Supporting You with Practical Matters
Aside from the emotional grief of losing a loved one, there are many practical considerations to tend to. In this guide, we share information that could make this easier for you.
There is much to take in and deal with when you lose a loved one. At AB Walker, we want to support you through the process, so we have created this guide to help with some of the practical matters you might be facing. This includes some organisations that can help
Notifying the appropriate authorities and services
After the loss of a loved one, there is the challenging task of notifying the many businesses and organisations about their death.
Government and local authority services
For government offices, there is the Tell Us Once service which allows you to report a death to most government offices in one go. When you register the death of your loved one the registrar should explain this service to you.
You will be given a unique reference number to use the service online or via the telephone, but you must use the service within 28 days of receiving your unique reference number.
Notifying other organisations
Having to repeatedly provide details about the passing of a loved one to multiple organisations, such as insurance and utility companies, can be both emotionally taxing and time-consuming. One company that can notify commercial businesses on your behalf is Life Ledger.
They provide a free service and are able to inform over 900 companies about the death on your behalf. They can close, freeze or switch accounts connected to the person who has died, from banks, pension providers, and insurance to gas, water, electricity, telephone and TV, as well as memberships and subscriptions.
Life Ledger is Cyber Essentials certified and undergoes regular security and penetration testing to ensure your information is safe.
In addition the Bereavement Register is a free service that allows you to remove the name and address of the person who has died from mailing lists of registered companies, stopping direct mail from them.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process that gives someone the right to deal with the estate of a person who has died. Their estate covers everything they have left and includes:
- Possessions left
- Money owed
- Debts accrued, such as a mortgage or credit card.
Applying for probate
If a will has been left, the person named as executor in the will is responsible for getting probate. If this is you, you can either do this yourself or use a solicitor.
Without a will, the estate will be handled in accordance with the specific legal intestacy rules. This would mean that Letters of Administration would need to be applied for rather than probate. It would usually fall upon the closest living relative to apply for these. Again, they can do this themselves or can use a solicitor.
In both cases, the process can be complex and time-consuming, so it may be best for a solicitor to be used. Whilst there is a fee to pay for their services, these costs would usually be paid from the estate.
Valuing the estate
Before probate can be applied for, the value of the estate must be reported to HMRC to find out if inheritance tax needs to be paid. View our Inheritance tax section on the Legal and Financial Matters page.
When dealing with an estate, there are a number of trusted experts that can help conduct valuations. One local example is Dawsons Probate Valuation Experts, who can produce an HMRC-compliant report suitable for probate and inheritance tax calculations.
House contents valuation and sale
Arranging the valuation and potentially selling your loved one’s belongings can be emotionally and mentally challenging.
It may be worth consulting those with a wealth of experience and specialised knowledge. Locally, Dawsons Auctioneers are one such company. They can complete a house contents service to identify and sell items such as art, antiques, jewellery and collectables.
Loss and bereavement support
Grief is a natural reaction to loss and affects everyone differently. AB Walker understands this and offers aftercare support for those experiencing the loss of a loved one.
This live instant chat service allows you to talk directly to a specially trained bereavement counsellor online about your bereavement experiences and how they affect your life. It is a free service for anyone that has experienced loss and is available from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 9 pm (excluding bank holidays). Just click on the Griefchat box.