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What to do after a death/ what did you need to know that you didn't?

(30 Posts)
Theas18 Sat 17-Jan-15 11:23:33

Mum still hanging on in there but I'm sitting in their house overwhelmed even by the thought of clearing this. I don't think I'll be very good at the rest!

I have power of attorney etc for both jointly with my sister and her accountant husband - he I hope is aware of the financial stuff but I guess I need to know more about this ?

Funerals are paid. I know where the paperwork is.

I am executor so I guess I need to look into this. There are wills in place

A list of helpful links / personal suggestions for before / after would be really helpful from those who've been here.

Many thanks and hoping this isn't being too morbid.

Fatalatomo Sat 17-Jan-15 12:05:08

First I'm really sorry your going through this.

This website might have useful information for you.

You will need to know the finances so you know that everything is being handled right.

A lot of your work is in place for you if wills are done and funeral is paid for.

You'll need to register the death so have a look where the nearest office is.

You might need to think about things like music for the service if it's not been thought of.

Have a look for all the bills and bank accounts etc as you'll need to cancel them all.

Hopefully the website will have other information Iv not thought of.

Theas18 Sat 17-Jan-15 13:10:04

Thanks for replying. It's tough. I sway from practical to head in the sand!

The hardest thing will be my dad who will have to go into a home .there really isn't any alternative - he can't be left for long so I can't have him with me and go to work.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sat 17-Jan-15 13:18:13

Dh is going through this at the moment - his mum died of cancer at the beginning of December.

The thing we didn't know, and now do, is that you don't need a lawyer to do probate. He and his brother are doing it all, and it seems to be a fairly straight-forward process, despite some complications due to MIL's marital circumstances.

twentyten Sat 17-Jan-15 13:27:59

twentyten Sat 17-Jan-15 13:30:18

Hope this is useful.keyboard is playing up.

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Sat 17-Jan-15 13:42:35

Sorry you're going through this.

Things we learned:

You need to know the value of the estate before you can apply for probate.

If you're applying for probate by post, for heaven's sake don't apply to the central registry in London. They took weeks and much chasing by phone. A neighbour found one of the local registries did it in days.

Lots of pensions may have overpaid by a bit, until you can inform them of the death and send the death certificate. Some of these will
a) reclaim directly from your DM's bank account, while simultaneously
b) demanding you repay them separately.

If in doubt, reply saying their request is noted and the estate will repay them in due course. Then only repay AFTER your DM's bank account is actually closed, not just frozen.

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Sat 17-Jan-15 13:45:32

Oh, and get multiple copies of the death certificate and grant of probate.

Not only do these have to circulate round lots of organisations, but those organisations have a tendency to lose or damage them.

twentyten Sat 17-Jan-15 14:07:24

Ooh keyboard working now. We didn't know dmil's wishes re funeral/ hymns/ readings/ flowers etc- we feel it would have comforted dfil and the family if they had been sure they were getting it as she would have wanted.
Funeral director was wonderful, sorted so much. Agree about copies of death certs etc. keep an eye on any rings/ jewellery. Easily lost. So sorry you have to go through this. Look after yourself.
We also took photos at the meal after the funeral- which mean so much to dfil. Family groups etc who won't be together for ages. Felt a bit weird but mattered to him- especially as my dbil had come over from nz.
Sendingbrewbrew and thanksthanks

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Sat 17-Jan-15 14:38:30

Oh, and I was truly astonished at the number of jobs we've had to do twice or three times, because an organisation we were dealing with lost the paperwork or failed to read its own databases.

You will at some point get the classic: "I can't talk to you, I have to talk to the account holder who you've just told me is dead."

We also had the following gem: "We cannot accept this photocopy of the grant of probate; you must send us a real one."
Reply: "We did. If you're looking at a photocopy, it's one you made yourself."

MehsMum Sat 17-Jan-15 14:45:10

Someone told me to get lots of copies of the death cert when registering the death, because it was cheaper that way and that I would need them.

It did simplify things, because I did lots of things at once re pensions, bank etc who all wanted an original not a copy. It also meant that I didn't worry that some outfit somewhere would lose one.

You said that you are the executor; for anyone who isn't, and finds that the bank is, if the estate is small you can ask them waive their right and let you do. I did this with my father's tiny estate.

whataboutbob Sat 17-Jan-15 15:09:11

the January edition of Which? magazine has a v good section on all the paperwork needed after a death. It also explains how to wind up an estate without using a solicitor. I did it without a solicitor when mum died 20 years ago. But her affairs were relatively simple.

DraggingDownDownDown Sat 17-Jan-15 15:18:18

Once the legal side is sorted clearing the house is the next thing - especially if your Dad is going into a home so it will have to be sold. You need to decide if you want money for the items or are happy to donate them.

We started with clothes and took them all to the local charity shop.

Kitchen stuff was next. Some family members and friends wanted bits and the rest I again took to charity shop/woman refuge/local school for cooking classes.

Then we decided on the furniture. Your Dad will need some items for the home so it may be an idea to research what he can take before you get rid of anything. Again some family members/friends had items. The rest we contacted charities and Macmillan came and collected the items they could sell on. Or if you have a charity that is close to your heart, maybe contact them.

Postchildrenpregranny Sat 17-Jan-15 15:19:01

Would agree -don't feel you need a solicitor to do probate especially if will in place . It isn't difficult and takes about 6 weeks. Solicitors charge a fortune and tend to take ages (did MIL last May). Yes at least three copies of Death Certificate are useful as you can then progress several things at once .My sympathy It's a horrible situation

Needmoresleep Sun 18-Jan-15 00:49:08

Getting the death registered was tiring. First GP then a long wait in Council Offices. Funeral Director was lovely and handled that side of things without fuss. Useful to have lots of copies of the death certificate and go into bank branches where you can and let them sort things there and then - much easier than dealing with the call centre.

