Losing a loved one can be a heart-breaking and stressful experience. There is a lot to think about, arrangements to be made, decisions to be taken, unfortunately the pressures of dealing with these sensitive issues can feel very overwhelming at this distressing time.

Many people don’t realise that your solicitor is not just there to help you with the technicalities, but are also able to guide you through the practical steps that need to be taken, helping you with everything from arranging a loved one’s funeral to administering their estate.

Natasha Booth, Head of Private Client at Paul Crowley & Co. Solicitors, answers some concerns which arise following the loss of a loved one.

You want to make sure that your loved one has a good send off, no matter what the cost.

  • There may be a pre-paid funeral plan or policy of insurance in place.
  • The funeral can be paid for by family members or friends.
  • Funeral costs, including costs of the wake, are recoverable from the person’s estate. A Solicitor can help you get access to this money by applying for a Grant of representation. If the Solicitor has been instructed to deal with the administration of the estate then the invoice can be sent directly from the funeral home to the Solicitor’s office to be paid when enough money becomes available.

If there is a will, the Grant is called a ‘Grant of Probate’. If there is no will, the Grant is a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’.

A grant will be required if the person who died has left more than £5,000 in assets. Sometimes a grant will still be needed even if the estate is worth less than this amount, for instance if the person held any shares or certain insurance policies.

If there is a will the person will have named ‘executors’ to administer the estate. If you are an executor there are duties set down in law that you need to carry out. A Solicitor can help guide you through this process and make sure you fulfil your duties.

If there is no will then a grant of letters of administration will be granted, usually to a close relative, if there is one. A Solicitor will provide advice as to who the administrator should be, and help the administrator carry out their obligations.

Practical steps can be taken to help find out whether there is a will. The person may have told a close friend or relative about a will, and where it was held. They may store the original, or a copy, at home. If you don’t know whether there is a will you can take the following steps:

  • Look in the person’s home.
  • Enquire with local solicitors.
  • Ask whether there are any documents stored at the bank or building society.
  • Ask a Solicitor to help you do a search on a will register such as ‘Certainty’.

Paul Crowley & Co. solicitors can help guide you through this process, and provide support and advice if there is no will. We can advise on the intestacy rules and who is entitled to inherit the estate if there is no will.

‘Our bereavement team will be on hand throughout, we can be involved in as much or as little as you need us to be, but you can rest assured you will feel in safe hands

Natasha Booth | Head of Private Client,
Paul Crowley & Co. Solicitors

Find out further information about the Bereavement Services and Contentious Probate available from Paul Crowley and Co Solicitors.