If you have been selected as an executor, this quick checklist will help guide you through managing the probate process in the most seamless way possible.

1. Register the death and obtain at least 15 original death certificates

All deaths normally need to be registered in the district where the death takes place. Deaths should normally be registered within 5 days unless they are referred to the coroner.

It is advisable to request at least 15 death certificates at the same time as registering the death – this is cheaper and more efficient than obtaining them afterwards.

2. Secure the home

Ensure that all essential utilities such as electricity and gas are kept current, consider turning off the water. The house insurance company will need to be advised of the death and take out cover in the names of the executors.

3. Monitor the home

This could include picking up answer phone messages, collect mailing, discarding food and watering plants. Also consider changing locks and removing valuables from the property (with a witness). It may also be advisable to re-direct mail for safe keeping.

4. Locate the Will

Usually the Will is stored in a secure location in the deceased home or with a solicitor.

5. Notify close friends and relatives of death and consider using the ‘Tell us Once’ service for government organisations

Finding the address book and email contacts of the deceased can prove helpful in locating friends and family.

6. Contact the funeral director

The Will may provide specific wishes relating to funeral preferences.

7. The family will usually arrange funeral and burial or cremation in accordance with the Will including funeral service, but sometimes this falls to the executors

Search for papers to establish that the deceased didn’t have a pre-paid funeral or burial contract.You will need to pay for the funeral and memorial service up front and get the costs back from the estate.

8. Locate other important documents;

The could include a Trust document, banks statements, birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce details (if any), life insurance, vehicle registrations etc.

9. Write to all financial, investments and business organisations advising of death

You will need to enclose an original death certificate and requesting the balance and value at date of death with accrued interest.

10. Probate – speak to PEM as soon as possible to determine how we can help you

Depending on the complexity of the estate you may need a professional to assist with the completion of inheritance tax forms and application for probate and administering the estate. We will work with the executors to determine the best way forward.

If you are an executor who would like to find out more, please contact Sanchia Norris below.

About the author

Sanchia Norris

Sanchia is a Partner in the private client team at PEM specialising in trusts and estates, Income Tax, Capital Gains Read more …

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