of wills, inheritance, tax and the winding up of the affairs of the deceased
go beyond what this basic consumers' guide to funerals can cover. For many
of these issues, some sort of legal advice may be required.
is important to find the will as soon as possible. This is a legal document
or a signed letter left by the deceased giving instructions on what should
happen after his/her death and how the estate should be divided. Look amongst
personal papers at home, in the bank, with the deceased's lawyer/solicitor,
or with relatives. Whether or not the will is found, the next stage is
the appointment of executors/administrators.
remember, the will states the wishes of the deceased. It might state:
- what the
person wished to happen to their body
they wished to be buried or cremated
they wished to donate their organs
- what sort
of funeral they wanted
person should be appointed as an executor, responsible for paying debts
and dealing with the estate of the deceased
- what should
happen to the deceased's money, property and possessions (the estate)
is no will, the personal representative shares out the estate according
to rules that consider the rights of a surviving spouse, children, parents
and other close blood relatives. For details contact the probate registry
person is nominated to act as a guardian to any children.
(020) 7947 6000
in Scotland the local Sheriff Court Commissary Office.
personal representative or executor
person who deals with everything owned by the person who died is known
as the personal representative (also known as the executor if they are
named as such in the will, or the administrator if there is no executor
named or no will). In Scotland a personal representative is known as the
you are a personal representative you may have to apply to prove the will
(probate) or, if there is no will, apply for letters of administration,
or, in Scotland confirmation. This will give you permission to pay the
bills and deal with the estate. The leaflet 'Do you need a grant of probate
' states the circumstances under which probate may be required and gives
phone numbers for all probate registries and sub-registries. The leaflet
is available from registrars (Registration in England (ENG) and Wales, Registration
in Scotland and Registration in Ireland) and Citizens Advice Bureaux. The
leaflet and much other probate material can also be found at www.courtservice.gov.uk (publications are under forms and leaflets). In Scotland the relevant forms
can be obtained from the local sheriff court commissary office.
registries (staffed) are listed under P in the business numbers section
of the phone book. If there is no probate registry in your phone book,
ask at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
personal representative is responsible for paying all the deceased's debts,
taxes and expenses. They make the payments from the estate, not from their
own income or savings. Only when these duties are finished can the personal
representative share out the rest of the estate.
after a death
the event of death the tax office should be notified as soon as possible.
Inland Revenue produces a leaflet, IR 45, 'What to do about tax when someone
dies'. The information in this leaflet is also available on their website
gives information about income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
There are sections about the responsibilities of personal representatives
and trustees, and about the tax treatment of beneficiaries.