The death of a loved one, family member or friend can be devastating for those left behind. Not only do you have to find ways in which to cope with your own grief, but there are many practical matters that also have to be attended to.
You can find some useful information on the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/browse/births-deaths-marriages/death which will help you understand the different procedures and steps you have to take.
The best advice would be to take your time. Keep lists of everyone you’ve contacted (that way it lessens the likelihood of overlaps if someone else is helping you), with the date that you contacted them and, if possible, the name of the person you have spoken to as it’s sometimes useful to have this as a reference point if you need to go back at some time to give further information.
It’s a good idea to start to look for a Will within the first week of death as the Will could contain the wishes regarding a burial or cremation, along with any funeral plans, or even music that the deceased wishes to have. It could also contain details of a funeral plan, if one has been taken out.
The Will should indicate who will deal with the finances and name an Executor. This is the person who’s responsible for dealing with the estate – the term for all property, money, debt, businesses, insurance and pensions. It will also say who will get any assets left.
If no Will has been left, an Administrator is appointed to take the same role and this usually falls to the closest living relative to carry out.
If you can’t find a Will, as well as checking with their next of kin, ask their solicitor, if they had one. You can also check with the Principal Probate Registry to see if the will was registered there. If you have a solicitor, it’s also worth talking to them for help.
If there is a Will, this will give you information regarding what should happen with any property that is left. In the case of the death of a remaining parent, for example, it is very common for the property to be left to all siblings and the proceeds of any sale to be split among them.
You will need to sort through the contents of the house before arranging a sale
This may be the most emotional aspect of cleaning out the house. Experts say it’s easier if you sort belongings into three piles or tag them with stickers of three different colours:
- Items to keep
- Items to donate or sell
- Items to throw away
If family members disagree about distribution, set aside the disputed items until all the sorting is finished and emotions have settled down a little. Then, try taking turns by each choosing an item or memento. You could also consider trading several items for a treasure you truly desire and it is also a good idea to get any valuable items appraised to determine their actual value.
The next step when the contents have been sorted out, is to put the property on the market. It is worth bearing in mind that an empty property is only exempt from Council Tax payments for six months following the death of the property owner, and usually many people find that selling the house as soon as possible not only helps them financially, but helps them find closure as there are no lose ends.
At we are fully experienced in helping people to deal with, what can often be, an emotional and difficult sale. Our expert team can guide you and ensure that you receive an offer within 48 hours of an agreement, taking away a lot of the stress and heartache that can often go hand in hand when selling the property of a loved one.
Why not contact us today on 0151 528 9414 for your free, no obligation, consultation?
You can find some more useful and practical information on http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/what-to-do-when-someone-dies/what-to-do-first-when-someone-dies/ which contains details on everything from what to do when someone dies, through to a bereavement guide and how to be an Executor.
Hope you find this useful.