Legal advice from Simon Cieluch, Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitor, based at FDR Law’s office in Warrington
The legal process to go through when someone dies
Q: My husband is suffering from a terminal illness and we would like to be prepared as to what we will need to do legally after somebody passes away.
A: Sorry to hear about your husband and we understand that focussing on practicalities can help at a time like this.
If your husband has not yet prepared a Will; we do recommend that he does so his wishes are adhered to. It can also help avoid any future arguments over his estate.
If he has made a Will, you will need to locate it once he passes away. If stored with a solicitor, they will inform you of the Executor(s), which may be yourself or another family member and details of any funeral wishes.
If there is no Will you, as his wife, will be entitled to apply to be the Administrator of his estate under the law of intestacy, and you’ll automatically be entitled to some, and possibly all of his assets, depending on your family situation and the size of his estate.
Executors and Administrators are responsible for administering the deceased's estate. They’ll collect any assets, pay off any debts, taxes and distribute in accordance with the Will or Intestacy Rules. This can be a difficult and Executors and Administrators can seek professional advice. An experienced Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitor can guide you through each step and manage many of the tasks on your behalf.
Inheritance Tax is usually paid if a person’s estate, including property, money and possessions, is worth more than £325,000 when they die. Assets transferring from one spouse to another on death normally pass free of Tax. Executors/Administrators of the estate are responsible for ensuring this tax is paid, however it can be complicated and a solicitor can assist on your behalf.