It’s a difficult time, losing a loved one.
There’s no easy way to deal with loss and grief, but add to that the financial implications that come with death and you can end up feeling pretty stressed and confused.
It’s hard to think straight when your emotions are all over the place, so we’re often at risk of making snap judgements and not giving financial decisions the careful consideration that they need.
To help make things a little clearer, here is some valuable financial advice for those dealing with death.
Check for a Will
First things first, you need to determine whether or not the person who’s passed away has written a will. If they have, the person that they would like to deal with all their finances once they’re no longer around will be named as the executor. If, however, there was no will written, a relative will be appointed as an administrator and they will be the one to take care of things.
Organizing the funeral
Next, you need to decide what’s going to happen when it comes to the funeral. It’s best to find out if there was any kind of funeral plan in place already, which may well have been detailed in the will. If not, you could start by going online to find a funeral director. You should get a range of quotes to make sure you’re not paying over the odds, and do some research to find out whether a cremation or burial is the most cost-effective option in your area.
There are a number of other ways you can keep the costs down when arranging a funeral, such as holding the wake at your own home, providing your own transport for the body or not spending too much on flowers. It’s an emotional time, so if you’re not thinking straight, get a friend to help set a budget and digest the quotes and costs.
Sorting Out the Estate
One of the hardest parts of dealing with the death of a loved one is sorting out their estate and all their finances. Amongst other things, you’ll need to close down all their accounts and inform all organisations of their death and then deal with any debt. You’ll have to use the money from their estate to settle any debts that they owed, in priority order, but don’t forget to reclaim any debts owed to them as well. This can all form part of their estate and help pay off anything outstanding. To do this you’ll need help from an estate attorney.
You might also be able to make a claim on any life insurance plans that they had in place. And, while you’re at it, check for any other insurance that might help you cover the cost of the deceased’s debt, such as payment protection insurance.
You’ll need to use the money from the estate to pay any inheritance tax and property inheritance tax owed, if any. But once this is all sorted, the remaining assets can be divided between the family. Just make sure that all beneficiaries are contacted first, else you might be made liable should someone come forward at a later date.
Get Financial Support
If you have questions or concerns about the financial side of dealing with loss, there are plenty of people you can turn to for support. First of all, your close family and friends will always be there to lend a hand, whether that be physically, financially or emotionally, so don’t be afraid to open up and talk to them. You can also speak to other beneficiaries and discuss whether money left over from the estate could be put towards the costs of things such as the funeral; there are options out there.
Alternatively, if you feel like you’re in need of some more professional support, why not sit down with a solicitor or give Citizens Advice a call? They’ll be able to give you impartial advice and take the emotion out of the situation.
Finally, it’s always worth checking whether you might be entitled to any government bereavement support. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to receive a Bereavement Support Payment, a Weekly Bereavement Allowance or a one-off Bereavement Payment.
Dealing with death is unpleasant at the best of times, but don’t let added financial worries make it any harder than it needs to be.