What do I do first?
The death of a loved one can cause a great deal of emotional stress and trauma. In addition there is the task of dealing with the deceased’s financial and legal affairs.
At Macks, the first steps that we would suggest that you take are:
- Collect the “Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death” from the Doctor on the ward or family GP or the Coroners Office. This will be required before you can register the death.
- Make an appointment at the Register Office for the area in which the deceased died or, if available, at the hospital where the death took place. James Cook University Hospital has an on-site registrar four days a week.
The death must be registered within 5 days.
The following people can register a death:
- A relative – usually the closest
- Someone present at the time of death
- Someone who is organising the funeral
At the appointment the Registrar will ask for the Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death, the deceased’s birth certificate, marriage/civil partnership certificate and NHS card.
You will be asked to confirm the deceased’s full name (and maiden name if applicable), date and place of birth, last address, occupation, the full name, address, occupation and date of birth of any surviving spouse/civil partner, tax reference number and whether he/she was in receipt of any state pension or benefit.
The Registrar will produce, free of charge:
- A Certificate for burial or cremation – Form 9 – known as a “green form”. This gives permission for a burial or cremation to take place and needs to be given to the funeral director.
- A Certificate of Registration of Death – Form BD8 – known as a “white form”. This needs to be completed and posted to the local Jobcentre Plus or social security office to claim any arrears of state pension or benefit.
You will sign the Register and confirm all the information is correct. The Registrar will produce an official copy of the entry in the Register of Deaths known as a Death Certificate. The fee is £4.00 at this stage. For copies requested at a later date this fee increases to £7.00. A death certificate will be required by pension providers, banks, building societies and financial institutions so it is easier and cheaper to obtain copies at the time of registration.
- Arrange the funeral
The funeral cannot be arranged until the death has been registered.
Are you aware of any specific instructions regarding the funeral arrangements or wishes for donating the body or organs or tissues? These may be set out in the Will or Letter of Wishes to be found with the Will.
Did the deceased leave any funeral plan? Reference may be made in the Will or the document may be lodged with the Will or the deceased’s Solicitor.
Make an appointment to see a funeral director at home or at their premises.
Choosing a funeral firm can be difficult and it is unusual to ask for a quote or ring round for quotes. If you have no guidance from the deceased as to which funeral director to use, you could ask relatives and friends for their recommendations or choose a funeral director who is a member of:
- The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD)
- Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
At Macks we have a list of local funeral firms ranging from small local firms to large regional and national organisations.
- Make an appointment to see a specialist solicitor at Macks to discuss the steps you need to take to administer the deceased’s property, bank accounts and investments (their “Estate”).
The death of someone close to you can be a very difficult and distressing experience; dealing with the formalities of obtaining the correct Grant of Representation and administering the Estate is something we can help you with.
There are two main stages to dealing with the estate of a deceased person; obtaining the correct Grant and then administering the Estate itself. We can assist you with either or both of these, depending on your needs.
Applying for a Grant of Representation
Which Grant you need to apply for depends on whether the deceased has left a Will. If there is a Will, then the Executors named in the Will need to apply for a “Grant of Probate”. If there is no Will, then an application will need to be made for a “Grant of Letters of Administration” with one or more people named as Administrators.
What we will do for you
It will usually take around 6 to 8 weeks to obtain a Grant of Representation.
Administering the Estate
Once the Grant of Representation has been received from the Court, we can act for you in the administration of the estate.
What we will do for you
The timescale for administering the estate will take longer than obtaining the Grant of Representation, and will depend upon the extent of the assets which need to be collected. In some circumstances it may also be prudent for the Executors to delay the final distribution of the estate to protect themselves from any claims on the estate.
If the estate assets are relatively straightforward, and you do not think that any potential claims are likely, then the administration could be concluded within 8 to 12 weeks from receipt of the Grant of Representation. If, for example, the estate includes a property which is to be sold, then the timescale will be longer as the sale will need to be concluded before the administration can be finalised.
What the work will cost you
If you would prefer to administer the estate yourself and only require our assistance in obtaining the official Grant itself, then we can do this for you at a fixed fee.
We will charge you £600 plus VAT for our legal costs in doing this.
We will also need to make the following additional payments to others:-
If you would like us to administer the estate in addition to obtaining the Grant, then our costs will be based upon the time it takes us and the value of the estate. This is calculated on the basis of an hourly rate of £180 plus VAT and a charge of 1% of the value of the estate. We guarantee that our own fees will never be more than 3% of the value of the estate, regardless of how much time we have to spend dealing with the estate.
For a straightforward estate where the following apply:-
Our usual costs would be between £3,000 and £4,000plus VAT
For an estate where the following apply:-
Our usual costs would be between £4,000 and £8,000plus VAT
In addition, we would need to make the following additional payments to others:-
In some estates it might be appropriate to take out advertisements in the local papers and/or an official notice in the London Gazette. These would cost between £20 and £100 for an advertisement in the local paper and £62.50 plus VAT for a notice in the London Gazette.
Services not included
If there are any challenges to the validity of the Will or claims against the estate, these would not be included in the administration costs and we would normally refer you to our sister company, Watson Woodhouse, who deal with contested probate matters, and would therefore be able to assist you with contentious aspects.
The following are not included in our normal charges for administering an estate and we would need to provide you with a separate quote:-
We are also not able to provide you with business or financial advice.