The first few days are a strange whirl of informing relatives/friends of funeral arrangements, booking venue and catering, even shopping for suitable clothes. Expect to feel exhausted afterwards as the strain of recent weeks starts to show.

Moving someone, house clearing etc is a whole new task. Pace yourself.

Maisycat Sun 18-Jan-15 10:06:51

Everything takes longer than I expected. We were told to register the death within 5 days, the next available appointment is next Thursday, 10 days after picking up the hospital documents. As Mum in law died in hospital in the next county everything is supposed to be registered in that county, a long way from their home.

Tiny estate, so it appears probate may not be needed, the bank was very helpful.

A lot of people seem to assume you know what to do! Why, I have no idea? I have spent this week researching all these things.

Funerals are eyewateringly expensive... And don't seem to take place too quickly! We have a pencilled in date a month from now. Mum in law squirrelled away £1000 for her funeral, not even close to what we are paying for a very simple affair.

I have found the past 10 days exhausting, it is so busy and emotional, my husband is an only child and there are no other relatives so the two of us are splitting the tasks. Living 4 hours away and continuing with full time work has made it difficult. I suppose as a sudden death this has added to the trauma. Sorry for the rant, I really needed that, I'm being the 'keeping everything together' one at the moment.

twentyten Sun 18-Jan-15 10:31:05

Sending you a brewbrew maisycat. Dh is trying to wade through his dm's affairs- should be simple but it's a trudge. Some banks brill- lloyds wonderful- coop awful. Look after yourself.

MehsMum Sun 18-Jan-15 10:40:09

Maisycat, have you explained your situation to work and asked for compassionate leave? I was given 5 days when DM died.

WildRunner Sun 18-Jan-15 11:17:37

Definitely echo those saying get multiple copies of the death certificate.

If your local hospital or community health team offer a bereavement counsellor, take them up on it. I misunderstood and thought that they were there to counsel your grief. They are, but more importantly they take you through everything you have to do - repeatedly if you're like me and can't take it in all at once. This was the single most helpful resource I had.

The only other thing I'd say is don't underestimate how much there is to do, especially if you're responsible for the house clearance. Accept every bit of help that is offered - I had some wonderful friends who gave really practical help, or just gave me cake and a welcoming ear to get me through. There is a reason that planning the funeral and tying up affairs needs to be done, and it does give you something to focus on in the immediate days and weeks. But is is exhausting and it's ok to feel low and drained. I thought one or two days of compassionate leave would sort it. I ended up taking five and was lucky enough that my employer allowed me to work very flexibly for around 6 weeks in the final days of her life and afterwards.

brew and flowers for you OP

Maisycat Sun 18-Jan-15 11:26:56

Thanks twentyten, nice to know we're not alone! It was a shock to see how hard it hit my poor husband, I suppose I am trying to do a lot of the unpleasant/ very upsetting stuff to try and protect him and 96 year old father in law.

MehsMum, yes work gave me 2 days the day after she died, I stupidly thought we could do a lot of the legal stuff immediatly... Trouble is I'm a teacher and was head hunted to start at this school just after xmas, there is a lot to do and only a certain amount of time. I am sort of assuming they will give me a day for the funeral, but there does seem to be a feeling from the headmaster that this is an in Law and not my parent.

I may go and speak to the deputy head this week, I'm really worried about next Thursday when my husband has appointments with the registrar and funeral director on his own. We're still not sure whether the coroner is getting involved, they won't tell us at the moment, so I suppose everything would go on hold if they did? It seems very silly giving us an appointment not knowing if we will be able to register the death.

PunkrockerGirl Sun 18-Jan-15 11:39:26

Sorry to hear you're going through this.
It sounds like your Mum has been very organised and this will help. Try and get the death certificate asap and take copies, it's difficult to get anything done without them.The funeral directors are brilliant at guiding you through what needs to be done straight away.

With regard to your Dad, does he have social worker? They're a good source of info regarding funding for future care and intermediate care should he need it. Get his GP involved too.

Look after yourself and don't rush into any decisions other than what needs to be sorted out quickly. flowers

Theas18 Sun 18-Jan-15 13:36:35

Thanks all. Still in limbo as she's still hanging in there. Think I'll do a quick trawl of paperwork in the house and photograph what I can find.
Am taking time out if work. Can't do everything especially 90 mins drive apart.

Maisycat Sun 18-Jan-15 15:19:34

Theas18, make sure you look after yourself. Sorry if I hijacked your thread.

Theas18 Sun 18-Jan-15 20:20:15

Maisycat you didn't hijack at all. Thank you for your post.

Well mum is looking better today.... Such a roller coaster !

SecretSquirrels Mon 19-Jan-15 16:58:45

Hello Theas (Grassy). I'm not on HD so much now although I recommend it to anyone who needs to de-stress, and I am so sorry to hear about all this.
You are right to think about it now as the death of our parents is inevitable I'm afraid.
I saw your other thread but thought I'd post here as I have first hand experience.
A lot depends on the size and complexity of the estate as to how difficult it is and how much professional involvement you need.
When my MIL died we used a solicitor for the estate but I found that I still had to do all the running around and much of the paper work. So while it may seem appealing to think you can just throw money at it and someone else will deal with it all, it's not so simple.
When my father died, I did it all myself.
The estate was small and straightforward ( the first of a couple to die is usually a simpler matter unless there are complex IHT issues). What made it much easier was the fact that they had everything in joint names.


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