, different terms are used, depending on whether or not the deceased person left a will and where they lived. This information covers probate in England and Wales. Different terms associated with…

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What sort of things should I include in my will?

What sort of things should I include in my will?

Here is a checklist for writing a valid will. It includes items that you should organise and matters that you will want to bear in mind. Earlier wills Revoke earlier wills: ordinarily this is done by inserting a revocation clause in your new will. Retrieve / destroy copies of earlier wills: this may be sensible to avoid any future confusion. Assets Make a basic inventory of your assets: to get an idea of what you…

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What to do about debts owed to the deceased

What to do about debts owed to the deceased

When someone dies, any money owed to them is counted as part of their ‘estate’ (everything they own or are owed less anything they owe). It’s the responsibility of the executor (if there is a will) or administrator (if there is no will) to collect debts owed to the deceased. Personal debts owed to the deceased If the deceased was owed money (for example, for something they sold to someone) and there was an agreement…

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What to do when someone dies checklist

What to do when someone dies checklist

When someone dies there are many decisions and arrangements to make, all of which can be difficult in a time of grief. To help, we’ve put together this checklist to guide you through the process. Getting started Before you start, it would be useful to have the following information to hand about the person who has died. National Insurance number NHS number date and place of birth date of marriage or civil partnership (if appropriate)…

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When do I need to rewrite my will?

When do I need to rewrite my will?

If you have a will, there are certain circumstances where you might need to rewrite your will. Here are some of them: 1. Your financial circumstances change If you have the good fortune to come into money or substantial assets (by inheritance yourself, or perhaps selling a property or a business for a substantial gain) then you may find that you need to re-write your will. There are several reasons for this. First, you may…

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When someone dies abroad

When someone dies abroad

When someone dies abroad, the death may seem more distressing because of the complications of being away from home and dealing with strangers, but you can get help from the British authorities in the UK and overseas. Finding out about the death If a close relative or friend dies while you’re in the UK If the death has been reported to the British Consulate in the country where the person died, they will ask the…

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When someone dies in hospital or a care home

When someone dies in hospital or a care home

Staff who have been caring for the person who has died will know what to do and will provide you with emotional and practical support after the death. What happens first? The person who has died will need to be formally identified by the person named by them as the next of kin. The next of kin may also need to give permission for a hospital post-mortem examination if the cause of the death has…

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Where can I get further help on making a will?

Where can I get further help on making a will?

Provides free information direct to the public on a range of common legal problems. Call 0845 345 4 345 If you qualify for legal aid, you can also get free advice from a specialist legal adviser about benefits and tax credits, debt, education, employment and housing. You can also find a local legal adviser or solicitor. Click www.clsdirect.org.uk to find out more. There are probate registries in cities and larger towns. The Probate and Inheritance…

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Where can I get further help on setting up a trust?

Where can I get further help on setting up a trust?

Here are some ideas about how to find the resources you need in order to set up a trust, put together a broader estate plan (which may include a trust), or, if you are a trustee, to get answers to questions about your obligations and how to carry them out. HM Revenue & Customs Although HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) personnel may not be able to offer tax planning advice, they can help you understand…

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Who can be a witness to your will?

Who can be a witness to your will?

What is a witness? From a legal standpoint, a witness is a person who satisfies two criteria: they observe a particular event they are willing to confirm that the event occurred. What is the legal foundation of providing witnesses to a will? The Government passed the Wills Act 1837, which requires two independent witnesses (over the age of 18) who have seen the signing of a will and are prepared to have their information included…

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Who gets the estate if there is no will?

Who gets the estate if there is no will?

Any inheritance tax must be paid. After that, all debts (including mortgages and other loans) must be repaid, whether the dead person has made a will or not. After that, the Administration of Estates Act 1925 sets out who gets what in every situation where there is no will. Some of the more common situations are as follows. The husband, wife or registered civil partner gets everything (but an unmarried or unregistered partner gets nothing)….

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Who takes charge if there is no will?

Who takes charge if there is no will?

If you, as next of kin (or someone else with similar powers), believe that someone who has died has left a will, but no one can find it, you can take steps to find out if they made one. These can be: searching the belongings of the person who has died for any evidence that they made a will (for example, a letter from a solicitor); phoning or writing to solicitors and banks that the…

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Why estate planning is so important if you are unmarried

Why estate planning is so important if you are unmarried

There is a popular misconception that unmarried couples who have lived together for a long time – and maybe even have had children together – will, for legal purposes, be treated as a married couple. The fact is, though, that this is not true. And when it comes to estate planning, the “default” legal positions for married and unmarried couples are very different. In general, unmarried couples who do not have wills and do nothing…

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Why should I make a will?

Why should I make a will?

It’s easy to put off making a will. But if you die without one your assets may be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes. This could mean that your partner receives less, or that the money goes to family members who may not need it. Making a will – why it’s important There are lots of good financial reasons for making a will: you can decide how your assets are shared out…

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Why would I want to set up a trust?

Why would I want to set up a trust?

It’s a common belief that trusts are the exclusive preserve of the very wealthy who use them to avoid paying tax. While there may be more than a grain of truth in this statement, trusts are incredibly useful devices for all sorts of people. Simply put: a trust is a really flexible and effective way to make a gift. Although changes to tax laws in recent years have made it somewhat less attractive for a…

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Will I have to pay inheritance tax?

Will I have to pay inheritance tax?

Will I have to pay inheritance tax?  When you pass away, the people responsible for looking after your financial affairs have to add up the value of everything you leave behind – your ‘estate’ – and take away any debts and funeral expenses. Depending on how much of your estate is left once this is done, inheritance tax may be due. What are the inheritance tax thresholds? For people who are married, in a civil…

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Wills FAQs

Wills FAQs

Why should I make a will? A will enables you to distribute your assets according to your wishes when you die. It’s also a means of providing for family members. Parents with minor children can use a will to appoint their choice of guardian to look after their children in the event the children are left without parents. You can also use a will to provide legacies or specific gifts to non-family members, such as…

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Your right to refuse future medical treatment

Your right to refuse future medical treatment

If you think your health will affect your ability to make decisions in future, you can make an advance decision to refuse medical treatment. This can detail treatment you don’t want to have. Find out about making an advance decision, including one saying you don’t want treatment to keep you alive. An advance decision what it is Some health conditions may mean you cant make and communicate your own decisions (known as a lack of…

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