Updated: Feb 20
Over the past couple of months, we have introduced you to our will writing service and detailed the importance of having one in place.
A will ensures your estate goes to exactly who you want it to, meaning you can take care of your family and save them from the added distress of the intestacy rules.
Nobody wants to think of the worst happening. But in this edition of Insight, we want to highlight the benefit of being prepared for your death. That not only means having your will in place, but also ensuring the practical side of things are sewn up. Being a life planner will make sure that your loved ones left behind are able to access all the daily housekeeping accounts, passwords and providers so that normal life can continue.
Just recently, we sadly and very suddenly lost a friend of the business. This person was the main administrator for the household and, as such, had not involved the other people within the house. Unfortunately, this not only meant that his family had to cope with the shock and distress of losing their loved one, but also had to find the energy, strength and resolve to unravel passwords and everyday account details to organise the daily running of their utilities, services and, indeed, regular life.
In this article, we will explain what you can do to ensure your family can operate normally after you pass away.
Step one – registering the death
This is tough, we really do understand that. You will need to make an appointment with the Registrar to complete the official registration. The deceased will need to be registered in the county in which they passed.
You will to ensure you take the death certificate, certificate of cremation or burial, and BD8 form from the DWP, which is the Registration of Notification of Death.
Step two – dealing with money
In the event the deceased had a pension, benefits can sometimes transfer to their spouse or beneficiaries. You will need to contact the government pension service/private pension companies to check.
Pension companies are legally obliged to issue annual pension statements, but you need to bear in mind that these may come on a digital platform. If you cannot find one, contact their previous employer or use the government's pensions tracing service.
Tax should be reviewed when someone passes away. HMRC should write to the executor/representative within a month of their death being registered with any action required. You may indeed want to carry out your own checks as there may be allowances that can be claimed or transferred to a surviving spouse/partner.
The bank will need to be notified when somebody dies. In the case of a joint bank account, the other account holder can continue to use it, but the bank should still be made aware of the circumstances.
If it is solely in the name of the deceased, the bank will freeze and the account and usually release funds for urgent expenses such as IHT, probate fees and funeral costs.
If there is a mortgage on a property, the lender will want to know if the beneficiary can afford the repayments by themselves. Get in touch with the lender and make sure this is the case.
A life insurance policy may have been taken out to clear the mortgage, partially or fully, but you still let the lender know the case. You will also need to notify the home insurance provider if nobody resides in the property. The policy, usually, will go on but you need to discuss this with the provider.
In the case of a private rental, allow the landlord to know as they may be able to transfer the tenancy to the spouse’s name. You will also need to transfer and arrange bills, such as gas and electricity, water and council tax.
Step three – who to tell
Here is a short list of the people and organisations you may need to notify after a person has perished.
Government departments – their Tell Us Once service allows you to tell multiple segments at once, including the HMRC, DVLA and local council.
Credit card companies and banks – assess bank statements and wallets to see what cards they owned so you can keep such companies up to date.
Landlord or mortgage provider – as touched upon, they will need to know for various reasons.
Utility companies – if you are not sure who to contact then check bills or bank statements and contact relevant companies to shut accounts.
Insurance companies – the deceased may have had insurance for their property, contents, car, life, medical and travel. Check bank statements and get in touch with said companies to let them know.
Phone, TV and internet – Contact these companies to cancel them, if nobody else is using them.
Social media accounts – family members can request the removal of loved accounts, although they can also be turned into remembrance pages.
It is the small details that keep households running smoothly. If you remove the lynchpin, these can often derail the everyday running of households. To navigate this, keep details in a safe, but handy place free of passwords. You could also keep these safe with your Will and Power of Attorney so they can be easily accessed should you pass away suddenly.
Reeves Independent are here for you, in life and in death. We will always be by your side. Call your Life Stage team to discuss exactly what you need to do when your spouse passes away, or indeed if you sadly pass.
If you are not yet a client of Reeves, ring one of our specialists today and put your mind at ease for a brighter future.
The articles are for information only and should not be construed as advice or a recommendation. The investment strategies mentioned are examples only and may not be suitable for your particular: circumstances, tax position or objectives. Please seek independent financial advice before taking any action.
No advice should be conferred from the articles. No action should be taken without independent professional financial advice as any actions on your pension may be irrevocable and have a big impact on your income in retirement.